The Friends Group at the Necedah NWR is looking to contact all retirees that worked at the Necedah NWR during their career. Any former employees who are interested in telling stories, the way it really was, or writing about your time at Necedah should call or e-mail Doug Staller (doug_staller@fws.gov), the Refuge Manager. They are looking to build upon their history to compliment other information already on hand.  The hope is to compile stories and historic information for National Wildlife Refuge week in October 2016.

The Heritage Committee
--  and birth of the Retirees Association

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one of the world’s oldest conservation agencies with its history being traced to approximately 1871.  Despite that prominence and long history, there was no systematic and sustained effort to document, collect and preserve important aspect of the Service’s rich history.  In 1996 the Service embarked on a bold initiative to preserve its past and protect its future.  The completion of the National Conservation Training Center and its world’s class museum and archives, provided the Service with the means to begin the process of developing national collections of materials important to the heritage of the Service.  To guide the process, the Service formally established the Heritage Committee in 1998.   This core group was chartered to identify, propose, and implement projects and programs designed to ensure that the rich history of the Service is preserved, protected, and shared with others.  The Committee is chaired by a Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) or Deputy Regional Director (DRD) and with support from staff at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC).  The 11-member committee consists of a current employee or FWS retiree representatives from each Region to serve at the pleasure of the Regional Director for a  3-year term. 
The focus of the Committee is to help guide an orderly process to foster:

  • Understanding and appreciation of the Service’s unique history and values in natural resource conservation; as a source of pride and motivation for Service employees; and as a context for future FWS policy and action.
  • Involvement and engagement of present and past employees in the heritage of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Preservation and use of important historical treasures, documents, objects and information to educate Service employees and the public.
  • Preservation of the “people connections” of past and present employees.

It became instantly clear that the recognition and involvement of its past career employees would be a critical part of this process.  With this clear mandate, the Association of Retired Fish and Wildlife Service Employees, a.k.a. Retirees Association, was formed.  In 1999 the Association was chartered and IRS guidelines met as a 501[C]3 non-profit organization.  Current membership is over 2700 (1600 with e-mail addresses) maintained by the Association in a secure database. 

Other Heritage Committee actions established the:

  • Museum Collection.    The National Conservation Training Centerand D. C.  Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery http://www.fws.gov/dcbooth/  encourages contributions to further the extensive archival collection of historical artifacts, documents and photos now preserved in the Service’s state-of-the-art museum and storage space.  This material serves as a basis for creating displays showcasing the history of conservation in America, all made possible by the oversight of an on-staff Historian and Museum Curator.           http://training.fws.gov/history/resources.html
  • Oral History Project.  In 1999, the Committee began documenting the living history of the life and times of retired peers and former colleagues to assure that their history, institutional knowledge, and memories are not discarded or forgotten by the making of digital recordings.  Over 700 have been collected and transcribed so far and are available in a searchable database.  http://training.fws.gov/history/OralHistories.html

All Retirees are invited to assist the Heritage Committee by donating important equipment or photos to the archives and by helping to collect oral histories of former colleagues.  Let a Board member know your interests or check the appropriate box when you renew your membership.