History Committee

The work of the History Committee is to ensure that the history, memories, and former personnel of the Service are not discarded or forgotten. 

2020 Annual Report: Protecting History - For the Future

The History Committee presents the 2020 USFWS Heritage Committee Annual Report with highlights of the Committee and subcommittees' accomplishments.

2019 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report

History (Heritage) Committee (November 2019)

History (Heritage) Committee members (left to right, front to back): Sandy Tucker, Maria Parisi, Cindy Uptegraft Barry, Eugene Marino, Linda Friar, Peggy Hobbs, Deborah Holle, Nate Hawley, Libby Herland, Paul Tritaik, Dick Coon, John Cornely, Jerry Grover, Matt Perry, Tom Worthington. Not pictured: Charlie Wooley (Chair), Vicki Finn, Amber Zimmerman, Greg Dehmer, Debbie Steen, Debbie Corbett, Mendel Stewart, Mark Madison, Mamie Parker, Steve Chase, Carlos Martinez, Elisa Dahlberg, John Schmerfeld, Bennie Williams, April Gregory, and Steve Floray.  

Photo Credit: Unknown

History Committee Projects

History Award Winners

  • Jerry Grover (2021)
  • Al Gardner (2020)
  • Dr. Matthew C. Perry (2019)
  • Steve Chase (2018)
  • Randi Smith (2017)
  • Dougals Brinkley (2016)
  • Jeanne Harold (2015)
  • Dave Hall (2014)
  • Lynn Greenwalt (2013)
  • Jim Kurth (2012)
  • Lou Hinds (2011)
  • Steve Brimm and Arden Trandahl (2010)
  • John Juriga (2009)
  • Rick Lemon (2008)
  • Jerry and Pat French, Jerry and Judy Grover, Denny and Kathy Holland (2007)
  • Kent Olson (2006)
  • Norm Olson (2005)
  • DC Booth Society (2004)
  • Dale Hall (2003)
  • Kip Koss (2002)

USFWS History Committee Charter

Purpose: The Fish and Wildlife Service¡¦s Heritage Committee is established to foster:

  1. Understanding and appreciation of the Service¡¦s unique history and values in natural resource conservation; as a source of pride and motivation for our employees; and as a context for future FWS policy and action.
  2. Involvement and engagement of present and retired employees in the heritage of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  3. Preservation and interpretation of important historical treasures, documents, objects, and information to educate Service employees and the public.
  4. Connections between other historical organizations and groups with an interest in American Conservation History outreach.
  5. Promote the preservation and continuation of the Service culture.

Background: The Service is one of the world¡¦s oldest conservation agencies with its history being traced to approximately 1871. Despite that prominence and long history, until recently there has been no systematic and sustained effort to document, collect, and preserve important aspects of the Service¡¦s rich history. Many objects related to the Service¡¦s storied past have been lost or continue to deteriorate. Also, there has been no active program underway to document retirees¡¦ institutional knowledge. While a number of offices throughout the country have sought to preserve portions of the Service¡¦s heritage, these efforts have focused primarily on local geographic or limited subject areas rather than the broad reach of Service programs and activities. The establishment of the DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery, and the National Conservation Training Center provided the Service with the means to begin the process of developing national collections of materials important to the heritage of the Service. Preserving our heritage helps to enhance the Service¡¦s identity and distinct conservation culturewhile providing opportunities to learn from our past. With the support of the Service's Directorate, the Heritage Committee was formally established in 1998 to address these issues and support ongoing Service programs.

Goals: The goals of the Heritage Committee are to:

  • Actively promote and provide advice and guidance to the Directorate concerning the significance of Service historical events, objects, documents, and its people related to the Service¡¦s heritage and natural resource conservation values.
  • Work with Service offices, friends groups, other relevant organizations, and active or retired personnel to promote interest in the preservation and use of the Service¡¦s heritage.
  • Support the Service's retiree network, including the various organizations of Service retirees.
  • Assist the NCTC in developing heritage training curricula and materials for use in Service courses.
  • Assist Service offices in interpreting and developing outreach products that incorporate themes involving the agency¡¦s rich history in managing and conserving America's natural resources.
  • Work to ensure adequate storage and display space and provide technical expertise to preserve materials and information on the Service¡¦s rich past.
  • Respond to written requests and provide information covering the Service's history and artifacts.
  • Promote the care of the many Service museum collections, and assist in their display.
  • Coordinate the identification, collection, and preservation of significant materials and information on the Service¡¦s past, including an active oral history program and a strategy to identify issues and events that should be documented and preserved for the future.
  • Provide planning, displays, and assistance for significant FWS anniversaries/milestones. * Support biannual historical symposia to expand our knowledge of FWS History.
  • Conduct outreach via distance learning, social media, and other materials to promote the history of the Service.

Objectives: The committee will work to:

  1. Develop and implement programs to document and preserve important historical materials of the Fish and Wildlife Service (and its predecessors) and information associated with past, present, and future of fish and willdife conservation;
  2. Develop educational programs and inreach efforts that cultivate an appreciation for the Service¡¦s unique conservation culture and promotes it continuation.
  3. Encourage the study and use of heritage resources to enhance understanding and appreciation of the Service's leading role in American fish and wildlife conservation;
  4. Understand historical socio-economic impacts on conservation policy as a context for future policy development; and,
  5. Educate its employees and the public about its historical role in leading the conservation of the Nation¡¦s Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Membership: Participation in Heritage activities is characterized by three levels - Core, Extended, and Administrative.

The Core Committee is composed of eleven members appointed by the Director, including a chairperson who is either a Deputy Regional Director or Deputy Assistant Director. The chairperson and members are appointed for three-year terms unless a vacancy occurs as a result of resignation, career transfer, or retirement. These terms may be extended with approval from the Chairperson and approval by appropriate regional director or assistant director for committee members.

The eleven members will include eight representatives from each of the Service's regions, appointed by the appropriate regional director. The Service Historian will serve as the Region 9/Headquarters representative. There will be a separate, at-large position for a representative from the National Retiree Association plus the chairperson. Only the Core Committee members may vote.

The extended ex-officio members will be the FWS Historic Preservation Officer, the Manager of the DC Booth National Historic Fish Hatchery, and the Director of the National Conservation Training Center. The Committee Chair may request assistance from others with technical or outreach mission needs.

Administrative, support, and advisory members include others as designated by the chair. Former Chairpersons will be considered "Chairperson Emeritus", and will serve the current chairperson as appropriate.

The Committee chairperson may request the assistance of other personnel as necessary to address technical issues dealing with preserving documents and objects, developing audio-visual products, etc.

Meetings: The Heritage Committee will meet at least once a year, provided specific issues have been identified to justify convening a meeting. They will also conduct monthly phone calls to update progress on various historical projects. The Committee will work closely with the National Retiree Association and assist in the activities of the annual retiree reunion. The Heritage Committee will also assist in keeping the "people connections" between retirees and current employees.

Strategic Plans: The Heritage Committee will develop a new strategic plan every 5 years.

Administrative and Program Support: Administrative and program support for the Committee is provided by the NCTC, as approved by the NCTC Director. Such support includes funding the Core Committee¡¦s travel expenses; reimbursement of volunteers¡¦ expenses associated with Committee activities based on prior approval; making arrangements for meetings, developing agendas, recording and distributing minutes of meetings; providing technical preservation assistance; preparing position papers and recommendations for consideration by the Director; and other routine administrative support.

History Committee Members

Chairman: Charlie Wooley

R-1: Vicki Finn
R-2: Amber Zimmerman
R-3: Greg Dehmer
R-4: Paul Tritaik
R-5: Peggy Hobbs
R-6: Mark Maskill
R-7: Debbie Steen
R-8: Vacant
R-9: Mark Madison
Retiree Rep: Jerry Grover

Ex-Officio: Steve Chase, Carlos Martinez, Eugene Marino, Elisa Dahlberg, Richard Coon
Emeritus: Jim Kurth, Dale Hall, John Blankenship, Rick Bennett
Support: April Gregory, Maria Parisi, Linda Friar (alternate John Schmerfeld), Bennie Williams
Research: Matt Perry (Retired)

Regional Retiree Representatives:
R-1: Cindy Uptegraft Barry
R-2: Deborah Holle
R-3: Peggy Nelson
R-4: Sandy Tucker
R-5: Libby Herland
R-6: John Cornely
R-7: Debbie Corbett
R-8: Jim McKevitt
R-9: Mamie Parker

History Resources

The Artifacts Subcommittee created a flyer and two posters to promote awareness about saving items of historical significance among Service staff and retirees.

Copies are available via history@fws.gov or by calling USFWS' Historian at 304.876.7276.

Curating Artifacts at Field Stations

Think before you toss!

To Save or Not to Save