Why a Blue Goose?
The "Blue Goose" has been adopted as the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Refuge boundary markers, entrance signs, brochures, and exhibits have displayed the blue goose since 1936. The blue goose is the legacy of Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist J.N. "Ding" Darling, who designed the symbol while he was chief of the U.S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of today's U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, from 1934-1935.
Ding Darling had a deep and lasting love of wildlife and the outdoors, with a special interest in migratory waterfowl. He became one of the greatest proponents of wildlife conservation in the 20th century. His cartoons, which focused on conservation and wildlife, alerted the public to the widespread destruction of the nation's natural resources.
As the National Wildlife Refuge System enters its second century of conservation, the blue goose still flies. It flies at Pelican Island NWR, the first refuge established by President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903, and it flies at over 535 other national wildlife refuges across America. The blue goose continues to symbolize America's conservation efforts of establishing these refuges for wildlife and conservation of wildlife habitat. Look for the blue goose when you visit a national wildlife refuge.