Secretary Kempthorne Will Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week at Sanibel Island, Florida Events
Washington, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will cap a week-long celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week by unveiling the winning artwork for the 75th National Duck Stamp, visiting the refuge honoring the conservationist who launched the nation’s most prestigious nature art contest, and speaking to conservation and outdoor groups about increasing opportunities for children to experience nature.
“National wildlife refuges are our promise to the American people that fish and wildlife will always have a place on the American landscape,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “These special places also offer some of the most serene lands and waters in the world, where adults and children alike can interact with nature. Whether hiking, bird watching, taking photographs, fishing, hunting or just being in the outdoors, visitors can relax, reinvigorate themselves and make a special connection with nature.”
Last year, more than 39 million people visited America's national wildlife refuges. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and most city dwellers can find a national wildlife refuge less than an hour's drive from their front door.
Kempthorne will be accompanied at the events on Sanibel Island, Florida by Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On Friday, Oct. 12, 2007, Kempthorne will speak to an internal session of the American Sportfishing Association on the need to increase children’s interaction with Nature.
Following that he will visit J.N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The refuge is named for Jay Norwood Darling, the nationally known cartoonist and conservationist who designed the first Federal Duck Stamp and launched the nation’s oldest nature art contest and one of the world’s most successful conservation programs.
Kempthorne will then participate in a “Children and Nature” fishing event on Tarpon Bay. There will be a media availability at the Tarpon Bay Boat Dock at 2 p.m. In the evening, Kempthorne will deliver keynote remarks at the “Art for Conservation on Sanibel” event at The Sanctuary.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007 the Secretary will participate in the 75th Annual Federal Duck Stamp Contest, unveiling the winning artwork for next year’s Federal Duck Stamp and personally telephoning the winners. The annual event is held on Sanibel Island this year to honor Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, founder of the Federal Duck Stamp program.
The proceeds from the sale of $15 Federal Duck Stamps to hunters of migratory waterfowl fund the acquisition of wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since the program began, more than $700 million has been raised to acquire more than 5.2 million acres of habitat and hundreds of national wildlife refuges.
The National Wildlife Refuge System, with 548 national wildlife refuges, protects 97 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat. Scores of refuges are offering special programs to help celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week, from October 7-13, 2007. More information is available online at http://www.fws.gov.
Secretary Kempthorne will be available for separate media interviews on Oct. 12 and 13. Please contact Chris Paolino (202-208-5338) to schedule interviews with the Secretary.
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