Rachel Carson Writes About Wildlife Refuges*
If you travel much in the wilder sections of our country, sooner or later you are likely to meet the sign of the flying goose — the emblem of the national wildlife refuges.
You may meet it by the side of a road crossing miles of flat prairie in the Middle West, or in the hot deserts of the Southwest. You may meet it by some mountain lake, or as you push your boat through the winding salty creeks of a coastal march. Wherever you meet this sign, respect it. It means that the land behind the sign has been dedicated by the American people to preserving, for themselves and their children, as much of our native wildlife as can be retained along with our modern civilization. Wild creatures, like men, must have a place to live. As civilization creates cities, builds highways, and drains marshes, it takes away, little by little, the land that is suitable for wildlife. And as their space for living dwindles, the wildlife populations themselves decline. Refuges resist this trend by saving some areas from encroachment, and by preserving in them, or restoring where necessary, the conditions that wild things need in order to live.
— Rachel Carson
*This essay introduced the series, "Conservation in Action," a marvelously written collection of narratives about refuges and the refuge system. When she wrote this, Rachel Carson was a scientist and the chief editor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.