Duck Stamps Conserve Wildlife Habitat

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

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.

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The Link — Summer 2020 Newsletter

  • Post category:News
  • Reading time:3 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:

As COVID-19 continues to restrict normal warm-season activities, we know that Friends organizations across the country are redirecting their energy to find new ways to support their refuges and fish hatcheries. Spring events have gone virtual, nature store managers are trying online sales for the first time, and boards and volunteers are using Zoom and other online tools to connect, plan, and complete work safely “from a distance.”

Here at the Refuge Association, we want to invite Friends who can’t pursue their usual on-site volunteer activities to direct efforts to advocacy—whether this be by contacting their legislators about issues affecting the Refuge System or by taking time to develop their advocacy knowledge and skills. With this in mind, we will be offering a summer webinar series about communicating with Congress members, focused on their district and state offices. We’re also planning quarterly calls to keep you up to date on important issues here in DC. Our first call will be in September. And of course, our Action Alerts and letter “sign-on” requests will continue when your virtual voices are needed to support actions that will fund and protect refuges.

We hope you’ll enjoy this issue, which focuses on examples of Friends who have been making the best of these pandemic days to continue their work in creative ways.


Articles in the summer edition of The Link*

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

Continue ReadingThe Link — Summer 2020 Newsletter

It’s About Community

Puddles staying up after his bedtime to view an April meteor shower.

Just like at your refuge, all the public facilities at Ottawa NWR in Ohio closed in response to COVID-19. Ultimately, the Biggest Week in American Birding, which attracts more than 90,000 visitors to the refuge and other lands along the shore of Lake Erie, had to be canceled. It was a blow to the local community and to the Friends because spring and early summer are the busiest times at the refuge.

The visitor center and the Friends store are the heart of the Ottawa NWR. That’s where the Friends of Ottawa’s staff and volunteers connect with members of the community. The Friends didn’t want to lose that connection, so they went about replicating the sense of community online. Aimee Arent, Executive Director of the Friends, shared what they’ve done, what has resulted, and how people have reacted.

First, they began expanding email communication to let folks know what’s happening on the refuge and to share refuge photos. Using creative subject lines like, “It might be worth staying up past your bedtime!” they saw email open rates jump from 25% to 45-50%. They also heard from a state health care official, dealing with COVID-19, who told them that their messages were a “desperately needed breath of fresh air.”

Next, they have been calling members,volunteers and donors to see how they are doing—and letting people know that the Friends care about them. Although callers haven’t solicited donations, many of those who were called renewed their memberships early or upgraded to a higher giving level.

Finally, Ottawa Friends began increasing Facebook activity, even adding an easy-to-join Photography Club subgroup. Results were again positive. Their followers increased by more than 300, and they were especially pleased when one member, who had declared that she would never use Facebook, became an enthusiastic member of the Photo Club group.

Putting the community first has strengthened the Friends’ ties to its members, volunteers, and donors—for now and into the future.

To see what other Friends organizations are doing during the time of COVID-19 sign up for the next issue of The Link, a quarterly newsletter from NWRA & CORFA. https://www.refugeassociation.org/friends

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NWRA Fundraising Webinar for Friends

 

NWRA Fundraising Flyer
Click image to go to registration form.

Date: May 12 or May 14, 2020 (two sessions to choose from)
Presented by: Courtney Lewis, NWRA Director of Development

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is sponsoring a webinar exclusively for refuge Friends groups to discuss various fundraising strategies in response to the effects of COVID-19.

The topics of discussion are: Fundraising during COVID-19; Fundraising Events; Foundations, Individual Donors, and Major Donors. If time permits, we will have questions at the end.

Go to the online form to choose the date and time for the session you wish to attend. Connection information will be sent to you the day before the webinar.

“In fifty minutes, Courtney conveyed more useful, practical information on effective fundraising than I’ve heard in sessions many times that long.”  —Mike Baldwin, Ding Darling Wildlife Society

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The Link — Spring 2020 Newsletter

  • Post category:News
  • Reading time:3 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:

We have been so excited to focus our Spring 2020 The Link on the amazing festivals that Friends groups hold across the country. With the current outbreak of coronavirus across the country, we understand that many festivals this spring will likely be canceled to protect the public. We are, however, still sending out this newsletter, in the hopes that we can start a conversation among Friends groups about what works and what doesn’t work with their festivals. We are all likely to have some extra time on our hands over the coming weeks, so let’s figure out how to make these events as successful as possible!

If you travel to National Wildlife Refuges or volunteer with a Friends group, it’s likely that you’ve attended or heard of one of the festivals held at refuges each year. From January’s Festival of the Cranes at Wheeler NWR to April’s Harney County Migratory Bird Festival at Malheur NWR to October’s Wings over Water in 6 North Carolina wildlife refuges, there are opportunities across the country to participate in one of these festivals, learn about the refuge, and meet amazing volunteers.

Community engagement around these festivals is an incredible opportunity to build public support for these fabulous urban and rural refuges. With festival attendees of all ages, from schoolchildren to retirees, wildlife refuges wouldn’t “work” without YOUR support.

But, do you know who else needs to know how incredible your refuge is? Your Senators and Member of Congress. And don’t forget their staff!

If you are running a festival this year, send an invitation to your Congressional delegation. When they see how much their constituents care about their local refuge, then they will too. Trust me, there is no better way to show your elected officials the amazing refuge in their district or state than to show them around your Festival and walk a trail with them.

So, find the email or snail mail address of your Congressional office, and send an invitation! We all win when Congress knows that their wildlife refuge is important and that people love these habitats and wildlife.


Articles in the spring edition of The Link*

  • The Magic of Festivals
    The Link reached out to six Friends groups to ask what they do to make their event special and successful.
  • Are you ready to celebrate?
    A quiz, guidelines, and resources for planning a festival on your refuge.
  • Focus on Friends
    Get to know the Friends of Malheur NWR located in SW Oregon
  • Survey
    Provide feedback on The Link and provide suggestions on topics you would like to see covered in future editions. Seriously, these things don’t publish themselves, we want your input.

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

Continue ReadingThe Link — Spring 2020 Newsletter