National Wildlife Refuge System

America's Great Outdoors

Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Credit: USFWS

President Obama has launched a national dialogue about conservation in America. Americans are encouraged to share their ideas about community–level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces in person and online.

At the conclusion of the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors in April — the first White House conference on the environment in more than 100 years — President Obama signed a memorandum launching America's Great Outdoors Initiative. As a follow up to the conference, members of the administration, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are hosting regional sessions with groups and individuals across the country to discuss ideas that will form a 21st century conservation agenda. Listening sessions have already been held or scheduled in Los Angeles,CA; Grand Island, NE; Asheville, NC; Denver, CO, Albuquerque, NM; Annapolis, MD; Charleston, SC; and Seattle, WA.

The online "idea jam" seeks comments on three topics:

  • Reconnect with the Great Outdoors — What are your ideas for helping Americans get outdoors and reconnect with the nation's land, water, wildlife, culture and history?

  • Private Lands Conservation — How can the United States better support the voluntary efforts of farmers, ranchers and private landowners to conserve their land, water and wildlife?

  • Public Lands Conservation — Which open spaces, watersheds, historic or cultural sites, wildlife habitat or other public lands are most important to you, and what can be done at the local, state or federal level to improve their management?

Comments so far relate to such topics as nature–based after–school programs, tallgrass prairie conservation, tax incentives for conservation easements, and fruit trees in urban areas. Web visitors are encouraged to vote for ideas they like and share stories about their favorite outdoor experiences.

Last updated: July 9, 2010