This week Dan traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to attend a meeting of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Board of Directors, of which he is a member. For those who have been to Jackson Hole, you know that the area is uniquely beautiful. Drinking in the magnificent tableau of the National Elk Refuge in the majestic shadow of the Grand Tetons is more than enough to remind conservationists of the value of our work.
Prior to the NFWF meeting, Dan spent time with staff of the National Elk Refuge and the Jackson National Fish Hatchery learning first-hand about the important work both facilities do, as well as their considerable challenges.
Bumping along in the Refuge’s SUV with stops to view sites close-up, Dan received an extremely comprehensive tour from Refuge Deputy Director Paul Santavy and other staff as well as a tour and discussion with Hatchery Manager Kerry Grande and staff.
The topic list was long and diverse, including:
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for a unique new irrigation system and visitor center exhibits for the Refuge.
- Management of bison, elk, wolves and other species.
- Recent donation of a visitor center to the Refuge.
- Hatchery production of Snake River cutthroat trout.
Capping the day-long visit was drive, then hike (in a short-lived but lively rain/hail event) to a wolf den and “conversation” with a pack, thanks to the wolf-calling skills of Mike Jimenez, Wyoming Wolf Project Leader.
Although Monday’s refuge and hatchery tour was a tough act to follow, Tuesday offered an important opportunity for the Director to interact with the NFWF board on numerous issues critical to USFWS and the conservation community at large, particularly through subcommittee meetings of NFWF’s four Keystone Initiatives: Birds, Wildlife and Habitat, Freshwater Fish, and Marine and Coastal.
Today Dan will hear about other Foundation efforts, then will head back to Washington, D.C., invigorated by mountain air and time “on the ground” with staff.