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Summit Overview | Director's Message | Messages from Refuge Managers

Message from Director Steve Williams

Photo of Steve Williams.
Steve Williams
NWRS Director
The National Wildlife Refuge System will enter this new century with the Conservation in Action Summit. This name reflects the purpose of this gathering, to continue to put the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act and Fulfilling the Promise into action.

The Refuge System is at a turning point where we must reflect on our accomplishments, especially in terms of the recognition and support we gained during our centennial year, and chart a course for the years ahead. At this summit, we will work together with our partners to develop a strong sense of shared priorities as we take on the most important challenges facing the Refuge System in its new century of conservation. We will discuss challenging wildlife and habitat management issues, the future of refuge recreation, the important role of science on refuges, and the strategic growth of the Refuge System. We will reflect on the leadership challenges these complex issues present.

The Summit will be held May 24-27 at the National Conservation Training Center. Of the 250 participants, half will be employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service, to be joined by an equal number of our conservation partners. We have asked each Regional Director to nominate 13 Refuge System employees and two other Service employees. Approximately half the nominations will be refuge managers and half from a diversity of other professions. Likewise, the nominations will include a mixture of seasoned leaders and bright new stars, all having shown strong dedication to the Refuge System.

A final product of the Summit will be an easily-understood plan that describes a shared sense of priorities for the Refuge System. By focusing on our most important challenges and priorities, we will be better able to work together with our conservation partners, Friends, and Refuge System supporters to deliver improved fish and wildlife conservation and better serve refuge visitors. That is the vision of Fulfilling the Promise. This Summit will help us continue the journey.

Although Summit attendance is limited to 250, the opinions of all Service employees are needed to make this planning effort successful. You have the opportunity to give input via Web chats, white paper reviews, and other routes.

Please take these opportunities to give your opinion about what the future should be for the Refuge System. Our next century of conservation is unfolding before us, and we need your help in putting Conservation in Action.


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