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Open Spaces

A Talk on the Wild Side.

Call to Action: Excerpts from Dan Ashe's Speech at the Conserving the Future Conference

Below you'll find excerpts from our Director Dan Ashe’s “Call to Action” speech, delivered July 14, at the Conserving the Future Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.  Learn more about the conference at http://www.americaswildlife.org.  

We must, in effect, win over the hearts and minds of the American people. That’s a call to action for each of us—both professional and citizen conservationists.

First, I am asking the Refuge System staff to take the work we have done this week and incorporate the best ideas into the final vision for Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation. I want the final vision document completed by Refuge Week in mid-October.

I want this vision to define a future state, but I want it to respect the past and the partnerships and traditions that have brought us to this point.

The Refuge System Leadership Team will guide the implementation of our vision. I am signing a charter today that spells out that charge. The Leadership Team will meet in October and lay out a detailed set of priorities and timelines for implementation of the final vision.

I am establishing today the first three vision implementation teams.


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. 


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. 


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.