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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

New Units of Refuge System Show Off New Conservation Models

Last week I headed to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the first national wildlife refuge. The boardwalk there has engraved planks representing each refuge, and Secretary Salazar and I are adding six more for the newest units to the Refuge System.

all of us on the Boardwalk

A lot of partners joined in the ceremonies for the new refuge units. Credit:  Tami Heilemann/DOI

The new refuge units are unique in many respects, showcasing our new ways of doing business.


Some Amazing Conservation is Happening out West Despite Challenging Issues

I ventured down to Tucson, Arizona, for a few days recently for the winter meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

Lee Metcalf NWR The landscape at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge in western Montana is just one type we manage with WAFWA. Credit: Bob Danley/USFWS

WAFWA represents U.S. states from Alaska and Hawaii to Texas and the Dakotas. Several Canadian provinces are also members. That’s almost 4 million square miles, home to more than 1,500 wildlife species.

WAFWA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked, side-by-side, on a number of conservation successes last year.


Follow the Blue Goose: Refuge Week is a Great Opportunity to Recharge our ‘Sense of Wonder’

Try as I might, I don’t actually remember the first time I saw the blue goose sign that designates national wildlife refuges.

I imagine it was at one of the NWRs in the Southeast, where my family would vacation while my Dad worked on acquisitions for the Service.

I have been trying to recall my first look as we celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week on October 14-20.

Well, it may be lost in the fog of time, but I can remember many, many great days inside of those boundary signs.  And a great memory, earlier this year posting the first blue goose sign, with Secretary Salazar and Regional Director Cindy Dohner at the Everglades Headwaters NWR.

Get your goose on Pilot Butte Elementary students pose with their "Get your goose on!" towels at Seedskadee NWR in Wyoming. Photo Credit: Katie Theule/USFWS

In the introduction to her Conservation in Action series, Rachel Carson wrote, “Wherever you meet this sign, respect it.”

I definitely respect the blue goose, too, and all that it means.

As Carson explained in that same introduction: “It means that the land behind the sign has been dedicated by the American people to preserving, for themselves and their children, as much of our native wildlife as can be retained along with our modern civilization. “

The sign, then, shows the country’s commitment to wild things, and we help the country honor that commitment.


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