The Blue Goose History

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How "Puddles" came to be...


The "Blue Goose" has been adopted as the symbol of the National wildlife Refuge System.  It has been used on refuge boundary markers, entrance signs, brochures, and exhibits since 1936.  It is the legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist J.N. "Ding" Darling, who designed the symbol while he was chief of the U.S. Biological Survey in 1934-1935.

Ding Darling had a deep and lasting love of wildlife and the outdoors, with an emphasis on migratory waterfowl. He became one of the greatest proponents of wildlife conservation in the 20th century.  Only about 100 of his 15,000 cartoons focused on conservation and wildlife, but they alerted the public to the widespread destruction of the Nation's natural resources.

Darling's biting humor made him a political force and a national celebrity.  In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Darling to become chief of the U.S. Biological Survey, forerunner of today's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As chief, Darling coaxed $6 million out of Congress for the fledgling National Wildlife Refuge System--a feat that Roosevelt described as a "raid" on the Treasury.  He started the Federal Duck Stamp Program in 1934 and designed the nation's first "Duck Stamp," helping to launch a conservation program that has generated over $500 million for wildlife habitat protection.  Many national wildlife refuges have been purchased with Duck Stamp revenues, including the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge!