Steve Harvey - Dan Ashe Interview

On April 5, 2012, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe was a guest on the Steve Harvey Morning Show radio program. This is a transcript of that interview.


Shirley Strawberry: (Strawberry): We said we were going to talk about fish, but it’s also about summer jobs as well, Steve.  This is important for our local kids—this is big.

Steve Harvey (Harvey):  Our special guest this morning was appointed by President Obama as the 16th Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – that’s the nation’s principal federal agency that’s dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats. And in accordance with President Obama’s Summer Jobs program, our guest has some really, really good news to share.  Please welcome to the show, Mr. Daniel Ashe.  Welcome, welcome.

Dan Ashe (Ashe):   Thank you – great to be here, Steve.

Harvey:  How are you doing, sir?

Ashe: I’m doing well, thank you very much. It’s an honor to be with you.

Harvey:  So before we begin in this interview, I want to know that you are absolutely my favorite guest of all time. Fishing, sir, thank you very much.

(Background laughter)

Ashe:  Well, I understand  you’re a big fisherman sir, and I want to say “thank you” to you Steve , for everything you’re doing. I understand you do a lot of mentoring with young and getting young people into the outdoors is what it’s all about.  We’ve got to have a whole new generation of people who understand and love the outdoors.

Harvey: Yes, I mean absolutely it is.  Fishing is a big part of my mentoring weekend. Because when you teach a boy to fish, you introduce a level of peace and quiet competitiveness . And it just frees him up from the inner city life. And that’s why we do it as much I love to fish and spend time outdoors at my ranch.  The Fish and Wildlife Service is very important to me. But so tell me briefly about the work that you do.

Ashe: I’m Director of the agency. So we have about 10,000 people. We have about 40,000 volunteers that work with us. We implement the Endangered Species Act, so we conserve species that are endangered by extinction.  Things like the tiger, the manatee in Florida.  We manage 150,000 million acres of land—National Wildlife Refuges. We run fish hatcheries—we have 74 National Fish Hatcheries throughout the country that are working to make sure that we continue to have a resource that supports recreational angling for all Americans. We protect migratory birds. So you go out in your front yard, your backyard, you see a robin,

Background:  (yes…)_

Ashe: you see a bald eagle. We have all our people and our partners working to make sure that the world’s a healthy place for all those animals.

Harvey:  Okay, now Mr. Ashe, let me ask you something before we go too far. You said that you handle over 150,000 million acres, and that the land is in the National Wildlife Refuge System.  What are  ‘Refuges?’

Ashe: Well, a Refuge is a place that is set aside for wildlife habitat. So, just like we all depend upon our homes to keep us healthy and safe, keep us sheltered—animals need the same thing. And so we run National Wildlife Refuges principally for wildlife . These are some of the most special places for wildlife in the world. A lot of that is in Alaska, a lot of that is in the far Pacific, but a lot of it is right here at home. So you can go right outside here in Washington, D.C. where I am. And we have Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge—about 30,000 acres right in Princes Georges County, Maryland, where people can come and see wildlife. They can get out in the outdoors, they can go for a walk, ride a bike. Right outside of Philadelphia, we have John Heinz Refuge, literally right in the city of Philadelphia right along the Delaware River, is Heinz Refuge and you can go and experience wildlife.

Harvey:  Okay, let’s get into this because a part of this is because we had a representative from the Oval Office call us recently about the new Summer Jobs program that the President wanted to give young people working opportunities. And so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – you all are hoping to hire 2300 youth for summer jobs this year – that’s a lot of summer jobs!

Background:  Yes!

Harvey:  And so how are these summer jobs connected to what you do, like what kinds of jobs – how is it connected ?

Ashe:   Well, when we have young people – and again, you can find jobs, go to our website, which is (www), and right at the top is “JOBS.”  You click on “JOBS” and you go to our website, so young kids can see what’s available throughout the country.  But what we’re looking for is people to come in and work with us not just summer, but they can work with us all year. They can do things like maintenance on our refuges, on our hatcheries, they can do office work, they can do things like firefighting—how cool is that ? 

Background:  Yeah..

Ashe:  To be out working with a fire crew—both wildfire  prevention or working on a prescribed fire. When I was a kid growing up, it gave me the opportunity to be around a fire,  you know. I think we give people—young people—opportunities to experience things that they aren’t going to have an opportunity to experience otherwise.  And it’s not just the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Our partner agencies, like the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation—the Department of Agriculture—they all have jobs for young people. Last year, the Department of the Interior employed 12,000 people last summer.

Harvey:  Okay, so I would think though, that a program like this could also spark the interest of some young people who haven’t decided what they want to do for a living. I mean, there’s got to be a way for a young person involved in this type of job over the summer that they might—is there any training available for young people if they want to continue along the path of working in the Fish and Wildlife Service— those careers that are within that division?

Ashe:  Absolutely, and that’s actually the way that many of the people who work in the Fish and Wildlife Service today started, in training positions. So, young people who are interested in going to college – we have the Student Experience Training Program where they can get involved with a summer job.  They can do it while they’re in school, when they are home for Spring break or winter break.  They can come work for the Service. They can work over the summer. So they’re getting valuable experience and learning about what they want to do in life. They might want to work for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Or, I learned about the Park Service while I was working for you guys. I’d really like to work for the Park Service…So it gives young people a chance to get some experience and decide the kind of things they might want to do.  You know, maybe I want to be a biologist, maybe I want to be a fisheries biologist—maybe I want to be a firefighter. maybe I want to be a Park Ranger and do law enforcement kind of work. But, I’ll be in the outdoors when I’m doing that.

Background: I love that…we love the outdoors, might as well get paid to love out there working and enjoying it.

Ashe: That’s what a lot of our people say,  they say “I can’t believe I get paid to do this..”

(Laughter)       It’s not really a job is it?

Harvey:  Yeah, I’m with all that. 

Background: It’s fun…

Harvey:  So, let me say this right here, I want our listeners to know if you’re interested in learning more about summer jobs with the Fish and Wildlife Service, and they could be in your area, just go to that’s Fish, Wildlife Service. – so you want to go
. .  And those of you parents, looking for you kids—looking for some jobs—you young people are looking for a job , you young people in college looking for jobs. The President is making it happen. Even my partner and I, we’re talking about having a couple  of intern-type jobs. But we’re going to have to pay them…we’re going to have a couple of young people this summer to help out with the summer job program.

Ashe:  And these jobs that they’re going to see, they are going to be jobs that they get paid , And when they go to that website you just gave them, they are going to be able to, like I said, other websites like the National Park Service. So if  you’re in Philadelphia, you might see a job at John Heinz,you might see a job at the National Park Service at the Liberty Bell site, or other sites. So, there’s all kinds of work that young people can do.

Harvey:  Well, Mr. Daniel Ashe , thank you so much for joining us, sir.  A great job from the Oval Office on this.

Announcer:  You’re listening to the Steve Harvey Morning Show…