National Wildlife Refuge System

2009 Friends Unite Conference

National Wildlife Refuge System 2009 Friends Conference header graphic

More than 500 people gathered in Washington, DC, in February for the largest-ever national Friends conference, including 300 representatives of Friends organizations, just over 150 Refuge System employees, and more than 70 presenters and exhibit staff. Former chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lynn Greenwalt looked over the crowded ballroom, noting that there were "Friends as far as the eye can see." Greenwalt took the Friends back to a simpler time on refuges, when there were "no computers, no Blackberries and if you were lucky, no phone calls . . .you were forester and tractor operator and duck veterinarian." There were no Friends organizations early in Greenwalt's career either, so now he says, "You are remarkable simply because you are here."

The Conference closed with remarks from William Shafroth, Special Assistant to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Shafroth said Salazar has three priorities in identifying ways to spend the unprecedented amount of money in the stimulus package:
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy

  • Preserving treasured landscapes – "These are one-time dollars that we won't see again in our lifetime, so let's do something special with them."

  • Incorporating the next generation

The crowd of Friends applauded loudly when Shafroth noted that in his first month on the job, Secretary Salazar had already visited three national wildlife refuges.

List of Presentations:
Last updated: November 8, 2012