The Link — Summer 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.


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
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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

Chat with the Chief

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  • Reading time:1 mins read
coyote on a dirt road

On March 17, 2021, Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, provided an update on incoming USFWS and Department of the Interior leadership and how the Refuge System fits into the Biden Administration’s priorities.

Below are links to the recording and the Conserving the Future document.
Webinar Recording, https://bit.ly/30SVXLO
Conserving the Future, https://bit.ly/3s059dn

We would like to thank Cynthia Martinez for presenting and for the inspiring work she does on behalf of our national wildlife refuges.

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The Link — Winter 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.


Letter from Caroline Brouwer, VP of Government Affairs, NWRA:

The Friends stories included in this edition of The Link are truly inspiring. It is difficult to believe that we are coming up on almost a full year of closed Visitor Centers and canceled events. Yet we have persevered and created communities that perhaps would have remained unfound without the trials of Zoom and social distancing. Many national wildlife refuges have seen visitor numbers skyrocket, with folks desperate to escape the mundanity of their homes.

Yet we cannot forget the many Americans who have been sickened or killed by this virus. I hope that your local refuge has been a place of peace for you during this time. 

At the National Wildlife Refuge Association, we have spent the last year working hard to maintain the integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System and defending the incredible gains made over the life of the Refuge System. Now, as we march forward into the Biden Administration, we anticipate increased protections for vulnerable national wildlife refuges and expansion of land and ocean refuge units. And of course, we will fight tooth and nail to increase funding. We hope to be able to travel to your refuge this year, and to visit with many of you in person! 

Thank you for all that you do for the Refuge System, and for all your advocacy on behalf of your local refuge and the entire National Wildlfie Refuge System!

Sincerely,
Caroline Brouwer
Vice President of Government Affairs
National Wildlife Refuge Association


Friends, Your Comments Are Needed! 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is in the process of updating the Friends policy including the Friends Partnership Agreement.

Friends, as the key partner of USFWS, your input is now needed on the second draft of the Friends policy. The policy will impact your organization therefore your comments are vital. USFWS has provided the “clean” second draft of the policy and a redline version that shows the changes to the policy that was released in 2014. 

All of these documents are on the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) Google drive and website. Please review them.

To help USFWS with the collection and review of your comments they are providing a form for you to submit comments. To ensure that USFWS will see every comment they request that you fill out a separate form for each comment.

The deadline for comments is Monday, February 8, 2021

Please provide USFWS with your comments on the policy and Agreement because they will help shape the partnership between the Friends and USFWS.


Refuge Friends Stories From Across The Country

Had anyone asked us in late 2019 about our plans and expectations for the coming year, few of us would have predicted or even been able to imagine what lay ahead. Since COVID-19 emerged early in 2020, we’ve experienced so many disappointments and personal losses that we’ve probably lost count. However, resilient as we must be, we have mourned, adjusted, rearranged, postponed, canceled, pondered, and reimagined—likely several times. The same can be said of refuge and hatchery Friends as they changed course during the year to stay positive, stay afloat, and succeed despite facing challenges as novel as the virus itself. This issue is dedicated to celebrating those many Friends who support refuges and hatcheries nationwide. We hope you’ll enjoy and even be inspired by the following stories shared by some of them. Here’s to health, happiness, and success to you all in 2021!

-Sue Hix, Editor

Read Refuge Friends’ Stories!*

The Winter 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 — Winter 2021 Newsletter

A Little Nudge to Cheer on the 2020 Friends Group

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  • Reading time:1 mins read

2020 refuge awards for refuge manager, refuge employee, refuge volunteer and Friends group
Photo credit: NWRA

The National Wildlife Refuge Association’s 2020 Refuge Award Dinner is going virtual. Everyone is invited to attend this event on Thursday, October 22 nd, 7 to 8 PM EST. The awards honor the outstanding accomplishments by refuge managers, refuge employees, volunteers, and Friends groups.

This year, the Refuge Association is having a Friends Group competition. The winner will receive:

  • One hour of advocacy consulting from NWRA during a board meeting,
  • One hour of fundraising consulting from NWRA during a board meeting,
  • And one video highlighting your Friends Group!

To learn more about the competition and to register for the event go to https://bit.ly/3jMCBQt

Continue ReadingA Little Nudge to Cheer on the 2020 Friends Group