The Fish and Wildlife Service has jettisoned far too much of its past, and is only now beginning to conserve a most valuable heritage resource -- the legacy of skilled employees who bequeathed us the world's premier conservation agency.
To assist the Service in that effort, Association members help to identify and preserve historical information and artifacts that are important for an understanding of the Service’s long history and heritage, as well as an appreciation of the contributions of past Service members. In addition, through the Oral History Project, retirees interview many past Service employees while they are still with us to collect their stories and to see the evolution of the organization through their eyes as they lived it. Housed primarily at the National Conservation and Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, these treasures of our past, both artifacts and transcribed histories, are available to newer generations of Service employees and to conservationists from around the world. Through these direct contributions, our retirees assure that the contributions of the Service’s most valuable resource -- its people -- are neither discarded nor forgotten and are a source of pride and motivation for future policies and actions.
The Association also supports, both financially and through the participation of its members, many major Service events, such as the Fishery Resources program’s 130th anniversary celebration and the National Wildlife Refuge System's 2003 centennial observance. We provided transportation and host services at the funeral of former Director Sam Hamilton and at the subsequent renaming ceremony of the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee NWR. In addition, the Association often supports valuable training or outreach efforts that lead to greater understanding of the natural world and the Service's mission.
One of our latest ventures is the recently initiated Mentoring and Career Awareness Program designed to attract youth to careers in the natural resources field and to assist FWS offices in the training and mentoring young recruits.
All of these efforts serve to strengthen the past–present relationships leading to subtle and credible support of both the Service and the Association.
Gail Carmody, 2011, Anza-Borrego State Park (photo by Mamie Parker)