Congress’ summer recess is fast approaching and Friends we thought this Infographic would be a fun way to remember the basic steps for connecting with your members of Congress. Getting your lawmakers or their staff to your site is the most effective way to get them to actively support your refuge or hatchery.
Friends, if you need additional information on connecting with and educating your members of Congress go to our Resource Center tab to help you and our Facebook group is a great way to ask questions and hear from other Friends around the country.
This Infographic is for ADVOCACY purposes only. What’s advocacy? Simply actively supporting your site and trying to get others to also support it. Lobbying is asking for a lawmaker or their staff to take specific action on legislation such as the Federal budget. Friends can not lobby on USFWS managed sites.
The Infographic was created through a partnership with Coastal Refuges, the trade name of Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges. The original illustrations were done by Ronni Ochoa and the Infographic was created by Matthew Emmer.
If you haven’t invited your members of Congress to your site, please do so. As Volunteer Vinnie states, ”Connecting with members of Congress is not as scary as it sounds and can be a lot of fun!”
Friends, we thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and commitment to these wonderful places that help conserve America’s wildlife.
Joan Patterson Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates
The monarch butterfly, like so many butterflies, is a remarkable and beautiful insect. Its beauty lies not only in its physical appearance but also in its remarkable life cycle, migration, symbolism, and ecological significance. One of the most remarkable aspects of monarch butterflies is their long-distance migration. Every year, millions of monarchs undertake an incredible journey, flying thousands of miles from Canada and the United States to Mexico or Southern California. This natural phenomenon showcases their resilience and adds to their enchantment.
The monarch butterfly population has been declining in recent years due to habitat loss, climate change, and pesticide use. As a result, their beauty becomes even more precious and a symbol of the need to protect and preserve our natural environment. Butterflies serves as a reminder of the wonders of nature and the importance of conservation efforts to ensure its continued existence.
The Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for a pollinator garden to create habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. It has been a huge success. The garden provides an opportunity for visitors to learn about the importance of native plants and their role in supporting local wildlife, including pollinators. It showcases different gardening techniques that can be used to create wildlife-friendly habitats, such as planting native species, incorporating water features, and creating nesting structures.
In addition to its educational value, the garden also offers a peaceful and scenic setting for visitors to enjoy. It provides a chance to observe birds, butterflies, and other wildlife that are attracted to the diverse plant life within the garden. The garden and the milkweed field attract monarch butterflies who rely on milkweed plants as their exclusive host plant for laying eggs and as a food source for their caterpillars. The Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, along with refuge staff, work to maintain and restore milkweed populations within the refuge. By ensuring a healthy supply of milkweed and other nectar-rich plants, they provide crucial resources for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (CONWR) is a 43,890-acre national wildlife refuge located in southern Illinois. Established in 1947, the refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Its primary objectives are to provide habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, conserve natural resources, and offer recreational opportunities to the public.
The refuge is supported by the Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the refuge’s mission. The Friends group consists of individuals passionate about conservation and wildlife preservation. They contribute their time, resources, and expertise to assist with habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, environmental education, and community outreach initiatives. The group organizes events, workshops, and guided tours that promote environmental awareness and engage the local community in conservation activities. To find out more about the Friends go to Friends of Crab Orchard NWR.
In summary, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is a diverse wildlife habitat that provides essential resources for a variety of species, including butterflies like the monarch. The Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge play a key role in supporting the refuge’s mission and working towards the conservation and preservation of butterflies and other wildlife.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is collecting a second round of comments on their plan to transition away from lead ammunition for all hunting and lead tackle for fishing starting September 1, 2026. Over the next three years, the Refuge staff will provide outreach and educational opportunities for hunters/anglers to learn about lead impacts and available alternatives.
Please submit your comments supporting this plan. Transitioning away from lead will minimize the inadvertent exposure and lead poisoning of bald and golden eagles, as well as other scavenging species. This would be especially good news for our large eagle population at Blackwater NWR. If you support this move to non-lead ammunition and fishing tackle, please visit the Blackwater NWR website to see how you can email your comments by August 22. If you submitted comments in August 2022, please submit them again this year. Thanks for your support of our wildlife.
The Link is a quarterly newsletter produced in coordination between Friends, the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Coalition of Refuge Friends & Advocates.
The last time that refuge and hatchery Friends organizations from across the country came together at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, to learn, network, and expand their horizons was for the memorable Moving Friends Forward (aka “Snowmageddon”) workshop in January 2016. Many changes and challenges later, the National Friends Workshop of April 2023 again attracted Friends from near and far.
This year, however, the participants included younger Friends and people new to Friends organizations; and workshop sessions included topics—like combining culture and science, building your digital skills toolkit, and diversity/inclusion—that would not have appeared on the 2016 agenda. Refuge/hatchery staffing shortages and budget concerns were top of mind. These factors combined for a busy and very interactive few days.
Your editorial staff was heavily involved in helping to plan and host this year’s workshop, so we decided to take a “roving reporter” approach to our coverage; however, Friends were so focused on attending sessions, networking with new Friends, and meeting during meals and social time that it was difficult to interrupt long enough to get photos and ask for impressions of the NCTC experience. Read on to hear from a few of those who we managed to corral.
The Friends of Kauaʻi Wildlife Refuges always post wonderful videos of their beautiful Refuges and the amazing wildlife found there. So, we are spotlighting their Refuges this month.
Friends of Kauaʻi Wildlife Refugessupports the environmental and wildlife conservation, historic preservation and community education programs of the Kauaʻi National Wildlife Refuge Complex and includes Kīlauea Point NWR, Hanalei NWR and Hulēʻia NWR.
The Friends help to fill in the gaps in the programs administered by the Refuge team by providing funding and Friends group staffing to support a variety of refuge priorities. Friends of Kauaʻi Wildlife Refuges also manages the Friends Nature Store and Visitor Center at Kīlauea Point NWR, supports environmental education programs, administers an annual scholarship, conducts community outreach and much more!
The Refuge consists of managed wetlands that mimic the unique natural Hawaiian wetland systems, which provide all the necessary life history requirements for native Hawaiian and migratory waterbird species. In addition to the five threatened and endangered waterbirds for which the refuge is primarily managed to protect, 49 other species of birds also use the Refuge.
Hulē‘ia National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1973 to recover threatened and endangered species, including the koloa (Hawaiian duck), ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian coot), ʻalae ʻula (Hawaiian Gallinule), aeʻo (Hawaiian Stilt) and nēnē (Hawaiian Goose). The Refuge is comprises 241 acres and is located near the city of Līhu‘e.
The Refuge team is also charged with the preservation and maintenance of the Daniel K. Inouye Kīlauea Point Lighthouse and lighthouse keepers’ homes, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Out of public view is a comprehensive multi-partner wildlife conservation project entitled the Nihokū Ecosystem Restoration Project. The project was developed in 2012 to provide a predator-free nesting area for ʻaʻo (Newell’s Shearwaters) and ʻuaʻu (Hawaiian Petrels), Hawaiʻi’s only two endemic seabirds, and enhance existing breeding colonies of mōlī (Laysan Albatross) and nēnē (Hawaiian Goose