activities or programs related to the Big 6 uses: hunting, fishing, environmental education, wildlife observation, interpretation, and photography

Friends Mentoring: A Program To Boost Your Partnership’s Success

The Fall 2021 application for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friends Mentor Program is now available! This program boosts the success of the partnership between Friends and USFWS staff by providing peer-to-peer coaching.

To learn more about the program check out the materials from the Webinar held on Wednesday, September 15. The webinar addressed:

  • What is mentoring all about?
  • How does the program work?
  • What kinds of challenges can be addressed by the Mentor Program and what things cannot?

Below are the recording and other materials from and mentioned during the webinar.

We thank Linda Schnee, National Friends Coordinator, and Cheryl Hart, Refuge Friends Mentor for presenting this webinar.

Applications are due October 31, 2021. For additional information on this program go to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Friends page.

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Survey about Webinars: What Else You Shared!

CORFA logo with a wordcloud

This is the third and final blog on what we learned from our recent survey about webinar topics. Thank you to the 88 people who responded to the survey and for all your thoughtful comments. CORFA is all about Friends helping Friends so if you see a topic listed that you or your Friends group has some experience and expertise with, please let us know at coalitionrefugefriends@gmail.com, we’d love your help.

The graphic above depicts some of the most common topics that Friends mentioned in the tell us more section of the survey. These topics are listed in order of the number of times they were mentioned. What we hear is the Friends are looking for information on:

  • Fundraising with specific requests for training on capital campaigns and bequests as well as virtual fundraising.
  • Board and Volunteer recruitment along with community outreach. The survey tells us that we have work to do to build the boards and organizations that represent our communities and reach out to all members of those communities and welcome them to our refuges/hatcheries.
  • Strengthening partnerships with the refuge was mentioned several times. One goal of our webinars is to provide opportunities to learn more about our partners’ program, don’t forget there are other resources as well. The FWS Friends Mentoring program is targeted at strengthening partnerships. The next round of applications for Mentoring is expected right after Labor Day and we will be doing a webinar on mentoring and the application process closer to that date.
  • Finance, earlier this year two webinars were presented. You can access the recordings of those and all the webinars we’ve presented in the Resource Center tab on this website.
  • Stores, online stores, and inventory were also mentioned. Are you aware that CORFA has a Facebook group for retail that is very responsive to questions. We have also talked about starting some informal discussion groups one of which could center around topics related to stores. We’re looking for volunteers to help with this effort.
  • Collaboration with other Friends groups, we don’t get together often enough at the regional or national level. We are cooking up some ideas for Friends gatherings—probably virtual for now.
  • And finally what time of day should the webinars be offered? People who work during the day are not able to attend live. We are at a loss as to when we could present the webinars so that everyone who wants to participate live, can do that. Our refuge and hatcheries Friends groups span 9 time zones and the International Dateline. If you have suggestions, let us know.

While we try to provide a wide range of training specific to Friends groups, again, we are not the only resource. Someone asked for training on wildlife and environment. Someone else was concerned about hunting on refuges. That is not in our wheelhouse but there are many workshops and trainings available through FWS’s National Conservation Training Center, most of which can be paid for by FWS scholarships. Talk to your Regional Friends Coordinator about training in the topics you are interested in.

We are searching for Friends groups with expertise in all of these topics. If you are interested in sharing your experiences and expertise please contact us at coalitionrefugefriends@gmail.com.

You gave us so much valuable information and we are trying to make good use of it to provide you with the training you want and need. Thank you!

Be sure to join the CORFA Facebook group and NWRA Friends contacts (E-Newsletter and Advocacy and Webinar invitations)

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Virtual Nature Program

Announcement of nature program with a fern

Jump into springtime and join Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge as they bring nature programs to you—right in the comfort of your own home. 
Join one (or more!) of their virtual programs. Check back often to see what else they have to offer!
Just like when you visit Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, these programs are free and open to the public.
​To check out the full listing of programs go to https://www.friendsofottawanwr.org/seek-refuge-days.html.

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Federal Duck Stamp at Work

Federal Duck Stamp showing 3 Canada geese flyingEarlier this month the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved the acquisition of 419 acres on three national wildlife refuges. The funds used for these procurement come from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps. 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!

The refuges receiving funds are:

  • Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Missouri – $532,000 for 197 acres. The project will protect waterfowl breeding and stopover habitat and provide public opportunities for wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing and wildlife observation and photography, in the urban St. Louis Metropolitan Area.

  • Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota – $176,000 for 160 acres. The project will protect wetlands that provide habitat for dabbling and diving duck species, and protect grasslands that provide habitat for upland-nesting duck species, including mallards, blue-winged teal and gadwalls, as well as other migratory birds. The project will provide public opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting and wildlife observation.

  • Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Connecticut – $250,000 for 62 acres. The project will protect habitat for waterfowl, including American black ducks and wood ducks, as well as for wading birds and other migratory birds, and provide public opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. 1

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.

1 Trump Administration Announces More Than $130 Million in Public-Private Funding for Wetland Conservation Projects, FWS News, September 10, 2020

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