Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Volunteers Donate More Than 1 Million Hours

October 6, 2006


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Nearly 38,000 volunteers donated more than 1.4 million hours to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts during fiscal year 2005. This represents the equivalent of more than $25 million in work on behalf of wildlife and wildlife conservation across the country, according to the recently issued "Friends and Volunteers Annual Report."

The report notes that volunteers have included Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Student Conservation Association volunteers and those who participate in the Take Pride in America programs and National Public Lands Day. Their efforts can range from routinely supporting refuge staff on a regular basis to assisting with one-day events. Volunteers also include the 200-plus nonprofit Refuge System Friends organizations across the country. Nine new Friends groups were established last year.

The number of volunteers has grown steadily during the past 23 years. In 1982, 4,251 volunteers donated 128,440 hours, valued at more than $1.1 million. A decade later, the number of volunteers had more than quadrupled to 18,103 people who donated work worth more than $11.7 million.

"Americans value their public lands, and they are happy to donate their time and effort to make sure these lands are handed down to another generation in better shape," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall.

The largest number of volunteer hours - more than 584,000 - were donated to wildlife and habitat work. A prime example is the annual Rio Reforestation Day, when hundreds of volunteers join Fish and Wildlife Service staff to plant seedlings that will provide food, habitat and cover for birds, butterflies and other wildlife at the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Since 1994, volunteers have planted nearly 132,000 native seedlings across 552 acres on the national wildlife refuge.

At Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois, volunteers from ages two to 62 netted almost 200 migrating Monarch butterflies during the Fourth Annual Butterfly Roundup. The butterflies are tagged each year to help with an ongoing research project with the University of Kansas Monarch Watch program.

Coming a close second in volunteer interest are programs that deliver quality wildlife-dependent recreation and environmental education, which together garnered 525,000 donated hours. In August 2005, the Friends of Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey spent more than 300 hours building an observation platform that is wheelchair accessible. The platform gives unobstructed views of the tidal marsh.

A Student Conservation Association high school crew on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska completed a new hiking trail and boardwalk to the Swanson River, connecting it to the refuges outdoor education center and providing a great view into boreal forest and muskeg habitats.

For more information about volunteering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, go to For more information about the Department of the Interiors Take Pride in America program, go to">.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fish and wildlife management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.



For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,



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