New Year’s messages from the FWC
Fish Busters' Bulletin
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf
As many of us prepare to hang a calendar for the new year and we
flip the pages to glance in awe at photographs featuring nature's
beauty - from wild habitats to fish and wildlife or outdoor
recreation - it is a good time to reflect on what it takes to make
those glorious images.
Ask any passionate angler, hunter or outdoors person what he or
she loves about nature and getting outdoors, and key points
come up, including a love of connecting with nature, being able to
relax and spending quality time outdoors with friends and
To help them enjoy their experiences, people say they want
protection for habitats and public access, and education to help
make sure the next generation cares about and understands the
importance of fish and wildlife conservation and appreciates the
joy and benefits conservation provides.
Each state has an agency dedicated to fish and wildlife
conservation and providing fishing and hunting opportunities to the
88 million Americans over the age of 16 who fish, hunt or enjoy
other wildlife-related recreation (2006 National Survey). In
Florida, that is the responsibility of the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Throughout 2011, the FWC
made huge inroads to address those concerns through enhanced
education, outreach and communications efforts. In previous Fish
Busters' Bulletins, we've discussed Get Outdoors Florida! (www.GetOutdoorsFlorida.org) and the Florida
Youth Conservation Centers Network (www.FYCCN.org), which have gotten off to
amazing starts but still need your support to reach Floridians
about the benefits of enjoying active, nature-based recreation.
This column is about the FWC's education and outreach. In
October 2010, FWC staff joined educators from 37 state fish and
wildlife agencies for a North American Conservation Education
Strategy Training Academy, which stressed core concepts in
education and outreach (including outdoor skills, hunter education
and aquatic education programs) to provide more valuable and
relevant messages to Americans of all ages.
Training was fully funded by a grant from the Association of
Fish and Wildlife Agencies and included understanding the
association's core conservation concepts, formulating benchmarks,
implementing a K-12 education process, and integrating outdoor
skills-based education into state education standards, among other
The FWC's core concepts for conservation education have been
refined and will be part of a consistent messaging effort in
Florida and nationally. These ideas communicate what every citizen
should know and understand about fish, wildlife and their
conservation and management:
Concept 1: Fish and wildlife belong to us all,
and the FWC manages and protects these resources on our behalf.
Concept 2: Regulations are sometimes necessary
to conserve natural resources for generations to come and to keep
people safe, whether they are harvesting or observing wildlife.
Concept 3: All living things benefit from a
healthy and diverse environment.
Concept 4: Fish and wildlife conservation and
management are solidly rooted in science and balance the needs of
people with consideration for maintaining healthy populations of
fish and wildlife, as well as their habitats.
Concept 5: Fish and wildlife habitat
conservation provides human-health, recreation, aesthetic and
Concept 6: The future of Florida's fish and
wildlife depends on citizens and partners working together with the
Concept 7: Fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing
and boating are appropriate recreational uses of Florida's natural
resources; participation in these activities contributes revenue,
harvest information and increased public support to fish and
Concept 8: Everyone has the opportunity to
participate in fish and wildlife recreation. That opportunity
implies a responsibility to take care of nature's resources, stay
safe and respect the rights and property of others.
Concept 9: The FWC uses a variety of funding
sources to manage Florida's fish and wildlife resources for
everyone. Floridians should know that when they buy licenses and
permits, register their vehicles or buy and sell property they help
support fish and wildlife conservation.
Concept 10: Fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing,
boating and other nature-based activities provide people with
millions of days of outdoor recreation and generate nearly $15
billion for Florida's economy each year (2011-12 Programs of the
Concept 11: Habitat management, protection and
restoration help sustain and conserve ecosystems and benefit
Florida's fish, wildlife and human populations.
Concept 12: Enforcement of conservation and
safety laws requires an educated, coordinated and consistent
It is the FWC's hope that as people attain a greater
understanding and respect for these core concepts of fish and
wildlife conservation, we will all work together with a greater
sense of purpose to provide outstanding recreational opportunities
for generations to come.