Wild Angles – News from the National Wildlife Refuge System

Wild Angles – News from the National Wildlife Refuge System

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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- Two famous refuges in Alaska are planning milestone celebrations during 2010, when both the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Izembek National Wildlife Refuge reach the mid-century mark.

The remote Arctic Refuge, the northernmost in the National Wildlife Refuge System, encompasses a vast 19.3 million acres famed for its polar bears, grizzlies and caribou herds. Plans for its anniversary are being made on a commensurate scale. They include releasing a feature-length documentary film, staging a play about Arctic explorers Olaus and Mardy Murie and mounting a photo exhibit by noted landscape photographer Jeff Jones. A companion book, Arctic Sanctuary, featuring photos by Jones and poetry and essays by Fairbanks writer Carolyn Kremers, is slated for publication next fall by the University of Alaska Press.

Izembek, the smallest of Alaska’s refuges at about 400,000 acres (300,000 of them designated as wilderness), plans a series of events culminating in a celebration on December 6, 2010, the anniversary of its founding. Visitors, including hunters and anglers, can reach the refuge only by state ferry (which now runs once a month May through October) or by air, weather permitting. The refuge, near the tip of the Alaska peninsula encompasses Izembek Lagoon, a world-renowned wetland and a pivotal stopover for hundreds of thousands of migratory waterbirds. The Izembek Refuge protects a range of species, including salmon, caribou, sea otter and brown bears.

The Eisenhower administration established the Arctic National Wildlife Range in December 1960. In 1980, the range was expanded and renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Izembek was also first established in 1960 as a national wildlife range and renamed a refuge in 1980.

Next year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, a sweeping land conservation measure that protected more than 100 million acres of federal lands in Alaska and doubled the size of the Arctic Refuge.

For more information, contact: Jimmy Fox, Refuge Manager, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 907-456-0250 or http://arctic.fws.gov/.

Nancy Hoffman, Refuge Manager, Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, 907-532-2445 or http://izembek.fws.gov/.

Natural Resource Managers for Future

Growing up in urban Atlanta, Gabriel Harper, 23, had an interest in wildlife but little opportunity to indulge it. Until, that is, the Morehouse College senior was recruited last summer as a paid student intern in a diversity internship program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Now he’s seeking a career with the Service, with the strong backing of his refuge manager.

If he and his cohorts succeed, that will also mark a success for the Conservation Intern Program (CIP), conceived to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the natural resources ranks.

National recruiting for summer 2010 CIP internships throughout the Northeast Region is expected to begin again in December. Just as last year, there will be 30 slots to fill.

Harper, who graduated in May with a degree in psychology, calls his 12-week internship “a great experience in opening my eyes to different methods of conservation and wildlife management.”

CIP, now entering its third year, is a joint program of the Service’s Northeast Regional Office and the Student Conservation Association ( http://www.thesca.org), a nonprofit organization that matches high school and college students with conservation service opportunities. This partnership is targeted toward freshman and sophomore students. Students selected for refuge internships on the basis of teacher and mentor recommendations receive a one-week orientation. For the next 11 weeks they get a taste of activities from biological monitoring and habitat restoration to refuge maintenance and recreational public-use programs. They live in refuge housing and are mentored by refuge staff.

“We look at this as a feeder group for future leaders of the Service,” says Joe McCauley, manager of the Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has permitted more openings in other refuge internship programs. These include Youth Conservation Corps positions, for students age 15-18, and the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program, both for students age 16 and up. Postings for some of these positions can be found at http://www.usajobs.opm.gov or http://www.studentjobs.gov.

For more information, contact: Rita Corliss, Assistant Director, Conservation Internships, Student Conservation Association, [email protected], or 603-543-1700 ext. 398.

Lamar B. Gore, Assistant Refuge Supervisor, Northeast Regional Office, USFWS, [email protected] or 413-253-8542.

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 www.fws.gov.