Happy 100th Anniversary to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, First Opened on June 17, 1916

On June 17, 2016, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, or VDGIF, celebrated its 100th anniversary.  According to the VDGIF’s first annual report (September 29, 1917),  the department started out on June 17, 1916, in “the cloak room of the Senate Chamber in the Capitol,” and proceeded to appoint game wardens “as fast as the boards of supervisors of the different counties and the councils of the different cities furnished lists of ten suitable persons from which the law required the Commissioner to select the wardens.”  From that modest beginning, VDGIF has grown into today’s agency with its central office in Richmond; regional offices in Charles City, Fredericksburg, Forest, Marion, and Verona; district offices in Blacksburg, Chesapeake, and Farmville; and nine fish hatcheries across the Commonwealth.  The department is overseen by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, currently with 11 members.

Boating, fishing, hunting, wildlife management (both game and non-game), conservation policing, and education are the department’s main areas of work.  According to the department’s Web site (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/), VDGIF’s mission is the following: “to manage Virginia’s wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating, and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; [and] to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia’s fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.”

The VDGIF Web site on the anniversary is http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/100/, and a special 100th anniversary edition of the department’s magazine, Virginia Wildlife, is available online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/virginia-wildlife/.  You can contact the department’s main office at P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228-0778; phone (804) 367-1000.  The regional offices, district offices, and fish hatcheries are all listed at this Web site: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/about/offices/.

For a news media account of the department’s first 100 years, see “Virginia wildlife agency turns 100,” by Bill Cochran in The Roanoke Times, 6/12/16, online at http://www.roanoke.com/sports/outdoors/bill-cochran-wildlife-agency-celebrates-years-of-success/article_30599d02-d671-5cea-9b29-e763592c22dd.html.

For an audio take on the department’s anniversary, please have a listen to Virginia Water Radio Episode 322 (6-27-16).  Please note that much of the information in that podcast is included in this post.  The online show notes, however, have some additional references, images, and correlation to suggested Virginia Standards of Learning in science and social studies.

VDGIF photo The cover of the 100th anniversary issue of Virginia Wildlife, the magazine of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Image accessed at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/100/, June 22, 2016.

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