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Senate Resolution Designates October 10-16 National Wildlife Refuge Week

Senate Resolution Designates October 10-16 National Wildlife Refuge Week

On September 24, the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding, bipartisan resolution designating October 10-16, 2010, as National Wildlife Refuge Week. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware, demonstrates the value of the National Wildlife Refuge System to the American people, showcases the remarkable lands and waters of the Refuge System, and emphasizes their value to local communities and the vital support provided by refuge Friends groups and volunteers.

The Refuge System has celebrated National Wildlife Refuge Week during the second week of October since 1996. This year’s National Wildlife Refuge Week is focusing on wilderness lands — the most pristine and undeveloped category of natural lands — particularly those in the 19.3-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary
this year.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats. The nation’s 552 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts also offer a wide range of wildlife-dependent recreation — from fishing, boating, hunting and hiking to wildlife observation and photography, nature interpretation and environmental education. The Refuge System includes more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and one within an hour’s drive of most major cities.

The Senate resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Robert P. Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, Patty Murray of Washington, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Roland W. Burris of Illinois, Mark Udall of Colorado, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Dianne Feinstein of California, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Carl Levin of Michigan, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

The resolution “recognizes the importance of national wildlife refuges to wildlife conservation and the protection of imperiled species and ecosystems” and “reaffirms the support of the Senate for wildlife conservation and the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

The resolution also “applauds the work of refuge Friends groups, national and community organizations, and public partners that promote awareness, compatible use, protection, and restoration of national wildlife refuges.”

There are more than 220 refuge Friends groups across the country. Some support a single refuge while others are connected to a refuge complex or an entire state. The resolution commends the more than 39,000 volunteers and the Friends organizations who contribute nearly 1.4 million hours annually — the equivalent of 665 full-time employees — to the betterment of national wildlife refuges. Many Friends groups are sponsoring 2010 Refuge Week events. For more information on refuge Friends groups, go to http://www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/.

For more information on National Wildlife Refuge Week events:
http://www.fws.gov/refuges/SpecialEvents/FWS_SpecialEvents_Search.cfm.

For more information on the Arctic Refuge, including a timeline of refuge
history, visit http://arctic.fws.gov/50th.htm.
To learn more about Arctic Refuge 50th anniversary events, see
http://www.fws.gov/refuges/mediatipsheet/Stories/201009_50YearCelebrationsArcticAndIzembekRefuges.html.

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