Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fisheries Academy

Last month, I attended Fisheries Academy at The National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, WV.  The mission of the Fisheries Academy is to inspire and develop the future leaders of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Fisheries Program.  Well, it worked.  After two weeks of training, and learning about the inner workings of the Fisheries and Aquatic Conservation Program at the national, regional and field station levels, I left inspired and invigorated about my own future and career in the Service.


Throughout the two weeks of training, we had representatives from each of the eight USFWS regions, (, share the goals, issues, and challenges of fisheries conservation and recovery in their region.  It was great to learn about the work being done all over the country, and to share experiences and build camaraderie with other fish heads (as we affectionately call ourselves in the fish business). In addition to classroom time, we had several field trips which helped to strengthen some of the in- class training we received and gave us an opportunity to meet with national directors and leaders of the USFWS.

Hey look, it's the Capitol!                            Photo Credit:  Benjamin Gilles
One of our off-campus field trips was to Washington, DC. While there we met with majority and minority staff for the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs, toured the Department of Interior building, and met with David Hoskins, the Assistant Director of the USFWS.
Mural painted by Maynard Dixon (1939) in the Department of Interior building, Washington, D.C
Photo Credit:  Michele Atha        

Mural Painting on a wall in the Department of Interior building, Washington, D.C.       Photo credit: Michele Atha


For many of us, the highlight of the class was a trip to Antietam Battlefield just a few miles from the NCTC campus. We spent the day learning about the importance of communication and goals in leadership, and ultimately how this plays out on the battlefield (I mean work place)!  It was about 20 degrees that day, yet still one of the best days of training.
Even in the sun, it was a cold day on the battlefield.   Photo Credit:  Matthew Patterson
Poised and ready to take aim at those pesky work deadlines.  Photo Credit:  Matthew Patterson
For me, this training helped bridge a gap between the work I do at a field station and its role in helping to direct policy and management decisions on the regional and national levels.  I met some really fantastic people from all over the country, and the bonds I formed with my fellow Fishery Academy graduates during those two weeks will stay with me for the rest of my career!
Submitted by Maureen Kavanagh 



  1. Great write up, I really enjoyed the fisheries academy as well! Fisheries Academy was my first trip to NCTC and it's an amazing facility. For being on the east coast, it didn't feel as urban as I thought it would. The wildlife on campus really added the experience for me, especially the deer and white owls.

  2. wow, what an extremely compelling blog entry. I enjoyed it very much,
    thank you!