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历史 & 遗产

At a time when millions of Americans stood in soup lines and politicians focused on reviving economically depressed communities, the idea of restoring depleted populations of ducks and other wild animals seemed far-fetched, 至少可以说. But that is exactly what Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist J.N. “Ding” Darling set out to do in 1936 when he arranged a meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss the plight of the nation’s wildlife.

在会议上, Darling urged conservationists from all across the country and different walks of life to unite into a block that could influence lawmakers. 从这个会议, a new organization emerged as a voice for protecting the country’s wild heritage: the 国家野生动物联盟.


FDR与NWF邮票To understand the 国家野生动物联盟’s beginning, it's important to first take a look back at the roots of conservation 在 United States. American wildlife conservation is grounded 在 belief that wildlife belongs to the people—a concept commonly known as the Public Trust Doctrine or the North American Model of 野生动物保护.

的 Public Trust Doctrine was formally established during an 1842 Supreme Court case, Martin v. Wadell. 一个私人地主, Martin claimed to own both the land alongside and underneath New Jersey’s Raritan River, tracing his title to a grant from King Charles to the Duke of York in 1664, 到底是什么意思呢, “所有的土地, 岛屿, 土壤, 河流, 港口, 矿山, 矿物质, 采石场, 森林, 沼泽, 水域, 湖泊, 钓鱼, 霍金斯, 和捕鸟." Martin claimed that an oystermen, Wadell, owed him for the taking of oysters. 在他的统治, 首席大法官罗杰·托尼说, "[w]hen the people of New Jersey took possession of the reins of government, and took into their own hands the powers of sovereignty, the prerogatives and regalities which before belonged to either the crown or the parliament, became immediately and rightly vested 在 state."

Wildlife now belonged to the people, but conservation was not yet part of America’s fabric. In the late 19th century—on the heels of the Industrial Revolution—market killing of the buffalo, 水禽, and other wild game species began decimating America’s wildlife to support the growing work force and urban appetites. 在回应, dedicated 猎人 and 垂钓者 from New York to Montana pushed for the nation’s first game laws, restricting the numbers and methods of take for wildlife. With laws established to sustain healthy wildlife populations, conservation-minded leaders emerged to challenge the 值 by which Americans perceived wildlife.

After the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, the great hunter and outdoorsman 的odore Roosevelt moved into to the White House and the bully pulpit. Roosevelt’s conservation ethic was formed through the eyes of the hunter during trips west to South Dakota and Montana. Before he ended his term as president in 1909, he endowed the United States with 230 million acres of protected landscapes for the conservation of wildlife—approximately 84,他在办公室的每一天都有000英亩的土地. With Americans and legislators beginning to embrace the concepts of conservation as a core, 基本价值, 第一个国家野生动物保护区, 国家森林, 国家纪念碑, 并且建立了狩猎保护区.

的odore Roosevelt inspired a nation to conservation during his presidency at the turn of the century, but it didn't take long for his ideals to slip. 到1930年代, ill-advised farming practices encouraged by the federal government led to the Dust Bowl. 的 lid had come off of the prairie and Iowa cartoonist Ding Darling began the vision for what would become the 国家野生动物联盟.


In the early 1900s, there was no nationwide constituency to support conservation. Many people cared about wildlife conservation, but nobody was organized in any fashion to advocate for or influence policy decisions. In the words of Darling, "Wildlife doesn't vote and neither do conservationists."

Darling proclaimed, "It is hard to start a fire with one stick of wood!" He valued the importance of multiple stakeholder participation and accepting the attitudes, 值, 以及许多群体的信仰. Darling dreamed of a federation promoting conservation interests, 鼓励社会多样性, 并要求国会采取行动. His dream became reality in 1936 when he convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to convene more than 2,000年conservationists-including农民, 猎人, 垂钓者, 花园俱乐部成员, and other outdoor enthusiasts—from across the country to the first North American Wildlife Conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. 的re the General Wildlife Federation (changed two years later to the 国家野生动物联盟) was formed with the idea of uniting sportsmen and all outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts behind the common goal of conservation, and Ding Darling became the first president of the organization. Darling’s vision to unite the voices of conservationists continued as 国家野生动物联盟 was responsible for passing many 法律和政策 在国家层面.

This first conference was such a success that energized and motivated participants returned home to organize federations in each of their states. 这些 子公司 became the backbone of 国家野生动物联盟 and today work closely alongside us, providing governance for the organization and the vision and grassroots needed to achieve our joint conservation goals.

现在最准足球推荐最具代表性的传统之一, each year 子公司 and staff from all corners of the country come together for the 国家野生动物联盟's Annual Meeting. This gathering is a time of collaboration and unity, during which 子公司 and staff collectively decide on the policy resolutions that will guide our ongoing conservation work. To view an archive of these approved policy resolutions, visit the 国家野生动物联盟's 联盟伙伴关系中心.


海龟邮票Ding Darling saw the impacts from the Dust Bowl firsthand as an avid 水禽 hunter, and he began letting people know about it. His cartoons and conservation ethic caught the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed him the head of the U.S. Biological Survey in 1934 (the forerunner to the U.S. 鱼 & 野生动物服务). Aldo Leopold had just published his classic text, 游戏管理, and Darling was instrumental in making the service a professional agency implementing the practice of scientific management of fish and wildlife.

Darling was asked to lead the development and creation of the artwork for the agency’s new 联邦鸭邮票. 这张邮票, originally the federal license required for hunting migratory 水禽, was an early example of 猎人 and non-猎人 united as conservationists by an artist’s work.

NWF邮票表Since Darling illustrated the first duck stamp, the program has generated more than $750 million to purchase and lease over 5.3 million acres of wetland habitats 在 United States. Most of these lands are now protected 在 U.S. 鱼 & Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Refuge System. 的 联邦鸭邮票 is still the primary source of revenue for 水禽 management and purchased by all 水禽 猎人 to this day.

Darling resigned from his post with the Biological Survey in November 1935, wanting to devote his time to the 1936 meeting that ultimately established the 国家野生动物联盟. 但他对邮票的研究还没有结束. Enthusiasm for Darling’s vision of a united federation for wildlife quickly encountered a need for funding. One suggestion urged the federation to create stamps depicting wildlife. Darling jumped at the idea and created 16 images for the first sheet of conservation stamps in 1938. 这个项目一开始就不顺利, but became one of the 国家野生动物联盟’s signature 产品. By the time the final sheet was issued in 1987, more than a thousand species had been represented and millions of dollars raised for wildlife.

Wildlife artwork was the tool with which the 国家野生动物联盟 built bridges between wild animals and the people interested in protecting them. 它始于邮票, 但打印, 杂志, 书, and other 产品 incorporating wildlife imagery eventually followed. In 1959, the 国家野生动物联盟’s friendly cartoon character Ranger Rick was born from the creative imagination of executive J.A. “灰”Brownridge, inspiring a long line children’s 产品 and experiences that continue to spark an interest and passion for nature.

Today the 国家野生动物联盟 recognizes conservation heroes, 包括丁达林, 在 文物保护名人堂. Because of the groundbreaking efforts made by Darling and others in 1936, the 国家野生动物联盟 continues to unite Americans with the common purpose of protecting wildlife for our children’s future, and continues to be the nation’s leading advocate for wildlife and wild places.


Take a look at a few of the famous faces that have helped move conservation forward since the 国家野生动物联盟's founding.




超过三分之一的美国人.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction 在 coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory 子公司 to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.