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Celebrating a Century of Conservation

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Photograph of Theodore Roosevelt.You've heard about Theodore Roosevelt and Paul Kroegel and their roles in establishing and protecting our first refuge, Pelican Island. Now learn the rest of the story (798KB PDF). Bill Reffalt, a Service retiree and current volunteer, has written an article providing details on the various people and events involved in the establishment of Pelican Island and the other 52 Roosevelt refuges.

Market hunting of cougars - illegal wildlife trade. Outstanding public-domain historic images from the National Wildlife Refuge System's 100 eventful years exist on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's online image inventory. Reporters who anticipate writing "curtain raisers" before the March 14, 2003 kick-off centennial celebration at Pelican Island, Florida, would do well to check out this new collection of interesting and unusual photos from the Refuge System's eventful history.

Visit the collection by accessing the Service's photo site and use the search term "centennial" to view 39 historic images. (The larger search term "refuges" will get you 420 refuge images, both historic and contemporary). All are available for your use; crediting to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the individual photographers is requested.

Children's Activity Sheet
Downloadable activity sheet for children in
Grades 3 - 6.
 (PDF)  Print in landscape layout.

The Stamp of Success
Image of pelican on U.S. stamp. On August 15th, the United States Postal Service announced that they will produce a stamp honoring the 100th anniversary of the first National Wildlife Refuge, which is scheduled for release at Pelican Island on March 14, 2003, and nationwide on March 15, 2003. The stamp features a striking close-up photograph of a left-facing pelican. "Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge 1903-2003" appears in the bottom margin, just below the proposed design. The Postal Service made the announcement at the American Philatelic Society Stampshow in Atlantic City, New Jersey and the design will be unveiled publicly on October 10 at the Legoland amusement park in Carlsbad, California.
Pelican Island Stamp First Day Cover Preparation Instructions

Thumbnail images of the covers of two fact sheets Fact Sheet Series
Seven new fact sheets about the refuge system.

Silver NWRS Centennial Medals Available By Subscription
from the United States Mint

The first silver commemorative medal series ever offered by the United States Mint, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System, is available through the United States Mint's Subscription Program. Learn More >>

For Journalists and Filmmakers
An online almanac of ideas

A Literary Celebration of Refuges . . .
America's Wildlife Refuges: Lands of Promise, a commemorative book that describes and illustrates two dozen wildlife success stories over the Refuge System's 100-year history, is expected to be released around October 1, in time for National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 12-18. Authored by Jeanne Clark, editor of Out & About, the Pacific Region newsletter, and outreach coordinator at Stone Lakes Refuge (CA), and photographed by Tom and Pat Leeson, the book features 140 stirring images of the diversity of life protected on refuges, including brown pelicans, green sea turtles, Aleutian Canada goose, trumpeter swans, bighorn sheep, desert pupfish, caribou and more. The 144-page book can be purchased in hardcover ($39.95 retail) or paperback ($24.95 retail) from book chains and Web retailers, including Amazon, which offers discounts. Some proceeds from the book's sales will go to the National Wildlife Refuge Association to benefit refuges.

At the refuges . . .

A Winning "Green" Design
The Cusano Environmental Education Center at the John Heinz at Tinicum Refuge (PA) is among the Top Ten Green Projects cited by the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment for their architectural and "green" design. All winning projects address significant environmental challenges with designs that integrate architecture, technology and natural systems, improve comfort for the occupants, and reduce environmental impacts.

The Cusano center, cited for its energy efficiency, is designed to maximize the use of daylight, natural ventilation and passive solar heating. The building also used such recycled building materials as salvaged timbers and certified wood. The Top Ten Green Projects initiative was developed in partnership with the Department of Energy and Environmental Building News. Nearly three dozen volunteers completed the center's Wild parking lot, helped to plant more than 500 native wetland plants, secure three benches and install two signs in order to improve school bus and handicapped access areas as well as habitat.

For more information, go to

State of the Art Center
Chincoteague Refuge (VA) will open its state-of-the-art, 5,000-square-foot Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony October 25 at 9:30 a.m. Boasting a 125-seat auditorium wired to permit distance learning, the center features an array of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about the refuge’s four distinct habitats and their management, including endangered species conservation.

Built with a host of sustainable design features – some of which could be reproduced by visitors in their own homes – the center will serve the 1.5 million people who annually visit the refuge from across the country and more than 43 countries. Among the center's other features is a classroom/wet lab connected to a teacher resource room, enabling educations to develop lesson plans that expand on information being taught at that very moment to students in the classroom. The Bateman center gets some of its energy from solar power. A geothermal well system was built to heat and cool the building, which was constructed with recycled materials both inside and outside. Children's environmental entertainer Billy B will perform on opening day as will a Theodore Roosevelt re-enactor.

Silver Inkwell Garnered
A Place for Wildlife and People, the 12-minute video that gives an overview of the Refuge System, won an Award of Merit in the Silver Inkwell Awards presented October 1 by the International Association of Business Communications, Washington chapter. The video will be distributed in coming months to refuges for use in their visitor centers and as informational material. The video, produced by the Division of Visitor Services and Communications, was shot on location, including the National Bison Range Refuge (MT), Pelican Island Refuge (FL), and Aransas Refuge (TX).

A colorful patchwork quilt with a blue goose in the center, the representative image for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Fire Can't Destroy
Spirit . . .

To celebrate the Refuge System Centennial, the folks in the Mountain-Prairie Region drew on an age-old tradition – quilting – to create a magnificent design of squares from 50 of the Region's stations. The squares are arranged around a large center square with the blue goose. Each station's square illustrated a conservation theme such as migratory birds, endangered species, habitats, and wildlife-dependent recreation.

Last fall, the individual squares were completed and the quilt was nearing completion when a fire in February 2003 destroyed the quilt shop in Idaho Springs, CO. People quickly regrouped and began anew. A second Centennial quilt – again a beautiful mixture of styles – was completed in September. The quilt illustrates the value of each refuge and its place within the Refuge System. The quilt will begin traveling through the eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region in October

Check the Special Events Database for more events!

Page Last Updated: October 21, 2003

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For a Refuge System Visitors Guide
call 1-800-344-WILD