Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Let’s Go Outside! – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employees are Connecting People with Nature.
Northeast Region, December 3, 2007
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During the first week in December, ten Northeast Region Service employees attended the Service's Connecting People with Nature: Making it Happen in Your Community workshop held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia 

The Northeast Region employees were among 90 other Service employees from around the country attending the national workshop. The goal of the workshop was to "prepare participants to serve as ambassadors at their field stations and in their local communities to work with children and families to develop strong, enduring conservation values by connecting people with the natural world."

At the workshop, participants discussed issues and reasons why children are spending less time outdoors and possible solutions to reverse this trend, which author Richard Louv describes in his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Workshop participants learned about innovative programs and activities that connect people with nature and met with traditional and non-traditional partners who have an interest in working with the Service to achieve this goal.

In addition to Service Director Dale Hall, who welcomed the group to the workshop, keynote speakers included Dr. Mamie Parker, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee; Bill Godfrey, Environics Foundation International; Dudley Edmondson, author of Black and Brown Faces in America's Wild Places; and Dr. Emilyn Sheffield, Department of Recreation Management, California State University.

Other presentations at the workshop included: Successful School Partnerships, Building Partners in the Health Community, Using Digital Photography to Connect Kids and Families with Nature, Flying WILD, Wildlife Watch: Connect with Nature, and Virtual Geocaching on a Refuge.

Service employee Matt Patterson, who attended the workshop stated, "As a member of the Fisheries team, I found the Connecting People with Nature Conference to be a real eye-opener. Over the past 3 years, we have been working hard at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery to connect children and their families to the natural world but were quite frankly unaware of the multitude of outreach programs already in place throughout the Fish and Wildlife Service. Now I see more clearly how WSSNFH and the Fisheries Division can improve our outreach efforts and become a key player in this new initiative, an initiative that we believe is critical to the continued survival of our agency and the natural resources we protect."

Matt, and other Service ambassadors will continue the great work that is already happening within the Service, as well as work to establish new and refocused ways of helping families establish long-lasting conservation practices and values.

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, (413) 253-8303, jennifer_lapis@fws.gov
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