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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 28, 2009 11:00pm-11:30pm EDT

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>> what entered me is writing the book like wilderness warrior, roosevelt realized that the federal government had an obligation to save species and plants and trees. and the president has an obligation to make sure that we
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put aside for generations unborn natural wonders like roosevelt. like the grand canyon or mount o -- olympus or petrified forest. >> that training center is one place that doug brinkley went. >> we talk about the renovation. when did that start? >> about five years ago we had bald eagles and trying to build a nest. the first season they didn't do a good job, but the second season they came back and built that nest. they had two eaglets that year and one died.
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>> what did this have to do with this end? >> until recently, the american bald eagle was an endangered species and was taken off the list about a year ago. it's a good model for us to aspire to, where critters almost gone off the face of the earth come back. >> mark, why do you do this work? >> i wanted to make a difference. i help teach biologists that go out into field, and i feel that history is making a difference. >> we know that eagle nest is seen by people all over the world. seeing it on the web. does that do something for you
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to your telephone? >> we have a good history website, and we get phone calls and put up world histories and artifacts and books and for film and dissertations. we get a lot of traffic on the web. >> steve, give us background of this institution and where it is. >> we are located about 80 miles northwest of washington, d.c. here in sheporder-- shepherdstown, west virginia. and this was done at the typical holiday inn, when we designed this place, we looked to make it such a place that
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people in the fish and wildlife could call home. and that the service could dedicate to the employees. we have dedicated people that work for the fish and wildlife service, and it's important that they build their skills to deal with the complex challenges that we face today and the future. >> mark madison, how much did this cost? >> this place cost about $150,000. >> who in congress was responsible for it? >> senator byrd made sure that we had the funding. but the clinton and bush administrations requested the funds for the project. >> how many buildings? >> we have 17 buildings.
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>> how many years? >> it took about three years. >> what can a book like doug wrote can do for you? >> it can do a lot, for the employees to realize their own heritage, and like any other artifact, these parks and resources are heritage. and explains to others what we do, to give talks that last an hour, it's useful to turn them over to a history book like dougs. >> your background, you graduated from harvard in what year? >> in 1989 with a degree in science. >> how long have you been here? >> i have worked here for years and i feel like i am doing
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history in the field. >> steve chase, your background? >> i have background from the bernie school in hartford and worked in outside business and department government and came in the fish and wildlife service in 1990. and started in d.c., and this project came along, and i was able to jump along at the very start of it. i was on the planning team, did a lot of the operational planning as well. and was privileged enough to watch this place rise from an old farm from west virginia to probably one of the greatest conservation training locations on the planet.
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>> there are a lot of archives in this country. and this one is devoted to fish and wildlife. how important are they to a historian as research? >> this is ground zero for anyone that wants to deal with the issues of wildlife protection. in the wild maps is how wild america got saved. you can look at the old documents called the surveys that became the fish and wildlife. and you can track species, if you wanted to learn about gray
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wolves, this is a place to come and find out how the protection movement got underfoot. >> one of the people that you write about in your book is john burrows. who is that? >> he was a great americanist, and taken under his wing by whitman, and he tapped him as greatness. he had an incredible mind as a writer and poet, and he was one of the most popular people writing on nature after the civil war. he's a direct descendant of that thorough and whitman school. and t.r. wrote about him, and
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for him, it's [speaking foreign language] dutch for uncle. and he thanks him in the books and gives a tribute to the greatest american of burrows. and would write about a blue bird building a nest or how the river flows. and john muir in california was the nature. and burrows, said in a blade of grass you can learn a lot about nature. and a brilliant writer, i have been working with the burrows foundation to be sure his writings get perserved. he belongs in the top tier, one
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the top 20 writers we have ever had. in my opinion one of the finest natural writers. t.r. loved him and he took him hiking and camping. and took him on that trip out to the west. and when he had pine knot, only for the wife and kids. and the only guest was john burrows. and would go bird watching. and there is no higher compliment to burrows from theodore roosevelt. >> you had a person expression and saying that he loved walt whitman. and didn't have a relationship, why did you write that?
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>> whitman was gay. and when burrows was a young man and had a historical love look, and they had love notes. he became the great student of whitman, and their relationship was platonic. and he became, burrows, almost a son to walt whitman. >> ok, we are in the conservation center for training. how much time would you spend in this room? >> i would come to this room, and i was shown items here. and behind me is a bag that says, biological survey poison. there was a period of time that
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the biological survey's job was to do pest control. and farmers would sometimes shoot birds, willy-nilly. and it was the survey that said not to destroy them. they eat pests. and the biological survey is putting out information to farmers why wildlife is important to keep on farm. you don't want to get rid of birds, you want to attract birds. remember that scare crows were to scare birds. but the sophistication and the soil erosion and for the help of ecosystem to stay alive. it was issue of deforestation. i don't believe that people in america realized how serious trees are. if you lose trees, you will
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lose everything. you will get soil erosion and get run-offs, and have problems with every growing produce. so theodore roosevelt as president would plant trees, even for corn. and back then you had to have trees around the corn. you had to keep a forest around it just to blunt winds. so the wildlife wasn't just about limits, or protecting animals. it had a mission of helping farmers and people living in the wild. and co-exist with nature that was economical and aesthetic. >> going back to the first time
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you decided to come to this facility. how did it happen? where did you find out that it existed? >> i wanted to begin my book with the birds that t.r. created, and the first was pelican island, florida. i went to it, and you can't walk on it. you can step on birds' nets. there are many off of our coast, pelican island, pelicans would come and breed and nest there. and they would all be in a cluster. but the women's institute wanted a feather for women's cap. so people would come and gun them all down. and they were massacring birds. there would be heaps of dead birds for a feather.
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we were losing species in florida. you think that the west was wild? florida was the last untamed place, around the everglades, this is where people that couldn't stand the federal government, and they felt if there was a bird to have, i will shoot it. the first place is pelican island, florida. these are 1902 surveys of pelican island, it was a dollip of land. and it was incredible pelican and other species' resting area. and these documents are talking about the bird life. and it's the first mapping that we have this of. these friends of roosevelt, and a man named frank chapman and
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others. and they got to t.r., that was a fellow birder, and said, we are going to lose the birds of florida if you don't do anything. and roosevelt looked into it, and famously said, if there is anything that will stop me, i will declare a pelican resort. and it was the first time that land was set aside for a species. for the first time you had such things as yellowstone. and there were signs saying no trespassing. and i had to come to florida to see this. and there is a statue in florida, paul craigleman grew up in germany, and it was bad
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luck to kill a n stork and he came to new york and chicago, and as a teenager arrived in florida across from pelican island. and he saw the people slaughtering the birds. and he took a shotgun and pointed it to those who would dare to approach. he was the pelican watcher, he was bit of a cook. -kook. and roosevelt heard of him, and his first game wardens, two of them were murdered down there. i write about the murder of particularly of guy bradley in my book.
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but there are meaning. this is the first guy that t.r. is putting and the first is killed. craigle stays on the job. and he was so proud. i didn't get to put this in the footnotes of my book for length reasons. but i went to his ancestor's home in florida. and they showed me his first badge and his double barrel shotgun. and t.r. dies in 1919, january. and he lived on in the 20's. and this is not eprophetical. warren harding came in a yacht and roosevelt said no one has set foot on pelican island. and president harding
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approached pelican island. he was a boat maker, and pointed a gun at harding and said get out of here. and turned them back. the point is that conservation was a battle. just like on land issues. it was nasty in florida. and not only did he create pelican island, t.r., but created a strategy of bird refugees down florida. and we would not have these species in florida, we would have lost them if roosevelt hadn't acted as he did. and he was taking notes on
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birds in tampa bay area. and on the gulf coast of florida. and most famously, key west, great bird breeding places. >> go back to the beginning. how did you find this place? >> that was it, when i went to the spots, they said did you go here, the headquarters. >> i am asking this for others, how did you get in the door? >> call mark madison, the historian for fish and wildlife. and part of his job is to interface with scholars. and with these materials, the old lantern slides. there is a box of them. there is craigle. i don't know if you can see it. but that's craigle in a canoe. they have all the battles of oregon and washington state,
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they have slides. and of florida of these early wardens and conservationists. we may not know who this guy is, paul craigle. he's a hero and known all over, and has a monument in florida. the singer arlo guthrie moved to be near this. >> so you called mark madison. >> come here or other places, at yosemite and to have do -- documents and books. and to check with them, they have the up-to-date numbers on species. for example the louisiana bear,
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it's a sub-species of black bear. and it's almost extinct, there are only 200 left in arkansas. and bear people only know, but there are 250 left in the united states. >> that are alive? >> alive. that's it. we are about to lose the louisiana black bear, only 250 down. but here at the fish and wildlife, they are creating reserves for them. and the people in louisiana, they want to save the louisiana black bear. the people are proud of their bear history. william fauker of mississippi wrote the short story of a bear modeled on holt collier, there are legendary bear people in the delta.
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but mass overculture, overhunting and harvesting, and killing bears because they are considered predators. we almost destroyed them. but t.r. wrote about the river region in great details. so i had what t.r. wrote but for my book, i needed to know what the black bear populations were back then and today. and so the different species to write b -- write about, this is what i had to check. >> when you come here, what do you do here? >> to look at documents and books. the helpful thing is out there, there is a library, they gave me two titles i didn't know about. because they collect everything. i noticed a minute ago, in this cabinet, i never saw this book
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by c.b. cobly on fish and wildlife. why i feel like i am walking into a treasure trove, a lot of people that write on nature focus on parks. yosomite and how to save species and the habitats. if you don't have enough wetlands you can't monitor the species. the fish and wildlife helped with the florida panther and
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many getting hit, and our government has created a national wildlife refuge. and to create a habitat for this panther to live. not to say there would be a million of them. but not to lose the panthers and not lose the polar bear in alaska. this is where they are fighting for survival. this is how the endangered fish and wildlife act is real. my book is not just about theodore roosevelt but how we got to this story. we have a great system. look at the map, the problem is that we are not maintenancing problem due to the lack of funding. and commercialization is always encroaching on them. people don't like if you can't
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have a development. you mean i can't build a complex because of the gray panther. it's that balance. >> how do we look to other countries and they doing the same? >> all of them, and theodore roosevelt was the generator of the protection movement. and t.r. if he were alive today, with the cover of ""time magazine" would be fighting like his grandson is to save these species. t.r. loved them, he is not by modern terms holistic. he believed in hunting. but he did not believe in hunting so that you make a species extinct. so yes he cared about snail darts and butterflies and wild
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flowers. and wanted to be sure we had a place for that in mod -- modern society. what people are learning in all areas is born out of roosevelt's protection. >> how did you in your research, go away from them saying, boy, they did their job. >> on the ground you mean? >> did you ever get irritated by the attitude that somebody had in research or a federal agency that keeps all of stuff or libraries. what kind of mark do you give them? >> i give them an "a" across the board on being open. not that many are writing on the history of wildlife protection or history of conservation. so for me having come in and having written a number of books, saying i am interested
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if your collection. they like it in yellowstone and yosemite and crater lake, it's spectacular, it's in the region of southern oregon that t.r. did so much to protect. but there was not publication written about crater lake. so they were helping me get documents left and right. if you pick a site that's not overcovered or written about, they were thrilled that you care about the history of park. many don't think of history in national parks. they come for camping or hiking, less interested in the history. where i would like to look at the history of them. >> what evidence does your publisher have that this book will sell? >> 35 bucks but online i think
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it's less. president studies do well and like washington and lincoln, people want to read about a president. i wanted to do the book as thoroughly and accurately as possible. i had to cut it down, hundreds of pages to get it down to a thousand page book. because it's that rich of story with that untapped archival material. and i don't write these books, not saying i won't do it in my career. but i wrote this book for future generations. t.r. is saying he is saving these for generations unborn. i want to lay this down for tracks in libraries, so they know what happened. the battles didn't just happen by osmosis. we just n'

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