Protecting Vulnerable Wildlife for 25 Years

Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program Hits Milestone

In state agency terms, a quarter century doesn’t seem like much, but in wildlife terms you can see a lot of change. As Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program marks 25 years, it has many successes to look back on.

Nongame“We use these milestones to take a minute to reflect on what’s happened,” said John Kanter, director of the nongame program and an SEA member.

“Twenty-five years is a pretty short time period as far as an entirely new state program is concerned, but a lot has happened,” Kanter said. “We’ve had a lot of successes, but we have a lot of challenges we continue to face, too.”

SEA member John Kanter runs Fish and Game's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program.

SEA member John Kanter runs Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program.

The nongame program is the state’s steward for any species that isn’t hunted, trapped or fished – that’s more than 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, plus thousands more insects and invertebrates. To learn more about exactly what the program has accomplished, we recommend you check out Kanter’s timeline of its first 25 years in Fish and Game’s excellent Wildlife Journal magazine. For even more great insight into the program, you can check out Kanter’s Q&A in the most recent NH Magazine.

Probably the most amazing thing about the program is that it does so much while drawing so little local funding. Every year, the program must raise $50,000 in private donations to receive a matching grant from the state (you can make a donation here). The program receives the bulk of its funding through federal State Wildlife Grants, and Kanter says the program tries to spread that money around.

“We’ve always been a kind of a conduit and coordination point for other university and nonprofit entities that are doing work in the area of wildlife conservation,” Kanter said. “Something that’s been very important to that end is sharing what modest funding we get.”

Kanter said it’s important that the state is involved in conservation.

“They call it the North American wildlife motto, where wildlife is held in the public trusts,” he said. “Nobody owns it – it’s owned under the stewardship of the state under state law.”

Basically, because no one owns it, everyone owns it.

“It’s something we all share,” Kanter said. “It’s stewardship by virtue of being a citizen.”

The Nongame program will mark its 25th anniversary throughout the year with themed talks, field days, and other celebratory events during spring and summer.  In October, those who work in the program will be gathering with donors and partners for a dinner celebration at the Grappone Center in Concord.

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