Welcome to Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation
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Welcome to Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation

January 4, 2020

[triumphant music] Hi, I’m Greg Siekaniec, Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System, and welcome to our website. I’m Evan Hirsche, I’m President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and I’m honored to be here with Greg in welcoming you to our new website. [Greg] The National Wildlife Refuges are actually a system of lands scattered across the landscape that provide homes for absolutely hundreds of species. We now go from marine environments of the oceans to the mountaintops of many states. In fact, there’s one in every state and territory of the United States. [Evan] Can you tell me what you hope to achieve through this process and conference? [Greg] I think it’s important that through our Visioning process we actually achieve how our Refuge System is going to be situated in the landscape of change. When you take a look at what your vision really should be, you sort of take a look at what today presents you. Habitat fragmentation — the landscape has changed in a tremendous way. I think that we have an opportunity in front of us now to really describe, in a Vision process, how we’re going to address many of these changes that are in front of us. [Evan] We’re really talking about not only engaging those constituencies that have been so important to the evolution of the Refuge System–the hunters, the anglers, the bird watchers, the outdoor photographers–but we’re also talking about engaging new constituencies through this process. Is that your view? [Greg] Absolutely. Looking at our past and our constituents that have brought us to where we are is extremely important. They provide us our base. But I can’t imagine that with the shift in demographics to a more urban environment that we don’t have a lot of people that we can reach out to. [Evan] On this website you’ll find Groups and Forums and we encourage you to participate in the discussion about the future of our National Wildlife Refuges so that we can collect as diverse a perspective on opportunities moving forward to inform a new vision for our National Wildlife Refuges. [Evan] For visitors to this website, what are some of the considerations that they need to keep in mind in providing comments and input to advance the process? [Greg] People need to tell us how they want us to look, what our future should be. [Evan] Now is the time to act and we need a broad spectrum of input and public commentary to help guide our actions. [Evan] Hey look at this! The migration is in full-swing! [Greg] That is just too amazing! [Evan] If that’s not endorsement, I don’t knw what is. [triumphant closing music]

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