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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Looking Back: Forrest Carpenter

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

When Forrest Carpenter retired in 1973 after 36 years of federal government service, he became the founding president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the nonprofit organization that supports the Refuge System.

Forrest Carpenter

“When he realized he could do something that would help refuge managers and the Refuge System that he believed in so strongly,” says his daughter Susan Evans, “he felt he had to do it. He worked harder on that than anything in his life for 13 years.” 

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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 19th

Well, it's here - the end of the year is upon us.  Looking for something to do to celebrate a new year? Ring in the holidays with events at a refuge!  

Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country through the end of December. Check out this link for even more events happening in December on our refuges, including the nearly century old tradition sponsored by the Audobon Society - the Christmas bird count!

As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find events at a Wildlife Refuge near you.

Let's go outside!

Christmas bird count, Nevada 2009Birders participating in the 2009 Christmas Bird Count at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

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Looking Back: Howard Zahniser

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

Howard Zahniser was known in Washington, DC, for his genial personality, his poetic prose, and his coat.

Zahniser PortraitCourtesy of Wilderness.net

The coat, tailor-made for Zahnhiser, had multiple oversize pockets to hold handouts and drafts of legislation while Zahniser made his rounds on Capitol Hill in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

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Wisdom is Back at Midway Atoll!

Last year she made headlines for surviving the tsunami.  Now, Wisdom, is back in the news.

She’s made her way back to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific, and she’s incubating an egg!

Wisdom the Laysan Albatross incubating an EggTaken December 1, 2011, Wisdom is back an incubating an egg!

Why is this such a big news?  Well, if you didn't know, Wisdom is world’s oldest Laysan albatross. The average lifespan for albatrosses ranges from 12 to 40 years.

Wisdom is at least 61.

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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 12th

Is holiday shopping, cooking, and preparing making you say "Bah-Humbug" more than "Happy Holidays!"?  Take a break from all the running around and head outside to get a breath of fresh air. Even though the temperature is dropping there are still things to do and see.

Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country this week, some in the spirit of the season.  Check out this link for more events happening in December on our refuges.

As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find events at a Wildlife Refuge near you.

Let's go outside!

SnowshoeingGuests snowshoe at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in the Mountain-Praire Region, Photo: Jennifer Jewett

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Looking Back: Chuck Hunt

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

Chuck Hunt grew up in a remote Yupik village in Alaska, rich in culture, subsisting on the resources of nature.

Chuck Hunt

Those villages are still remote, but now they have schools, satellites and science. Hunt became the bridge between those two worlds. A 22-year employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Charles Francis “Chuck” Hunt served as a Native liaison for the Yupik people of western Alaska’s Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Officially, he was a translator between the Upik language and English.

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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 5th

It's the holiday season on our refuges! Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country this week, many in the spirit of the season.  Check out this link for more events happening in December on our refuges.

As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find events at a Wildlife Refuge near you!

Let's go outside!

Sleigh Passing Elk HerdSleigh passing elk herd Photo: Lori Iverson/USFWS

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Looking Back: Mollie Beattie

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

The first woman to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mollie Beattie, was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt wrote that Beattie was determined to make the Service “the strongest protector of America’s wild creatures and the finest steward over America’s National Wildlife Refuges.” 

Three years later, Babbitt mourned Beattie’s death of brain cancer when she was only 49 years old.

He wrote that Beattie “fought fiercely against the forces that sought to weaken the mission of our wildlife refuges, to gut the Endangered Species Act, or to turn the lights off on good science through funding cuts.” 

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A Plan for Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

When the sea is rising, you’d better have a plan.

At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Virginia coast, rising sea levels and severe weather are wreaking havoc with visitor parking and threaten to completely reshape the landscape by the end of the century.

Chincoteague PoniesPhoto: Emma Kerr/USFWS

“I don’t know how many more storms we can take,” says Refuge Manager Lou Hinds. The visitor parking lot adjacent to the recreational beach has been washed out nearly a dozen times in the past several years, forcing the Refuge and the National Park Service to spend about $500,000 a year in taxpayer dollars to repair the damage.

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What's a National Wildlife Refuge?

As someone who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I’m occasionally asked about what a National Wildlife Refuge is.  My first response is always, "well, it's sort of like a park, but different."

That is, of course, true, but I always want to give more of an explanation.  So, without further adieu, here it is:

Within the Department of the Interior, you’ll find both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which manages national wildlife refuges -- and National Park Service – which manages national parks.  Both work toward preservation of our natural world, but, there are differences.

Arctic Refuge AlaskaThinking on a mountain at Arctic Refuge in Alaska Photo: Steve Chase/USFWS

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