To unsubscribe from the list, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. > Contact: John Bianchi > jbianchi@xxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:jbianchi@xxxxxxxxxxx> > 212/979-3026 > > AUDUBON MARKS THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF PELICAN ISLAND, > AMERICA> '> S FIRST NATIONAL WILDLIFE RREFUGE > > Audubon Celebrates its Key Role in the Founding of the National Wildlife > Refuge System > > Florida, March 14, 2003 - Today, Audubon marks a key milestone in the history > of American wildlife conservation -- the 100th Anniversary of the National > Wildlife Refuge System. Audubon> '> s involvement in this celebration is > extremely appropriate: one of the organization> '> s founders, Ornithologist > Frank Chapman, urged one of its members, President Theodore Roosevelt, to use > his executive powers to create the first National Wildlife Refuge at Pelican > Island on Florida> '> s East Coast. > > "> The National Wildlife Refuge System is America> '> s only network of > federal lands dedicated first and foremost to wildlife conservation,> "> > said National Audubon Society President John Flicker > "> Since the very > beginning, Audubon has been there to help found, foster, maintain, and > protect this remarkable collection of gemlike wild lands. Through volunteer > refuge keeper programs and monitoring work, we have shared a steadfast > commitment with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protecting our great > natural heritage.> "> > > Roosevelt founded the then-five-acre Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge > on March 14th, 1903. The first employee of the National Wildlife Refuge > System was Paul Kroegel, a local Floridian who was at the time also working > as a Warden for the Audubon Society. His salary from the Federal Government > was one dollar per year - paid in addition to his Audubon wages. Roosevelt > would go on to create 51 more bird reservations and four big game preserves > during the remainder of his presidency - all of which formed the core of the > Refuge System. > > This anniversary comes at a time when funding for Wildlife Refuges is low, > and many individual refuges face conservation challenges. > "> We're going > to fight in Washington for real investment in our nation> '> s wildlife > refuges,> "> said Audubon Senior Vice President for Public Policy Bob > Perciasepe. > "> We are calling on the Congress to invest $100 million to > address the System's most urgent needs.> "> > > The U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System provides irreplaceable habitat for > birds and other wildlife. Its refuges provide migration stopovers for more > then 700 species of birds, serve as the home for more than 2,000 species of > plants and animals, and protect virtually every major type of habitat in > North America. America> '> s refuges provide a critically important string > of wetlands for migrating waterfowl and other birds, and provide open > trackways for migrating Caribou and other mammals. In addition, National > Wildlife Refuges are essential for the continued survival of America> '> s > endangered species: More than fifty refuges were founded specifically to > protect endangered species, and more than 200 endangered species can be found > on National Wildlife Refuges. > > Many Audubon state offices and chapters will be celebrating this important > milestone in National Wildlife Refuges throughout the United States in the > coming weeks and months, and helping to raise awareness for the truly vital > role our refuges serve. > > Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat > that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers > and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of > areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all > ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. > > > # # # > > You are subscribed to Audubon-News. To unsubscribe, send email to audubon-news-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field. To adjust other settings (vacation, digest, etc.) please visit, http://www.freelists.org/list/audubon-news.