I can hardly believe it has been two
years since we held the Conserving
the Future conference in Madison,
WI. I think back on that event when I
need inspiration. There were so many
powerful speeches, so much enthusiasm
and so much hope for the future. It was a
lot of work, too.
It was a stressful
week for me
to tell me Dad had
been moved to
hospice. I thought I
was going to have to leave that day. He
rallied a little bit, so I stayed. I was with
him the following Thursday when he died.
Life gives us all moments that are
inspirational and precious, others
that are difficult and defining. But
we always have to move forward. We
have done a great job of capturing
the spirit of Madison in our vision
document, Conserving the Future.
More important, we have made great
progress in implementing that vision.
Our Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative
is taking shape; our strategic growth
policy is under Directorate review; a
new communications strategy has been
drafted; our Inventory and Monitoring
program is growing. The list of
accomplishments is impressive. You can
find out more at
Much remains to be done. Yet, the fiscal
challenges we face are daunting. We are
going to have fewer people and fewer
dollars over the next couple of years. We
spent two years crafting a vision for the
future of the National Wildlife Refuge
System that aspires to do more, not less.
But we also spent those years defining
what is important.
We laid out a vision of how refuges fit
into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
conservation framework. We reflected
on how we must remain relevant in a
changing America and build a connected
conservation constituency. We described
the leadership it would take. Our vision
for conserving the future is focused. We
can go as fast or as slow as
circumstances allow. But we are moving
forward, there is no looking back. So
stay focused and positivebecause our
work is incredibly important. Lets have
some fun and keep on going.