In the coming months, the Southwest Region will highlight each of its programs as a means to introduce the extraordinary activities that the Region's staff bring to the diverse habitats, species and conservation efforts within its boundaries. The first is our Refuge System.
There is no clear documentation of just when the concept of protecting wildlife through habitat preservation was born, but as long ago as the mid-1800's, diaries of early western explorers, pictorial records and reports from journalists and speakers familiar with the West brought a public realization that the unrestricted slaughter of wildlife for food, fashion and commerce was systematically destroying an irreplaceable national heritage.
From the earliest years national wildlife refuges have played a major role in the evolution of resource conservation in the United States. The National Wildlife Refuge System now comprises more than 520 units in all 50 states, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Johnson Atoll, Midway Atoll and other Pacific Islands. Refuges now encompass over 93 million acres of valuable wildlife habitat. Included in this total are nearly 1.9 million acres of wetlands in the prairie pothole region of the north-central United States. These wetlands are known as "waterfowl production areas."
The history of the Refuge System is the history of farsighted actions, untiring efforts, and generous donations from untold numbers of dedicated individuals from both government and private sectors. These individuals have recognized that our wildlife resources are an invaluable national heritage. It is a good time to reflect upon the collective efforts of these dedicated people in creating what is regarded as the largest and most outstanding wildlife conservation program in the world -- the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employs many students in various career and educational fields. The Student employment program is a way to attract talented students to work with the Service and it's an opportunity for students to continue their education and apply their academic studies to on-the-job experience. Visit our Student Opportunity page for current student positions.