Spotlight on Assabet River NWR

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Last month, CORFA began asking Friends to post photos of their Refuge/Hatchery. We love seeing and learning about Refuges/Hatcheries across the country and what a great way to meet Friends and interact more with each other.  There were so many amazing photos posted. The first profile is of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge and Nicole Souza’s stunning photos of fungi! 

Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 3.5 square miles located within the Massachusetts towns of Hudson, Maynard, Stow, and Sudbury. The refuge is on the original homelands of the Nipmuc People. The name “Assabet” is likely from the Nipmuc dialect, but the exact meaning is uncertain. It seems to refer to the marshy nature of the area, described as meaning “the place where materials for making fishnet grows,” “a mire-y place,” and “at the place where the river turns back.” Indeed, the refuge features a large wetland complex, several smaller wetlands and vernal pools and large forested portions, which are important feeding and breeding areas for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Assabet River NWR was established in 2000 when the U.S. Army transferred 2,230 acres to the USFWS to be part of the NWRS. The Refuge opened in 2005. The property was a training annex & had been placed off-limits by the Army since 1942 when they acquired it for an ammunition storage facility. Before World War II, the area consisted of small family farms and wood lots, some dating back to colonial times. 

Would you like your Refuge/Hatchery to be recognized next month? Post your photos often in the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates Facebook group and “challenge” Friends from other Refuges/Hatcheries.  Thanks again Nicole! Who would you like to tag to share their photos?

Continue ReadingSpotlight on Assabet River NWR

NWRA’s 2021 Molly Krival Refuge Friends Group of the Year

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Congratulations to the Friends of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, the recipient of National Wildlife Refuge Association’s (NWRA) Molly Krival Refuge Friends Group of the Year for 2021. Robin Will, the Refuge Ranger/Liaison at St. Marks NWR, has described the Friends accomplishments as “33 years of excellence”. Here’s Phillip M. Pollock, President of the Friends, accepting the award.

Continue ReadingNWRA’s 2021 Molly Krival Refuge Friends Group of the Year

The Link — Fall 2021 Newsletter

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Fall 2021 issue of The Link

The Link is a quarterly newsletter produced in coordination between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates.

Two years ago, the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) and the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) formally agreed to begin working together to advocate on behalf of Friends groups around the country. While NWRA has been around since 1975, CORFA is newer, and we wanted to take this opportunity in this edition of The Link to highlight our partnership and explain who CORFA is. 

With missions focused on national wildlife refuges and hatcheries plus thousands of members nationwide with the passion to pursue those missions, refuge and hatchery Friends groups (hereafter referred to as “Friends”) are unique in the nonprofit world. Further, if you consider that a majority of those Friends groups are led and managed by volunteers, you may find yourself shaking your head in amazement. “How do they do it?” you may be asking.

Well, besides passionate, professional leadership and committed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partners, Friends groups can rely on the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates and the National Wildlife Refuge Association for a variety of resources to help them navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of the nonprofit sea, including advocacy, keeping up with nonprofit regulations and trends, and adjusting to our ever-changing world. We hope you enjoy the articles here giving a closer look at CORFA, which is, relatively speaking, “the new kid on the block.” Like most Friends groups, CORFA is an all-volunteer organization, yet it offers Friends so much. Read on to get a close-up view of CORFA and also learn about the important role that NWRA plays in supporting CORFA and Friends. All this and more in the current issue!

Click To Read About CORFA And More!

Read All Of The Stories!

Sincerely,
Sue Hix, Editor
Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge


Credits

The fall 2021 version of The Link has been a coordinated effort between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates. 

To receive the next issue of The Link, complete the form at the bottom of this page https://www.refugeassociation.org/friends. And please add refugeassociation.org to the safe list for your email account.

You’re invited to join the CORFA Facebook group, a place to connect with other amazing members of the Friends community to share information, insights, and experiences concerning nonprofit governance, management, and advocacy. Go to  https://www.facebook.com/groups/coalitionofrefugefriends/ and request to join this private group.

  • Sue Hix (Editor) – Friends of Sherburne NWR
  • Joan Patterson (Co-editor)—Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates 
  • Caroline Brouwer—NWRA VP of Government Affairs 
  • Eden Taylor (designer)— NWRA Communications Associate 
  • Friends Editorial Staff:
    • Cheryl Hart—NWRA Board, Board member of Friends of Tualatin River NWR 
    • Kathy Woodward—Former NWRA Board Member, Board member of Friends of Great Swamp NWR 
    • Jim Stone– NWRA Board, Board member of Friends of the Wichitas

Continue ReadingThe Link — Fall 2021 Newsletter

The Link — Summer 2021 Newsletter

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The Link is a quarterly newsletter produced in coordination between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates.


As we enter mid-summer, we are so excited to be focusing this edition of The Link on the sustainability of our organizations! At its very heart, sustainability is all about long-term planning—why does your organization exist and how are you going to accomplish your goals? 

The mission of the Refuge Association is to “protect, promote, and enhance America’s wildlife heritage through strategic programs that serve the System and wildlife beyond its boundaries.” In order to be a sustainable organization so that we can achieve that goal, we rely on fundraising from partners, major donors, grants, foundations, and corporate sponsors. This support allows us to hire expert, professional staff who understand the Refuge System, understand Friends groups and their importance to the Refuge System, and care deeply about the success of these programs and the sustainability of wildlife habitat and public lands. 

We hope you enjoy this edition of The Link and that it helps your Friends group as we continue to work together to build up all of our organizations so that we can support, defend, and protect our nation’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

Caroline Brouwer
National Wildlife Refuge Association
cbrouwer@refugeassociation.org


From the Editor

In mid-April on a beautiful spring day, our Friends of Sherburne NWR treasurer of 14 years passed away suddenly while doing volunteer gardening at a local hospice. Carol was both a Friend and friend, so those of us who had worked closely with her felt her loss keenly. To make matters worse, not only did she handle our Friends banking, prepare monthly financial statements, and manage our budget, but she also served as our Friends membership chair, manager of our member/donor database, organizer of our silent auctions, and willing volunteer for all kinds of other small, but essential, duties. Ironically, at a Zoom meeting just a few days before her death, we had joked that, when it came to Friends like Carol, we were truly vulnerable, or “truck-sensitive” as we termed it. That is, we had good-naturedly warned her to beware of any speeding trucks that might come her way. At least we had let her know how much we appreciated her, but that was small consolation when we learned of her passing.

Into the lurch stepped our immediate past president. After all, someone had to process deposits, pay bills, and handle essential correspondence; however, this could be only a temporary fix. We would need to recruit a qualified treasurer, continue work in progress to select and convert to a “constituent relationship management” (CRM) system, separate the membership duties from the financial work and recruit someone to take these on, etc., etc. The good news was that Carol’s work was up to date and her records were organized and complete. Related processes and procedures were documented and had been recently reviewed. It could’ve been worse. Today we can report that we have used our member network to recruit a new, highly qualified treasurer; we are about to commit to a CRM system provider; we have qualified board members who have agreed to convert and help to maintain our database; and we have other essential tasks covered, at least for the immediate future.  

Friends of Sherburne will survive our loss, but it has illustrated how vulnerable all Friends organizations may be, especially those with all-volunteer leadership and administrative management. With that in mind, for this issue we have invited three Friends organizations to tell us what they have done or are doing to attract, train, retain, and sustain effective leadership and otherwise maintain their organizations as challenges inevitably arise. Their hard work and persistence, combined with the support of their USFWS partners, Friends mentors, or consultants, enabled these Friends to survive and thrive. We invite you to read and be inspired by their stories. I think Carol would appreciate our adding this to her legacy. 

Sue Hix
Editor


Read About Sustaining Your Friends Organization And Its Leadership:

Other Features In This Issues:


Read All Of the Stories!


Credits

The Summer 2021 version of The Link has been a coordinated effort between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates. 

To receive the next issue of The Link, complete the form at the bottom of this page https://www.refugeassociation.org/friends. And please add refugeassociation.org to the safe list for your email account.

You’re invited to join the CORFA Facebook group, a place to connect with other amazing members of the Friends community to share information, insights, and experiences concerning nonprofit governance, management, and advocacy. Go to  https://www.facebook.com/groups/coalitionofrefugefriends/ and request to join this private group.

  • Sue Hix (Editor) – Friends of Sherburne NWR
  • Joan Patterson (Co-editor)—Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates 
  • Caroline Brouwer—NWRA VP of Government Affairs 
  • Eden Taylor (designer)— NWRA Communications Associate 
  • Friends Editorial Staff: Cheryl Hart—NWRA Board, Board member of Friends of Tualatin River NWR 
  • Kathy Woodward—Former NWRA Board Member, Board member of Friends of Great Swamp NWR 
  • Jim Stone– NWRA Board, Board member of Friends of the Wichitas

Continue ReadingThe Link — Summer 2021 Newsletter
Read more about the article The Link — Spring 2021 Newsletter
Sherburne NWR

The Link — Spring 2021 Newsletter

  • Post category:News
  • Reading time:5 mins read

The Link is a quarterly newsletter produced in coordination between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates.


The other day a fellow Friends member asked why we have both CORFA and NWRA. Well, the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) and the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) are partners who have different but complementary purposes. 

CORFA began in 2013 as a Facebook group set up by a Friend to help Friends stay connected and share information during a Federal government shutdown. This grassroots effort evolved into a space for Friends to help Friends and ultimately the public lands and waters we support. This is an all-volunteer effort that has grown to almost 800 folks willing to ask for and give each other help. 

CORFA’s purpose is to foster a network of nonprofit organizations supporting the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System with the goals of:

  • Promoting and creating ways for Friends to share their knowledge so their groups can be stronger organizations.
  • Supporting collaborative efforts between Friends, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NWRA, and others. 
  • Expanding our ability to advocate for the needs of our organizations and public lands partners.

NWRA is the leading voice advocating on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System with the vision of inspiring nationwide support for the National Wildlife Refuge System, its wildlife, and habitats. Friends, you are the major portion of that nationwide support. Your willingness to stand up and share your knowledge and stories about your refuges or hatcheries is the best tool for motivating others to protect these places. 

NWRA, CORFA, and Friends make a great team. CORFA’s focus is the Friends community, the groups that are instrumental in making the Service sites community assets. NWRA’s focus is advocating for the National Wildlife Refuge System and inspiring Friends to stand up for their refuge or hatchery. 

Together we work to tap into the strengths of the Friends community so we can effectively protect our wildlife, lands, and waters. Our joint efforts, of which you all are a part, include this quarterly newsletter, The Link; webinars; an evolving Friends website; and speaking out for the needs of your organizations, refuges, and hatcheries. CORFA members volunteer their experiences and time. NWRA provides its expertise and financial support. 

We ask each and every one of you to participate, promote, and give to this effort that connects, strengthens, and celebrates the community of Friends.

Regards,
Joan Patterson and the CORFA Team
Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates
coalitionrefugefriends@gmail.com

Caroline Brouwer
National Wildlife Refuge Association
cbrouwer@refugeassociation.org


From the Editor

We asked you to tell us how your Friends are connecting with your communities to promote your refuges and hatcheries despite COVID, and you responded! From a mobile classroom to an art walk booth, from a hiking ambassador to hosting the grand opening of a new trail, some Friends were able to connect safely in person—usually outdoors and socially distanced. Others explored the possibilities offered by digital tools—planning online or hybrid events and annual meetings, offering a unique gift to special donors, using technology to meet grant requirements. It will be interesting to see whether and how we continue to incorporate these novel approaches in the future.

Sue Hix, Editor


Please enjoy reading and learning from the stories offered by these Friends!


Read All Of the Stories!


Credits

The Spring 2021 version of The Link has been a coordinated effort between the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates. 

To receive the next issue of The Link, complete the form at the bottom of this page https://www.refugeassociation.org/friends. And please add refugeassociation.org to the safe list for your email account.

You’re invited to join the CORFA Facebook group, a place to connect with other amazing members of the Friends community to share information, insights, and experiences concerning nonprofit governance, management, and advocacy. Go to  https://www.facebook.com/groups/coalitionofrefugefriends/ and request to join this private group.

  • Sue Hix (Editor) – Friends of Sherburne NWR
  • Joan Patterson (Co-editor)—Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates 
  • Caroline Brouwer—NWRA VP of Government Affairs 
  • Eden Taylor (designer)— NWRA Communications Associate 
  • Friends Editorial Staff: Cheryl Hart—NWRA Board, Board member of Friends of Tualatin River NWR 
  • Kathy Woodward—Former NWRA Board Member, Board member of Friends of Great Swamp NWR 
  • Jim Stone– NWRA Board, Board member of Friends of the Wichitas

*Articles are hosted on the NWRA website, just follow any of the links above to access them all.

Continue ReadingThe Link — Spring 2021 Newsletter