The World Affairs Council of Maine had the privilege of hosting 11 international visitors participating in a multi-regional project on wildlife conservation – anti-poaching – anti-trafficking from May 7–10, 2015. The participants in this International Visitor Leadership Program were from the African Union, Ethiopia, Hungary, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Nepal, Oman, Viet Nam, and Zimbabwe.
Nationally, this project focused on U.S. efforts to combat international wildlife trafficking and poaching of endangered species. Participants explored the roles of communities and public, non-profit and private sector stakeholders engaged in the protection of wildlife resources, both in the United States and abroad. They also examined efforts to combat the illegal trade of exotic species through DNA tracking, innovations in criminal prosecution, and cooperation among customs and law enforcement officials.
The themes assigned to the Maine portion of the program were wildlife conservation efforts at the state and local levels, law enforcement field techniques, anti-poaching incentivization, and home hospitality.
The Maine Warden Service (MWS) was the central feature of the visitors’ time in Maine. They received the group in Augusta, Bangor, and at Acadia National Park. Their support for this project was superb. The Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Chandler E. Woodcock, welcomed the delegation to Maine and was followed by briefings from the Maine Warden Service on their mission, their collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and their partnership with Animal Planet network on the North Woods Law television series.
Commissioner Chandler E. Woodcock welcomed the delegation to Maine:
Colonel Joel Wilkinson gave an overview of the Maine Warden Service’s mission
Other highlights from the wardens’ briefings included the role of their chaplain, Operation Game Thief, their mobile “Wall of Shame” display, law enforcement field techniques, incident management, evidence recovery, forensic mapping, and the illegal trafficking of bear parts and Narwahl whale tusks. While in Augusta the visitors also viewed the Fallen Officer Memorial on which are the names of 15 game wardens who died in the line of duty.
Major Chris Cloutier talked about the Maine Fallen Officers’ Memorial on which are the names of 15 game wardens who died in the line of duty:
Game wardens explain their mobile “Wall of Shame” educational display
A highlight of the program was the participation of Maine Senators Paul Davis (R – District 4) and co-chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), Stan Gerzofsky (D - District 24), and Dave Burns (R – District 6 ). The Senators led the group on a tour of the State House while describing both the legislative process and wildlife legislation.
The international visitors with Senators Burns, Gerzofsky, and Davis in the Senate chamber:
Senators Davis and Gerzofsky with visitors in the House chamber:
Home hospitality for the entire group was held at the home of retired game warden Lieutenant Pat Dorian and Janet Joyeux who prepared a truly “Maine” dinner in every aspect of the word.
The menu included pickled fiddlehead ferns, smoked trout, lobster shooters, homemade cranberry relish, haddock chowder, lobster bisque, grilled chicken, moose shepherd’s pie, grilled marinated moose meat, moose sausage, canned moose meat, mashed potatoes, peas, green beans, homemade blueberry pie, homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie, and homemade Kaluha cake.
Home hospitality hosts Janet Joyeux and retired game warden Pat Dorian:
Sampling pickled fiddlehead ferns and homemade cranberry relish:
The all-American serving line - buffet style
The group’s second programming day was spent in Brewer engaging with game wardens and a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in discussions about law enforcement field techniques, incident management, evidence recovery, forensic mapping, and the illegal trafficking of bear parts and Narwahl whale tusks.
Holding a Narwahl whale tusk
Following the morning briefings and lunch, the group was led on an afternoon tour of Acadia National Park while learning about conservation efforts and the cooperation between the Maine Warden Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S National park rangers.
Enjoying the beach at Acadia National Park:
Finding a surviving snow mound at Acadia National Park
For several visitors their trip to Maine was the first time they had seen and felt snow, experienced the Atlantic Ocean, and learned about wildlife species of the U.S. not known in their home countries.
Exploring a beaver dam at Acadia National Park:
The Council would like to thank the following departments and people for their support of this project:
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Commissioner Chandler Woodcock
Maine Warden Service
Senator Paul Davis, Senate District 4, Co-chairman, Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Senator Dave Burns, Senate District’6
Senator Stan Gerzofsky, Senate District 24
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lieutenant (Ret.) Pat Dorian and Janet Joyeux (Home Hospitality)