Duck Stamps Conserve Wildlife Habitat

Buying a Federal Duck Stamp (Stamp) is one of the most effective ways you can conserve wildlife. Approximately 98% of the $25 Stamp directly funds land acquisition and easements that provide critical habitat for wildlife. These lands are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and you can access many of them!

At the turn of the 20th century, America’s wildlife was under immediate threats. Market shooting to supply restaurants; bounty hunting and unregulated sport hunting; and feather-collecting for the fashion industry contributed to the loss of millions of birds and other wildlife. Additionally, millions of acres of wetlands were drained for agriculture and development, greatly reducing waterfowl nesting habitat

By the 1930s, America had entered the Great Depression and many in the Great Plains regions suffered the added economic and ecological effects of the Dust Bowl. During this time President Herbert Hoover signed the Migratory Bird Conservation Act in 1929 to authorize the acquisition and preservation of wetlands as waterfowl habitat. Unfortunately, the law did not provide a permanent funding source to purchase and preserve these wetlands. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (or “Duck Stamp Act”), which did!

The Duck Stamp Act requires anyone 16 or older to purchase a Stamp for waterfowl hunting. But you don’t have to be a waterfowl hunter to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp! If you care about wildlife and habitats they depend on, help conserve these critical lands by purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp!

Artists and stamp collectors are important stakeholders of the Stamp. In 1949, the first Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest was held. Today, 71 years later, the tradition of hosting a government-sponsored nationwide contest continues. In 1989, Junior Duck Stamp Program was initiated to encourage education and participation for students Kindergarten through 12th-grade nationwide! Junior Duck Stamps are available for purchase for $5.

In addition to serving as a license for waterfowl hunting, benefits for conservation, appeal to collectors and an opportunity for competing artists, the current Federal Duck Stamp also grants you free entrance into any National Wildlife Refuge that charges an entry fee!

Federal Duck Stamps are available online, in post offices, and in many sporting goods and large-scale retail stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses and equipment. Check your local refuge to see if they sell Federal Duck Stamps, as well. The Stamp is also available from Amplex Corporation, and if you are interested in selling Federal Duck Stamps, they are the organization to contact.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Fund announced that the 2020-2021 Federal and Junior Duck Stamps will be available for purchase on Friday, June 26. These Stamps will feature the winning artwork of Eddie LeRoy of Eufaula, Alabama, and 13-year-old Madison Grimm of South Dakota, winners of the 2020 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest and 2020 Junior Duck Stamp Contest, respectively. This year’s First Day of Sale ceremony planned for Spanish Fort, AL have been canceled.

Please be a part of this American tradition, and more importantly, be a part in conserving America’s future by purchasing a 2020-2021 Federal Duck Stamp.

Building the Team

Friends on Capitol Hill 2016

The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) and Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to formalize our long-standing partnership. The MOU outlines plans to work together to provide Friends organizations with information and materials they seek to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of their organizations. So what does this mean – we will work together and with you to gather information to help Friends continue to be successful. We’ll work on creating an updated resource center, webinars, a quarterly Friends newsletter, and share information from and for Friends. NWRA is providing its expertise and assisting with the financing of this effort and CORFA is providing their experience and volunteer labor. We are doing this because we believe Friends bring an unmatched level of knowledge, skills, and dedication to the National Wildlife Refuge System, and together we make a formidable team. To support this effort please consider a donation to NWRA and let CORFA know what materials, information, discussions, etc. will help you and your organization.

Shedding Light on the Keeper

Kīlauea Point Lighthouse Photo credit: Kim Rogers/USFWS

Bob Olson worked at the Kīlauea Point Lighthouse over 50 years ago. The lighthouse sits atop a rocky peninsula on the northwest coast of the Island of Kaua’i, 180 feet above the Pacific Ocean. It is now part of the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge that is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in Hawai’i.

Recently, Thomas Daubert, Executive Director of Friends of Kauaʻi National Wildlife Refuges, had the opportunity to learn about Bob’s experience and capture it for the Friends.

TD: When did you work at the Lighthouse and what was your role?
BO: I was stationed with the United States Coast Guard Group Kauaʻi from 1967-68. I lived in Poʻipū but one of my primary jobs, as the Lead Electronics Technician, was to maintain the radio equipment and radio beacon at the Kīlauea Lighthouse. The equipment was located, at the time, in the concrete building located just west of the Lighthouse (now referred to as the “Contact Station”). Radio beacons were in use at Kīlauea Point since World War II and required regular maintenance. My duties also included servicing equipment at Makahuena Point.

TD: How did you end up serving on Kauaʻi?
BO: Before I was stationed on Kauaʻi, I was stationed in Hilo. A shipmate of mine on the Cape Small was Norman Peleiholani. He previously lived and worked at the Kīlauea Point Lighthouse serving as a Lighthouse Keeper. I became very close to him and his family at the time and he spoke so highly of his time on Kauaʻi that I sought out a role there for my next station assignment.

TD: What are some of your memories of your time being stationed here?
BO: I remember how great the experience was of the team working at the Lighthouse. Everyone knew everyone and were like family. When I worked on the radio equipment, I was welcomed to dinner with the lighthouse keepers and their families.
I remember coming to the Lighthouse after one particularly bad storm. I was really surprised to see that the storm had broken out the windows in the beacon building. We had to board up the building and clean and dry out the equipment. During another stormy day, I remember sitting at Secret Beach and watching the spray hit all the way up to the Lighthouse, which is already really high above the ocean.

TD: Where were you stationed after your time on Kauaʻi?
BO: After my station assignment on Kauaʻi concluded, I served in Vietnam. After the war, I was stationed on a number of different ships and also at another lighthouse, located at Point Arguello, California. There, I will always remember being awakened by the fog horns, which of course you don’t have at Kīlauea Point!

TD: Have you been back to Kīlauea since you were stationed here?
BO: I had such a great experience during my time on Kauaʻi that I always intended to come back to another station assignment on Kauaʻi or to retire there. Unfortunately, my 21-year career with the US Coast Guard didn’t allow for another “overseas” assignment. After my career wound down, I found myself with my family in Northern California. However, I was able to visit Kauaʻi around 2006 with my family.

TD: When you visited, what were some of the primary differences you noted from your time working here?
BO: When I lived in Poʻipū, Koloa was still a plantation town and there were just two resorts in Poʻipū. Makahuena Point, where I also worked, has changed a lot and is now just a site for condos. I also really noticed the massive erosion to a number of south shore beaches after the two hurricanes that impacted Kauaʻi.
Out at Kīlauea Point, the experience is also very different. The lighthouse is no longer in operation and, therefore, is no longer maintaining a staff of lighthouse keepers. Also, many more people visit the site than my time and, when I was stationed there, guests were only allowed into the first floor of the Lighthouse since it was still operational. Now, I understand that visitors can go up to see that beautiful fresnel lens!

TD: Since your time here, this site has become part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. What wildlife did you observe at Kīlauea Point during your time here?
BO: I frequently saw a lot of seabirds. I remember seeing an albatross once in a while. I was accustomed to seeing them at sea during my time stationed on ships, but not on land.  That was a unique sight.

TD: Mahalo nui loa Bob for your service to our country and to our beautiful lighthouse, and for taking the time to share these memories with our supporters!

Thank you to Tom and the Friends of Kauaʻi National Wildlife Refuges for letting us share this story with you.