Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fish & Wildlife Service Promotes Connecting People With Nature

Selected FWS employees from across the nation were nominated to represent their regions at the December 3-7, 2007 "Connecting People with Nature: Making it Happen in Your Community" training workshop at the National Conservation Training Center. The week was both motivational and informative. The goal of the workshop was to "motivate and prepare participants to serve as ambassadors at their field stations and in their local communities to work with children and families to develop strong, enduring conservation values by connecting people with the natural world."

To that end, regional representatives heard from a host of fabulous presenters, including Director, H. Dale Hall, NCTC director, Rick Lemon, recently retired Mamie Parker, professor and demographics expert, Emilyn Sheffield, and wildlife photographer, Dudley Edmondson, among others.

The over-arching theme was to connect people with nature, which director Dale Hall has identified as one the Service’s six highest priorities. He told participants in his address that if we don’t do this, nothing else we do matters. The message was consistent, clear and succinct: Build a citizen base with a conservation ethic or risk extinction. In other words, if there was an endangered species list for government agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be on it.

Speakers encouraged participants to develop strategies to help Americans, specifically those in key demographic groups to establish a personal connection with nature. Professor Sheffield painted a lucid picture, keying in on the changing demographics in the United States. She encouraged the Service to make connections with people of color by highlighting our refuges and other natural resources as vacation destinations and recreation venues. The workshop culminated with a poignant play about Rachel Carson.

from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3, December 2007 Newsletter (a pdf)- see FAIR USE notice.
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