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Open Spaces

A Talk on the Wild Side.

Celebrate World Oceans Day!

Today marks the 10th World Oceans Day! No matter where you live, whether it’s on the coast or in a land locked state, you can celebrate oceans and learn the important role they play on our planet. 

To make the occasion even more special, this year is also the 40th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects and conserves marine mammals like polar bears, manatees, dugongs, walrus and otters. 

polarbears(Photo: USFWS)


Reasons to Celebrate: The Refuge System's 109th Birthday

How do you mark a 109th birthday?  

In style.  

All the more so when the honoree is an American icon, respected the world-over as a conservation force and national treasure.   

Ducks in Flight, ChincoteagueDucks take off at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Steve Hillebrand

The birth of the National Wildlife Refuge System on March 14, 1903, ensured that our children and our children’s children will inherit an America that still has natural spaces and the wild creatures.


Endangered Species Spotlight: Swallow-Tailed Kite

Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day sets aside the third Friday in May to recognize the importance of endangered species and is an occasion to educate the public on how to protect them. This year, Endangered Species Day falls on May 18th.  In the weeks leading up to Endangered Species Day, we'll be putting a spotlight on a few endangered and threatened species for you to learn more about what makes them unique. And there's still time to enter the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest!

Swallow Tailed KiteSwallow-Tail Kite in flight in Big Cypress, Florida.  Photo: Artur Pedziwilk, Creative Commons

Though not federally listed, the swallow-tailed kite is listed as endangered in the state of South Carolina, where the primary threat to its is habitat loss and pesticide use.


My Day With a Wolf Pack

It’s not often someone gets a chance to spend the day with a pack of wolves, but one of our co-workers, Roya Mogadam (Office of Congessional & Legislative Affairs) did, and she’s here on Open Spaces to tell you about what she took away from that experience.

On the outskirts of San Isabel National Forest is a sanctuary perched atop a steep hill at the end of a mile long dirt driveway.  It’s called Mission: Wolf, a rescue facility with 37 wolves and wolf-dogs.

I visited on a Saturday, a “big feed” day.

Raven howlingRaven howls as feeding time nears at Mission: Wolf


A Holiday Recipe From Rachel Carson.....Yes, Thee Rachel Carson

Did you know that during World War 2, and in the years following, our fisheries division had a mission to market the oceans and the consumption of fish?

To support this effort our Fisheries bureau prepared a series of oyster, shrimp and lobster recipes to encourage people to prepare a holiday meals just as the Pilgrims were believed to have eaten: with oysters for appetizers and in the stuffing for the turkey.

While most people know her for her long-lasting conservation legacy, former Service Biologist Rachel Carson once penned news releases featuring seafood and shellfish holiday recipes for the public.

On Thanksgiving eve, we thought we'd share with you one of Rachel's recipes. If you decide to give Oysters a chance at your holiday table, let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below!

Whatever you cook this week, we at Open Spaces wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Conservation=Commerce: The 3 BIG Numbers You Need to Know

We've talked with you before about our Fisheries Program--we even featured it right here on Open Spaces in August. In case you don't remember, the program plays a vital role in conserving America’s fisheries. They also do a ton of partnership work, working with states, tribes, and others with the common goal of ensuring healthy fish and wildlife.

Today, a really important study (from 2004-2008) was released measuring the economic impact of the work done by the program and it's partners.

Given our challenging economic times, the report brings good news, suggesting something many of us have known all along. What is it?

Conservation = Commerce

What does THAT mean?

Here are the three BIG numbers from the report that you need to know:

Measuring a Steelhead trout