Heritage Program

029 FW 5
FWM Number
Amended Date(s)
Originating Office
National Conservation Training Center

5.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Heritage Program, which includes the Service:

A. Heritage Committee,

B. Museums,

C. The Fallen Comrades Memorial, and

D. The Hero Gallery

5.2 What is the Heritage Program and when did the Service establish it?

A. The Service formed the Heritage Program to provide a systematic and sustained way to document, collect, and preserve important aspects of the Service’s rich history. While a number of offices throughout the country have sought to preserve portions of the Service’s heritage, these efforts have focused primarily on local geographic or limited subject areas rather than the broad reach of Service programs and activities.

B. We established the DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery and Archives and began archiving material at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) as first steps to develop national collections of museum materials important to the heritage of the Service. We also have established a Memorial to our Fallen Comrades and a Hero Gallery.

5.3 What is the Service Heritage Committee and who serves on it?

A. The Committee is composed of twelve members who serve 3-year terms. The Director appoints a chairperson, who is either a Deputy Regional Director or Deputy Assistant Director. The Regional Directors appoint other members. The Director may extend the term of the chairperson, and Regional Directors may extend the term of Committee members. Voting members include:

(1) A chairperson,

(2) A representative from each of the eight Regions,

(3) The Service Historian, who represents Headquarters, and

(4) An at-large representative of the national retiree association chosen by the chairperson in consultation with the Association of Retired Fish and Wildlife Service Employees.

B. Non-voting, ex-officio members include:

(1) The Service Historic Preservation Officer,

(2) The Manager of the DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery and Archives, and

(3) The Director of NCTC.

C. The members of the Service Heritage Committee work to:

(1) Develop programs to document and preserve important historical materials and information associated with wildlife and organizational programs;

(2) Encourage the study and use of heritage resources to enhance understanding and appreciation of our leading role in American fish and wildlife conservation;

(3) Assist with the operations of the NCTC and DC Booth museums and their museum collections;

(4) Understand historical socio-economic impacts on conservation policy as a context for future policy development; and

(5) Educate our employees and the public about the heritage of conserving natural resources.

D. NCTC, and sometimes other employees, provide administrative and program support for the Committee.

E. The Committee engages with NCTC and DC Booth to help enhance the museum collections and exhibits. It also works to engage Service retirees, who are a valuable resource to Service programs and staff.

F. Every 5 years the Committee members review and, if necessary, revise the Committee charter.

5.4 What are the Service Heritage Museums?

A. We have two major Heritage Museums that tell the overall story of the Service and American conservation—the collection at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Museum and Archives at NCTC (FWSMA) and the DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery and Archives. We also have a large collection of museum objects and materials located at field stations across the country. These collections are an integral part of the history of each field station.

(1) The FWSMA collection focuses on the overall history of the Service, including all current and former programs. It also holds objects from the history of the American conservation movement.

(2) The DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery and Archives collection focuses on the history of American fisheries management, the National Fish Hatchery System, and the overall history of the Service.

B. Employees can contact these facilities for information, assistance, and tours. The facilities will continue to collect and conserve museum objects to protect and interpret Service heritage.

5.5 What is the Service Fallen Comrades Memorial?

A. The Fallen Comrades Memorial includes the names of Service employees and volunteers who died in the line of duty. It is located on the NCTC campus.

B. Criteria for the Memorial:

(1) The fallen comrade must be a Service employee or volunteer who was carrying out the mission of the Service.

(2) The person’s death must be the direct and sole result of injury or factors of employment that we trace through a natural or unbroken sequence.

C. We do not include in the Memorial our employees and volunteers who die due to preexisting medical conditions or while commuting to or from work.

D. Selection process:

(1) Regional or Deputy Regional Directors and Assistant Directors nominate inductees for the Fallen Comrades Memorial using the nomination form (FWS Form 3-2404).

(2) The Heritage Committee has established a subcommittee that reviews nominations, makes preliminary selections, and sends the selections to the full Committee for a vote.

(3) The full Heritage Committee votes on a final nomination(s) to be on the wall and provides the name(s) to the Director. The Director approves all new names.

(4) We wait at least 1 year after a subject’s date of death before putting the name on the Memorial.

5.6 What is the NCTC Conservation Hero Gallery?

A. The Conservation Hero Gallery: The Gallery is a series of framed plaques with large photographs and descriptions of our heroes of American conservation. The plaques hang in several buildings on the NCTC campus.

B. Definition of a Conservation Hero: A conservation hero is a person who has made significant contributions to American conservation, whether as a Service employee or another member of the American conservation community. The contribution of heroes should stand the test of time in the fields of:

(1) Fisheries and wildlife management,

(2) Endangered species,

(3) Wildlife refuges, and

(4) Natural resource conservation.

C. Criteria for the Gallery:

(1) At least 65% of the Gallery must be Service employees.

(2) The hero must be deceased for at least 1 year before nomination.

D. Process for Selection:

(1) Anyone may nominate possible inductees for the Gallery by sending a request and proposed narrative to the Service Historian. The narrative should be no longer than 500 words and must include:

     (a) A brief biography,

     (b) Summary of significant contributions made to conservation, and

     (c) A photograph that NCTC can use for the plaque.

(2) The Service Historian reviews all requests. If the request is complete and meets the criteria, the Historian sends the nomination to the NCTC Director, who selects the nominee.

(3) The NCTC Director may select no more than three conservation heroes each fiscal year.

(4) After selection, the Service Historian writes the final narrative and works with NCTC staff to produce the final plaque.

Attachments (Exhibits, Amendments, etc)