Our Director, Martha Williams, took advantage of a fantastic opportunity July 19, 2022, at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, America’s first urban.
She participated in a refuge tour and spoke with members of partner Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., who visited the Philadelphia refuge as the sorority’s Grand Boule’ kicked off.
“While you are celebrating Zeta Phi Beta’s 102nd year during your Boule’, Heinz Refuge celebrated the 50th anniversary of its establishment just a couple of weeks ago on June 30,” Director Williams noted.
It was her privilege to mark both anniversaries, as well as the seventh year of the partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Zeta Phi Beta.
We in the Service know that to succeed in conservation, we must make certain ALL Americans are invested in conservation.
That means everyone needs, as Director Williams said, “to have access and feel comfortable enjoying public lands.”
It also means “hiring and retaining a highly qualified, diverse, and inclusive workforce that reflects the American public we serve.” And that is something we are committed to.
To do this, Director Williams said she has “been working to advance the Administration’s efforts to engage organizations and communities as diverse as the American public in the wildlife conservation.”
As the partnership with Zeta Phi Beta shows, this work pays off.
Thousands of Zeta Phi Beta members and youth associated with the sorority have visited refuges thanks to Zeta Days at the Refuge and PearlZ in the Wild. The sorority counted over 3,000 refuge visitors in 2019 alone.
Director Williams said, “We are looking at how we can collaborate with local communities and partners that have different experiences and perspectives on wildlife and the outdoors, and who have not traditionally had a voice in the conservation community.”
We are truly lucky because the partnership with Zeta Phi Beta gives us a model that works.
Best wishes for a wonderful Boule’, Zetas, thank you, and to again borrow from Director Williams, we are “excited to continue our partnership and our joint efforts to engage Zetas across the country in our conservation mission.”
And for those not taking part in the Grand Boule’, why not follow the Zetas’ lead and visit some of your public lands today? We manage more than 100 national wildlife refuges within 25 miles of urban areas and more than 560 national wildlife refuges across America. Nature's always nearby. Visit your nearest national wildlife refuge or national fish hatchery.
This story is part of our Open Spaces blog.