Almost anything IS possible, especially when you have our great conservation partners engaged. That’s one of the lessons I have learned throughout my career in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, Secretary Jewell awarded the Partners in Conservation awards to 20 outstanding partnership projects within Department of the Interior agencies. These partnerships are examples of that motto and I’m proud we had four partnerships recognized.
The partnerships recognized by the Secretary exemplify the teamwork, dedication and foresight moving conservation forward to meet the challenges of today and the future. I know we have hundreds, if not thousands, of partnerships with individuals, organizations and other government agencies.
Here are the four we celebrated with Secretary Jewell today:
|Center for Land-based Learning, honorees with Secretary Jewell (middle) and Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin (far right). Photo by Lavonda Walton/USFWS||Center for Land-based Learning, Sacramento, California – More than 2,000 youth in the Sacramento area have gotten firsthand experience and training in conservation through this cooperative partnership. Together with our partners, these students have learned the benefits and techniques of conservation while improving habitat on nearby national wildlife refuges.|
|Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program honorees with Secretary Jewell and Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin. Photo by Lavonda Walton/USFWS||Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program, south Texas – Texans have united in a partnership to conserve and protect water and aquatic resources of the Edwards Aquifer in the Texas Hill country. More than 40 stakeholders, including state and federal organizations banded together to develop and implement a habitat conservation plan for the aquifer that ensures water conservation actions and protects eight endangered species, most of which are unique to Texas.|
|Great Plains Nature Center honorees with Secretary Jewell and Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin. Photo by Lavonda Walton/USFWS||Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas – Leaders from Wichita envisioned a regional nature center staffed by not only local city employees but also the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the Service. Through lots of hard work by all of the parties, this dream became a reality in the 1990s. More than 2 million individuals have visited the Nature Center and enjoyed its offerings since its public opening in 2000.|
|Klamath Tribal Leadership Development Program honorees with Secretary Jewell and Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin. Photo by Lavonda Walton/USFWS||Klamath Tribal Leadership Development Program, northern California and southern Oregon – Youth from several tribes in northern California and southern Oregon are helping to conserve local aquatic resources by combining the knowledge of their tribal peers and elders with the high tech technology of the Service and other federal partners including NASA. This partnership is helping to prepare these youth for possible careers in conservation while also challenging them to gather and pass on the ancestral knowledge of their elders.|
My congratulations and thanks to these partnerships and the others that are moving our nation’s conservation agenda forward together, one opportunity at a time.