Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Color Me a Conservationist

December 23, 2009


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

What is wildlife habitat? What kind of habitat do certain animals need? How can children help? Youngsters can learn the answers to those questions and many more in the pages of a new National Wildlife Refuge System Coloring Book, designed for children in grades 2-3.

Illustrated by a student from the Art Institute of Washington, D.C., the coloring book contains simple pictures of crocodiles, bears, eagles and other wildlife, as well as images of a variety of habitat types. On each page, children can find fun facts about wildlife species and the refuges they call home. The youngsters can also learn about the employees that protect these special places.

Children will want to hunt for the blue goose, the emblem of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is hidden on many of the book’s pages. The blue goose, created in the 1930s by conservationist and award-winning political cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling, can be found on most entry signs of National Wildlife Refuges.
The book seeks to connect children to the natural world and foster a new generation of conservationists, as well as introduce them to the National Wildlife Refuge System. “If we’re serious about environmental protection and protecting the many wild creatures that depend on wild places, then we have to teach youngsters to make that special connection to nature,” said Sam Hamilton, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “A coloring book is a good first step. But nothing replaces the real thing — getting outdoors and visiting a National Wildlife Refuge.”

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service, represents the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants. Established in 1903, the Refuge System spans more than 150 million acres and 550 National Wildlife Refuges. There is at least one refuge in every state and one about an hour’s drive from most major metropolitan areas.

The Refuge System welcomes more than 40 million people annually to participate in wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife observation, wildlife photography, fishing, hunting, environmental education and nature interpretation programs.

The Refuge System has more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails. Scores of events are held on refuges year-round and can be found in the special events calendar online at

A copy of the coloring book is free for downloading at or can be purchased by calling 1-800-344-WILD. For more information about the Refuge System or to find one near you, visit

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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