On September 22nd, Caroline Brouwer, VP of Government Affairs, discussed the major legislation on Capitol Hill, from reconciliation to infrastructure to appropriations, with an explanation of how these bills will impact Refuge Friends and national wildlife refuges. below are links to the recording and slides from the webinar.
The House Interior Appropriations Committee has passed their bill out of committee, and the numbers are great for national wildlife refuges, but we are still waiting on the Senate to follow through with their bill. What advocates for wildlife and the Refuge System want is for Congress to pass a full package that includes $600 million in funding for Operations and Maintenance for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Take action today and ask your Senators and Representative to support a full-year funding package that includes $600 million for the Operations and Maintenance Fund of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Take action at https://bit.ly/2VIzHFs
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when I take part in a survey and then never hear anything about the survey results. So, for the 88 of you who generously gave your time to provide us with answers to our questions and for those of you who didn’t but would like to know what the respondents told us, here you go with the results of our recent Friends Webinar Survey.
I’m going for the focus of the survey first, specifically, what webinar topics seemed to be of most interest to the respondents of our survey. Look for information from other parts of the survey in coming blog posts.
We provided 11 general subjects that we thought might be of interest to Friends and asked them to rate their interest in each topic as High, Medium, Low, or No interest. Here’s what you told us:
The winning topic in both “High” plus “Medium” interest and with the most “High” interest votes was OUTREACH & COMMUNICATIONS. We need to dig deeper now and find out exactly what kinds of things you are interested in but be sure to check out our Webinar on June 9 at 2:00 Eastern, with Angie Horn the NWRA Southern California Regional Refuge Partnership Specialist and Angelina Yost, The FWS Urban Programs Coordinator. They will be telling us about successful ways of building community partnerships, no matter where your refuge is located. To register click here.
No surprise that the second most “High” plus “Medium” interest votes was FUNDRAISING, followed closely by GRANTS. We have one fundraising webinar planned for the near future and will continue to seek presenters and subjects related to these two high-demand topics for additional presentations in the future.
The last topic we will highlight was GOVERNANCE & LEADERSHIP. Again, this is such a broad topic that we will be looking for some guidance from you as to what aspects of governance and leadership you would like more information about.
A couple of the remaining topics are areas that we have already provided webinars on, specifically, ADVOCACY & LOBBYING and FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
The remaining topics were Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), Organizational Planning, Technology, Volunteer Management, and Sales/Retail. While these topics did not receive as many “High” or “Medium” interest votes as the ones mentioned above, none of the suggested topics received fewer than 54% “High”/”Medium” votes. It looks like we have our work cut out for us. If you have ideas for a webinar in one of the categories listed or know of a Friends member/supporter who might be a good presenter on one of these topics, please reach out to Cheryl Hart or Joan Patterson. Thanks for your hel
Many people believe that nonprofit organizations are not allowed to advocate or lobby. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonprofits like Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex use advocacy, and on occasion lobbying, to help meet their mission of support for the refuge complex and the system of refuges across the nation. Friends are the Advocacy Champions of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
During the past year, Friends of Tualatin River NWR have been actively involved in monitoring and speaking out on both local and national concerns that impact our local refuge and the refuge system. At the local level, Friends and FWS Staff at the refuge and regional level have continued to monitor efforts to create a rock quarry on Tonquin Rd in Sherwood, just feet away from one of the few pristine units of our refuge. The Tonquin Road area was shaped by the Missoula floods about 15,000 years ago when an ice dam broke in western Montana and changed the land in the Northwest. Following public comment, the State requested further information from the owners. The deadline for that response is September 30, 2020. Friends will continue to work with FWS to document concerns regarding the negative impacts that a quarry in the proposed location can have on our refuge.
Monitoring the impacts of different land uses adjacent to or around the refuge are important to supporting our mission. As we strive to protect the natural, historical, and cultural, resources of the refuge we are also protecting them for your communities.
“Throughout my Service career, I was continually reminded of the value of friends and Friends organizations, and the important voice they give through advocacy (and yes, that includes “lobbying”) that career Service employees are restricted from doing. Friends are private citizens, and they have all the rights and privileges of citizenship, including the constitutional right to petition their government.”— Dan Ashe, Former Director of US Fish and Wildlife
Traditionally, August is a time for members of Congress to head home and work in their district or state. This year because of the need for a fifth coronavirus relief package, those plans are in turmoil.
When your legislators are in the district or state, it is a perfect time to get them out to your refuge or hatchery to thank them for the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The Act boosts funding to reduce the maintenance backlogs on public lands and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a tool to conserve landscapes and invest in parks and outdoor recreation.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to discuss with your board and Service staff about inviting your members of Congress to your site. It’s an opportunity for you to show them why you give your time to your refuge/hatchery and why it is an asset to your community.
If you have never requested a meeting with your members of Congress then check out the advocacy webinars created by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends.
The second webinar in the advocacy series addresses how to make and prepare for a meeting with legislators. Friends, check out the weinar and if you have questions or need advice let us know.