Transcipt and Details: http://gallery.usgs.gov/audio/public_lectures/2011/apr/Patuxent.html
By 1936, devastating losses of wildlife populations — the result of market hunting, habitat degradation, and drought — were threatening the Nation’s natural resource heritage.
In response, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched a new era of wildlife conservation by creating the Patuxent Research Refuge.
Over the next 75 years, this research and conservation center would
Patuxent has developed the models of the Nation’s migratory waterfowl harvest, established the effects of DDT on birds, created the science to breed and restore Whooping Cranes and other endangered species, produced fundamental methods to estimate wildlife populations, and directed the advancement of management practices used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System and other land resource managers.
In 1936, despite facing the Great Depression and 21 percent unemployment in America, President Roosevelt and conservation leaders Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling and Ira Gabrielson had the courage, foresight, and commitment to create the Nation’s first wildlife research center.
Originally created within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the research program at Patuxent is now a part of the Department of the Interior as the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The Patuxent Research Refuge, also within the DOI, is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Patuxent conservation science campus is co-located on more than 12,750 acres of wildlife habitat in the Baltimore–Washington corridor.
The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and the USFWS Patuxent Research Refuge continue to play critical roles in education, outreach, and the development of wildlife conservation science.
Through the decades, Patuxent’s scientists have been responsible for many important advances in natural resource conservation and have had global impact with research and partnerships in 76 countries on all seven continents.
Seventy-five years later, wildlife conservation science is again at a crossroads.
Climate change, water availability, changes in land use, renewable energy development, and urbanization present new challenges to conservation programs. Solutions are complex. They must be interdisciplinary in nature and landscape oriented.
Today the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is helping the Nation to
USGS scientists at Patuxent in Laurel, Maryland, along with their USGS Biological Survey Unit counterparts at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, remain committed to solving the wildlife and environmental challenges of tomorrow.
The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center wants to celebrate its 75th anniversary with you. Please browse our public events.
Join us for the Patuxent Wildlife Festival on October 15, 2011, at Patuxent’s National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel, Maryland. Enjoy live animals, children’s crafts, tram tours, live music, scientific demonstrations, and behind-the-scenes research tours. Visit our Whooping Crane and Sea Duck colonies where scientists raise and study these species.