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Summit Overview | Director's Message | Messages from Refuge Managers

Admiring our Achievements, Anticipating our Future

— by Kathleen Maycroft

Photo of Dave Harris and Kathleen Maycroft.
Refuge volunteer Dave Harris and and Kathleen Maycroft on the Visitor
Information Center's observation deck
at Rockhouse Marsh.
USFWS Photo: Lisa Ledbetter
As the National Wildlife Refuge System plans its Conservation in Action Summit, I will take a moment to reflect on the great accomplishments we have made in the years since our kick-start at Keystone, Colo. I will be where the rubber meets the road - not in a conference room, a break out session or a lobby.

I may be listening to the ducks and geese feed in the moist soil units, attracting their migrating comrades. I may be watching new arrivals lock up their wings as they drop altitude to share in the feast. I may be checking water levels, touching base with staff, discussing potential purchases, planning our next accomplishments and working with partners to accomplish resource goals. I may be talking about the importance and uniqueness of Mingo NWR to a visitor or two, or perhaps working on the next section of our Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

I may spy an otter or swan in Monopoly or Rockhouse Marsh or perhaps one of the partial albino turkeys on the west side of the refuge. I will be preserving, enhancing and protecting our nation's treasures.

There is one thing I will do, as I always do: take a deep breath and marvel at the creation of life and the tenuous balance between man and the resource. I will take the time to reflect on the accomplishments of this Centennial year, the on-the-ground improvements made throughout the Refuge System, and the national attention we garnered because of the work of each and every employee, Friends groups and the CARE group. I will be proud of our focus on "wildlife first" and the efforts for system-wide unity.

The summit is a chance to revel in our accomplishments of the past 100 years and focus on our future direction. I would welcome the opportunity to attend the summit, but if I don't, I can still appreciate our accomplishments firsthand, right here on the landscape, where the impacts of our successes are readily visible.



Kathleen Maycroft has been manager at Mingo NWR, Mo., for three years. Previously, she was refuge manager at Port Louisa, Iowa. She has worked for the USFWS since December 1991.



 

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