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Open Spaces

A Talk on the Wild Side.

Conserving the Future through Science and Partnerships

This week Open Spaces is featuring posts from our new Director, Dan Ashe. Dan will be blogging live from the Conserving the Future Conference currently underway in Madison, Wisconsin.

Yesterday was an energizing, inspiring first day of the Conserving the Future conference for the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Many themes have been emerging from the conference so far and I want to take today’s blog to talk about two that I thought were particularly notable and important. 

The first is the use of science. The Service has a long, distinguished history of using the best available science in our decisions and our ability to have access to the best science is more important than ever. 

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Teddy Roosevelt and the History of the National Wildlife Refuge System

Today, there are 553 refuges across the country, with at least one in every state, providing safety to more than 250 threatened or endangered plants and animals.  Have you ever wondered how we got there?

President Roosevelt, known for his love of nature and wildlife established Pelican Island as our first national refuge in 1903.  Though he didn’t know it at the time, Roosevelt had set the nation on the path to building the largest national Refuge System in the world. 

Throughout his presidency, refuges were established around the country, and by the time he left office in 1909, he had declared 53 refuges in 17 states and three territories.

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