Renowned Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Kanter once defined a vision as not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.
Thats why Im so proud of the Conserving the Future document, which Secretary Ken Salazar and I signed in October 2011 at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees, Friends and partners who worked on this document outlined a comprehensive vision for a National Wildlife Refuge System that is relevant to the American people, sciencedriven and working at a landscape scale to produce biological outcomes.
This vision is truly a call to action for all of us who care about the future of the Refuge System, while also setting the standard for the Service as a whole. Like the Refuge System, we must work across programs and regions to increase our relevancy to the public, our commitment to science and our efforts to deliver partnershipdriven conservation at a landscape scale.
Im incredibly pleased that Jim Kurth will be leading the effort to make the vision a reality. As the new chief of the Refuge System, Jim brings a wealth of experience, leadership and unbridled passion to this process.
The vision calls on us to prioritize future land acquisition and protection efforts, linking them to rigorous biological planning and conservation objectives developed in cooperation with state fish and wildlife agencies and implemented through effective partnerships.
It will also accelerate development of a scientific research agenda to support and guide our management decisions.
In addition, Im excited about a new vision for urban wildlife refuges and its potential to make our work visible to and relevant for new audiences in an increasingly urban society.
The Secretarys vision for Americas Great Outdoors lines up strongly with ours. Projects such as the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area, the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area and the proposed Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area are the centerpieces of that AGO vision, and they embody our vision for future refuge conservation efforts.
The Dakota Grassland Conservation Area is a centerpiece of the Americas Great Outdoors initiative, and it embodies the Services vision for refuge conservation, Director Dan Ashe writes. Here, spiderwort brightens the South Dakota prairie.
Credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS
Secretary Salazar is challenging us to breathe new life into river and watershed conservation. He understands that conservation must have a big perspective (a landscape scale) but also appreciates that conservation is done at the site scale (on the ground) and by working with individual partners and landowners. The Secretary understands, as do we, that our best work often occurs where the Service is the catalyst for conservation work on a broader scale than we could accomplish working individually.
Despite the many uncertainties and challenges we will face in implementing the vision, Im optimistic about the future of the Refuge System.
I cant help but feel optimistic when I see the work of our dedicated employees, partners, volunteers and Friends groupsand feel the passion they demonstrate every day. I hope youll join us as we work to make this vision a reality.