FWS Acting Director Gould, Administration Officials Host America’s Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Orlando



08/26/2010

 Contact: Hugh Vickery, DOI (202) 208-6416

ORLANDO, Fl. — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould today joined senior administration officials at a public listening session today as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation agenda for the 21st century.

The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, offers citizens the opportunities to share what they are doing in their communities to better conserve our nation’s land, water and wildlife and open up more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Will Shafroth and USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate Robert Bonnie also attended the listening session.

“With his America’s Great Outdoors initiative, President Obama is creating a new conservation legacy for our country as we deal with growing pressures our land and wildlife face ranging from habitat fragmentation to climate change to loss of biodiversity,” Gould said. “We already have a strong foundation for the initiative in the work that the citizens of Florida and communities across the country are doing to conserve our natural resources and to connect Americans to the great outdoors.”

“Public and private land conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of Florida,” said Robert Bonnie, USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Environment and Climate. “We need to hear and learn in greater detail about the successful work happening in the region. Successful regional and local conservation efforts such as the ones charted here today are key as we craft a 21st century conservation agenda.”

President Obama inaugurated the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.

In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.

From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors. 

For more information on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, please visit: http://www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors.

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