Refuge Association Visits Denver Wildlife Refuges

The Board of Directors of the National Wildlife Refuge Association met in Denver, Colorado, October 11-13. Highlights of the meeting included a Partner’s Day, reception at the Denver Zoo with guest speaker Ken Salazar, former Secretary of the Department of the Interior, a visit to the National Eagle Repository, and tours of Two Ponds and Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) National Wildlife Refuges.

Our Partners’ Day, Thursday, October 11th

The Refuge Association board learned about the amazing work happening at Denver’s urban national wildlife refuges. Featured presentations from Go Wild Northeast Metro Coalition, a group of municipal, non-profit, and state and federal agencies working together to enhance outdoor activities, included the Friends of the Front Range, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), Groundwork Denver, and the City of Aurora’s Youth Programs. Colorado is on the forefront of a movement to lift barriers to nature and to help all children experience the peace that comes from spending time outdoors. The three national wildlife refuges in the Denver metropolitan area are one of the most important ways to help people connect with nature.

Kids Fishing at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge — Photo by USFWS

We also heard from Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR Complex staff, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leadership from Washington, D.C. and the Region 6 office about challenges facing refuges in the west and nationwide. We also learned about the great success of the black-footed ferret recovery program, where RMANWR serves as the primary release location. From being declared extinct in 1979 and a small population discovered in 1981, the species is now numbered at around 80 wild at RMANWR due to a remarkably successful captive breeding program. The FWS is working to create viable populations at other locations in the west.

Our evening culminated with a reception at the Denver Zoo where wildlife enthusiasts learned about the Refuge Association. Guest speaker Ken Salazar spoke about Colorado national wildlife refuges and the vital role refuges play nationwide in protecting America’s wildlife heritage. Many, many thanks to the Denver Zoo and our board member, Association of Zoos and Aquariums President Dan Ashe, for hosting such an amazing event!

Our President Geoff Haskett and Chief Operating Officer Mark Musaus at our event at the Denver Zoo
Geoff with The Honorable Ken Salazar, former Secretary of the Department of the Interior


Bald Eagle — Photo by USFWS

The Refuge Association was thrilled to tour the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Eagle Repository, housed at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR. The Repository, a one of a kind facility, is operated and managed by the Service’s Office of Law Enforcement. Its purpose is to provide a central location for the receipt, storage, and distribution of bald and golden eagles found dead across the United States. The eagles, or their parts, depending on the request, are shipped to Native Americans and Alaskan Natives enrolled in federally recognized tribes for use in Indian religious ceremonies.

Our meeting culminated with a tour of the Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge, a small urban oasis for wildlife and environmental education, and a Refuge Week celebration at the RMANWR where demonstrations from archery and displays of Native American use of bison to confiscated material from illegal wildlife trade were all on display.

The Board of Directors meets annually in person three times a year, once in Washington, D.C. and twice in the field, rotating between Regions of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Our board meetings in the field offer opportunities to meet refuge staff and partners and to experience all the different habitats and people in the Refuge System.

Refuge Association Board Members at Two Ponds NWR

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2018/10/refuge-association-visits-denver-wildlife-refuges/

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