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Open Spaces

A Talk on the Wild Side.

Implementing the Refuge Vision

Remember our entries on Open Spaces last summer from the Conserving the Future Conference in Madison? Well, charting a bright future for the National Wildlife Refuge System didn’t stop there. Here’s an update on the implementation of the vision document that came out of the conference.

Transparency was a driving principle when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed Conserving the Future as the vision that will guide the National Wildlife Refuge System for the next decade.  That same transparency is evident as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begins implementing the vision. 

Implementation Plan Cover


New Service Voices: Keenan Adams, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Keenan Adams, Assistant Refuge Manager, Pelican Island NWR Complex.

In today's post, we have a guest blogger as our part of our new series on New Service Voices: Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex Assistant Refuge Manager, Keenan Adams.  Keenan has been with the Service since 2008 when he served as a Refuge Operations Specialist. Keenan holds an M.S. degree in Forest Resources from Clemson University and a PhD in Wildlife Biology from Clemson University.  At Clemson, he concentrated his work on human dimensions of forest/wildlife management and land ethic.

Every morning on my commute to work, I watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean as I drive south on a coastal highway that overlooks Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.  Sometimes, on my way home, I'll take a detour to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuges’ centennial trail to watch the sun set over Indian River Lagoon. In the period between sun-up and sun-down, there may have been close to three hundred sea turtles laying eggs on our refuge.

Seriously, how cool is that? 


Conserving the Future through New Technologies

Dan Ashe (far left) as a young boy looking at a bird on a Florida beach. Courtesy of the Ashe family.

This Week Dan Ashe has been writing from the Conserving the Future Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Today's theme: Youth and Technology.

Wednesday at the Conserving the Future conference for the National Wildlife Refuge System, was another inspiring and exciting day. 

In today’s update, I wanted to talk about two themes that resonated for me: the tremendous capacity of young people to carry America’s conservation legacy forward and the power of reaching out to those young people through new technologies. 

There were amazing moments from yesterday’s conference. 


The Right Time in the Right Place

This week on Open Spaces, we have a special guest blogger: our new Director, Dan Ashe.  You can meet Dan on his new Director's Corner Page. 

After more than a year of planning and anticipation, Conserving the Future: National Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation is here.  

When I got here yesterday, I was greeted with dark clouds and claps of thunder. Some might think this was an inauspicious beginning, but I thought it was perfect, an exciting start to our history-making event.

A lot has changed since the last time we did this.  In 1999, Fulfulling the Promise became the National Wildlife Refuge System’s guiding vision.

Today, we face more – and more complex – conservation challenges. There’s the U.S. population – more urban, older and  more diverse -- that has grown by 58 million in the past 20 years. There are increasing threats to fish, wildlife and habitats and the added challenge of a changing climate. Add to these the rapid changes in communication fostered by the web and social media.


How you can Follow the Conserving the Future Conference Online

Well, it's almost here. The Conserving the Future for the Next Generation Conference being held from July 10th-14th in Madison, Wisconsin is only days away. During the conference, a new vision for the Refuge System will finally be ratified.  Learn more about the conference at http://americaswildlife.org.

All next week, scores of break–out sessions, workshops and lectures will be held, along with plenary sessions for the 1,200 people gathered at the Monona Terrace Community and Conference Center. The good news is that you don't have to be in Madison to participate. Using a variety of online and social technologies, we'll be working hard to bring the conference directly to you, no matter where you are.