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:
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:
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.