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There is no question, the refuge system has been successful, as measured by the number of creatures finding safe haven in these protected places. But as Lynn Greenwalt, former Director of the U.S FWS says, “Refuges are not the answer, because there are just not enough of them to guarantee the presence of wildlife forever.” Their real contribution is providing working examples of how to achieve conservation goals.

Then what is the solution, the salvation of wildlife? Where the Wild Things Live presents this consensus:

Richard Lattis of the Wildlife Conservation Society states firmly that some of today’s urgent conservation needs must be met by adults, “…but in the long run, things that save the world’s wildlife…are going to come from the children…and the future of all wildlife is dependent on what they think and what they grow up to do.” And so “things for children” are essential for saving wildlife.

Musician Paul Winter believes that children are the hope of wild America, “But only if we take them into nature. It’s not enough to see it on TV. You take a child into nature and…they’re home.”

For poet Mary Oliver, “children are all that matter. And I don’t feel they now have the natural world available to them as they need…” She emphasizes that their connection with nature is essential, but that for too many children today, opportunities to make that connection are lacking.

Where the Wild Things Live shows how the refuge system is already adapting to meet this challenge. The Fish and Wildlife Service encourages teachers to use many refuges as outdoor classrooms, and helps develop educational materials. And at Bosque del Apache, the Friends have a new project – raising $300,000 for an educational wing, attached to the visitors center. School children will come there for a new experience – with the refuge as the classroom.