National Wildlife Refuge System

Conserving the Future: Steady Implementation

Teens learn wildlife photography skills in an EE program at National Elk Refuge, WY
Credit: Lori Iverson/USFWS

The nine Conserving the Future implementation teams are taking a last “fatal flaws” look at their draft strategic plans and other products before they go online in early December at AmericasWildlife.org. The October Progress Report gives you a flavor of the teams’ approach. 

The Community Partnerships team, finalizing a draft strategic plan for volunteer and partner involvement, is recommending incentives and regional recognition programs to encourage refuge staff to run vibrant volunteer programs. Among the team’s many recommendations: a “one-stop shopping” web portal with resources for both staff and volunteer and a national strategy for engaging volunteers in citizen science. 

About 350 Refuge System units have some environmental education (EE), reaching about 700,000 students and teachers each year. The Interpretation and Environmental Education team proposes that every staffed refuge should provide or support a minimal level of EE and interpretive programming. A proposed Ambassadors Program would infuse interpretive messaging and skills throughout the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The team that may be getting the most attention – the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative – is finalizing its Standards of Excellence, objective measures to gauge current work on urban refuges. Among the eight draft standards:  Refuges should be models of sustainability in their management and community involvement to inspire environmental, social and economic responsibility within urban communities.

Last updated: December 7, 2012