You got to be careful if you dont know where youre going, because you might not get there, said New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra.
The Refuge System knows just where its going, thanks to the Conserving the Future vision. Now, the nine implementation teams have written work plans on how to implement most of the vision in five years.
The work plans are online at http://AmericasWildlife.org, as are team member blogs, social networking opportunities and the 24 Conserving the Future recommendations. There is a work plan for every recommendation.
The work plans were completed just as Anna Harris, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service economist since 2009, took the implementation helm. In her previous job, Harris interpreted national survey data about fishing, hunting and wildlifeassociated recreation. She brings to the implementation coordinator position a history of working closely with a host of partners, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the State Organization for Boating Access. She holds an undergraduate degree in agribusiness management and rural development from West Virginia University and a masters degree in agricultural and applied economics from Virginia Tech.
Among the work plans highlights are:
- A proposed 2013 meeting of managers of urban wildlife refuges to give Service staff a chance to learn about best practices in managing such places. Key partners and Friends would be invited.
- Proposed geospatial analysis and mapping of the Refuge System to see where wildlife refuges are located in relation to the nations population centers and where population growth is expected in the next 20 years.
- A strategic communications plan, designed with the help of a marketing firm, to increase Americans understanding of the Refuge System as essential to the nations quality of life and health.
- Development of standards of excellence for urban refuges, and establishment of a datadriven, transparent process to identify 10 urban areas where the Refuge System should have a presence.
The Community Partnerships implementation team surveyed refuge managers about best practices they use in working with volunteers, Friends and partners. The team recommends developing a handbook, or howto guide, about those practices.
That team also recommends a revamped Web site to recruit volunteers; a social media platform where volunteers can connect with refuges and Friends; and expanded mentoring and training to develop and nurture vibrant Friends groups and community partnerships for each staffed refuge.
In todays world of multimedia, aroundtheclock communications with people checking their Facebook as they text on their smartphones and search for new apps on their tabletsstrategic conservation communications must go the extra step into marketing, the Communications implementation team said.
Striving to go beyond the way government usually works is evident in all of the work plans.
If you have questions or comments about Conserving the Future, you can send them to ConservingtheFuture@fws.gov.