Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Urges Americans to Connect with Nature

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Urges Americans to Connect with Nature and Visit a National Wildlife Refuge

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington, DC –-( Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the launch of an extensive public service radio campaign urging Americans to connect with nature and visit a National Wildlife Refuge.

“Americans can take pride in the tremendous beauty and diversity of refuge lands dedicated to the protection of wildlife habitat,” Salazar said. “By visiting these places and encouraging their children to forge a connection with nature, they can help ensure vital wildlife conservation efforts will continue for generations to come.”

The public service radio campaign consists of eight professionally recorded 60-second spots extolling the sights and sounds of refuges and their efforts to preserve some of these species. Over 3,500 radio stations will receive the first four of these educational messages in November.

“This is another National Wildlife Refuge minute,” begins each segment, before moving to one of these four locales:

  • “Every winter, thousands of sandhill cranes fly to Merced National Wildlife Refuge in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Thousands of acres of wetlands provide these cranes with a natural source for food and shelter. Maintaining these wetlands is crucial for their survival.”
  • “Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is home to a myriad of species, but there’s one in particular for which it’s known: the West Indian manatee. Manatees inhabit these sheltered waters year-round, and Crystal River Refuge was created specifically for their protection.”
  • “Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is one of the biggest and most remote stretches of wildlife in the country, but that doesn’t stop the Fish and Wildlife Service’s research vessel Tiglax from exploring the refuge’s cold waters to count and monitor sea otters.”
  • “In Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in northern New Jersey that hammering sound could be only one thing: the pileated woodpecker in search of a meal. And maintaining healthy forests in the wildlife refuge helps the beat go on.”

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service, represents the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants.

Comprising hundreds of thousands of miles and landscapes ranging from southwest desert to Alaskan tundra and nearly every conceivable ecosystem in between, the Refuge System represents the last best hope for survival for many endangered and threatened species. These include the ocelot, manatee, spotted owl, California jewelflower and polar bear.

There are 550 refuges — one within an hour’s drive of most major cities — offering people a welcoming, safe and accessible place to nourish their spirits and reconnect with the land.

Wildlife refuges are home to more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 200 species of fish. Nearly 40 million people visit National Wildlife Refuges each year, generating almost $1.7 billion in sales for regional economies. In additional to wildlife observation, many refuges provide rich opportunities for hiking, canoeing, hunting and fishing.

To learn more about the National Wildlife Refuge System, visit You can learn more about the endangered species that many refuges protect at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit