Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Regional Director Tom Melius Photo by USFWS
Regional Director Tom Melius. Photo by USFWS.

May 2018

A month of celebrations: From the return of
spring migration to a proposed delisting

As the ice continues to disappear from more lakes in the northern part of our region, the door is opening to our spring migrators who are travelling north and now beginning to establish their territories and nesting. While out on travel I’ve spotted the telltale V’s of cranes and geese in the sky embarked upon the journey back to our portion of the flyway. I also know the triumphant return of important pollinators like the monarch butterfly is just around the corner. 

Speaking of monarchs, I wanted to pass along that a monarch tagged at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri on September 30, 2017, during a National Public Lands Day event was found in El Rosario, Mexico on March 18. Great news and another reminder that our efforts make a difference as data from tagging is helping scientists learn more about monarch migration.

This month I’m looking forward to attending the first ever National R3 Symposium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Participants will enjoy some snapshots of how R3 (recruit, retain, reactivate) efforts have advanced around the country through new approaches, strategies, events and more to keep the R3 needle moving forward and engage even more Americans in outdoor recreation.

We have further reason to celebrate the work of our staff along with partners, including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, industry and conservation groups, as we recently announced the proposal to remove the Kirtland’s warbler from the endangered and threatened species list. Learn more about this success.

I’m pleased as well that our Midwest Region tradition of waterfowl artist success continues this year with Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest second and third place finishes, while Rayen Kang, a talented young artist from Johns Creek, Georgia took home top honors with her acrylic rendition of an emperor goose. Daniel Billings of Gallatin, Missouri, took second place with an oil painting depicting a redhead duck and third place went to Larissa Weber of Anderson, Indiana with her acrylic rendition of trumpeter swans. Hopefully they will continue their efforts and someday successfully compete in the Federal Duck Stamp contest, as did fellow midwestern artists Adam Grimm and Christine Clayton, to name a few. Learn more about this year’s youth contest.

Another important activity blazing around the region is the hard work of our crews managing prescribed burns. Hats off to them for the important work they are doing to benefit ground nesters and pollinators alike. Learn more about the buzz in the St. Croix Watershed.

I’d also like to give a shout out to our staff from the Sherburne Refuge Complex who we have featured here this month. There’s always a lot of great things happening there, not only on the ground, but in their classrooms that host literally thousands for environmental education from the Twin Cities and surrounding communities. Meet the Sherburne Refuge Complex staff.

Charlie and I enjoyed celebrating your accomplishments and recognizing your peers at our Employee Excellence Awards ceremony last week. It’s always a pleasure to gather and highlight the great work you are doing… thank you for all that you do!

Memorial Day closes out this month, giving us time to pause and reflect upon the great sacrifices Americans have made over the course of history for the freedom we enjoy today. Often a time of enjoying backyard barbecues with friends and family, I hope no matter how you choose to celebrate that you enjoy a safe Memorial Day. Stay vigilant as always during your celebrations, and carry that vigilance with you as we enter into the field season with staff and seasonal employees, including youth workers joining us for the summer.

Enjoy this month’s Inside Region 3!



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Last updated: May 8, 2018