June Photo Contest Winner

The June Photo Contest theme was “Celebrate Take a Hike Day” and “Get Outdoors Day”. Lisa Mayo with the Friends of Blackwater NWR submitted the winning photos of the Marsh Edge Trail at Blackwater NWR, Cambridge, Maryland, The Marsh Edge Trail is one of Lisa’s favorite trail at Blackwater NWR because it has great water views of the rivers at the refuge. It’s closed for part of the year due to nesting bald eagles and herons along the trail, but when it’s open to the public, everyone enjoys the trail and its awesome river boardwalk that the Friends helped fund with money we raised from our Wild Goose Chase women’s bicycle ride.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in Maryland and was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. The Friends of Blackwater is a nonprofit citizen’s support group founded in 1987, assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff to carry out their educational, interpretive, and public use missions. One of the ways the Friends do this is by supporting maintenance of the land and paddling trails at the refuge. Most recently, the Friends built and installed six new bridges along the Woods Trail and installed bike racks at all the trailheads. The Marsh Edge Trail is a popular waterfront trail with an active eagle’s nest. For this trail the Friends paid for signage, Romtec toilet roof repairs and the installation of a scenic river boardwalk using proceeds from the Wild Goose Chase women’s bicycle ride, which is an annual event run by the Friends that has raised over $175,000 for the refuge. The Friends have also supported maintenance of the paddling trails at the refuge since 2003, and have raised money in the past to install kiosks and update signage along the trails. Helping to provide wildlife-friendly recreational access to the refuge has been just one way the Friends of Blackwater enjoy supporting refuge visitors. 

Congratulations, Lisa!

Photo credits: Lisa Mayo with the Friends of Blackwater NWR

Continue ReadingJune Photo Contest Winner

Realty 101: What Is The Role Of Friends In Land Acquisition?

  • Post category:Advocacy
  • Reading time:2 mins read

Wednesday, June 29th, 2:00 pm ET

Do you know how land acquisition priorities are determined for USFWS? Can Friends acquire lands? Do you wonder how Friends can influence funding decisions for land acquisition? These topics and more will be covered in this upcoming webinar on land acquisition. We will talk about the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Duck Stamp Programs as well as the 30×30 conservation initiative and its potential impact on Refuges. If you have questions about the role of Friends in land acquisition this webinar is for you. 

We are excited to have as our presenter Joe McCauley, who served for 32 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working within the National Wildlife Refuge System as a wildlife refuge manager, land protection planner, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture Coordinator, and Realty Officer and also a past National Wildlife Refuge Association Northeast Regional Representative.

Sign up now!

Photo credit: Arrowleaf balsamroot on the National Elk Refuge, WY | Hannah Bradburn / USFWS

Continue ReadingRealty 101: What Is The Role Of Friends In Land Acquisition?

Chat with the Chief of the Refuge System

  • Post category:Funding
  • Reading time:1 mins read

What’s In The President’s FY 23 Budget?

Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, discussed the FY2023 Budget Request with Friends on May 25, 2022.

For the recording of the Zoom call and additional information.

A huge thank you to our very knowledgeable presenters, Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System and Eric Alvarez Chief of Real Estate.

Continue ReadingChat with the Chief of the Refuge System

May Photo Contest Winner

The May Photo Contest winning photos were submitted by Lisa Mayo. These stunning photographs show Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at Blackwater NWR, Cambridge, Maryland, enjoying the Red Columbine in the Refuge’s Butterfly and Beneficial Insect Garden, which is maintained by Refuge volunteers.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in Maryland and was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. The Friends of Blackwater is a nonprofit citizen’s support group founded in 1987, assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff to carry out their educational, interpretive, and public use missions. The Friends are an all-volunteer organization that is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2022. The Friends have over 500 members that contribute volunteer labor at the refuge, as well as fundraising and advocacy support. Among their activities are to help maintain land and paddling trails at the Refuge, staff events like the Eagle Festival, conduct free bird walks, support enhancements to the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center, raise funds, apply for grants, run several on-site wildlife cameras that are shared online, host the annual Wild Goose Chase Women’s Bicycle Ride, assist with biological surveys, staff the information desk, and manage the Refuge gift shop. In 2022, they held their first public photo contest and began offering public Night Sky Tours, using a powerful telescope the Friends purchased, and now operate in the dark-sky landscape of the refuge. With shrinking federal budgets, support by the Friends of Blackwater is vital to giving Refuge visitors the best experience possible.

I am so impressed by this Friends organization and all the projects and events they do to support their Refuge. Congratulations Lisa and the Friends of Blackwater NWR!!

Photo credit: Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at Blackwater NWR by Lisa Mayo

Continue ReadingMay Photo Contest Winner

Wildlife Babies Signal the Arrival of Spring

  • Post category:News
  • Reading time:2 mins read

The April Photo Contest winner was a photo by Les Heiserman of a Canada Goose and six goslings. Les captured the amazing image at the D.C Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives in Spearfish, South Dakota. Nancy Cole, Booth Society Friends Gift Shop Manager and Assistant Director submitted this winning photo. The pair of geese have been nesting on the island for at least the last 9 years. Visitors to the Hatchery eagerly await their arrival.

Canada Goose and six goslings
Photo Credit: Les Heiserman

Established in 1896, D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, formerly Spearfish National Fish Hatchery, is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country dedicated to fish culture and resource management. The Hatchery is located within the town Spearfish, South Dakota. 

In partnership with the USFWS, the Booth Society Friends group manages visitor services, the volunteer program, educational and outreach programs, coordinates special events and community outreach, manages retail sales, advocates for the hatchery, coordinates rentals in Ruby’s Garden, and supports Friends Groups nationally.  As a non-profit, citizen-based group, the Society relies on donations, sales, and City subsidy funding to promote, preserve, and enhance the educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery for our 190,000 plus visitors each year. Founded in 1989 the Booth Society staff of two relies heavily on our seasonal volunteers to help staff the historical venues. In 2021 we celebrated 125 years of the rich history the hatchery has established throughout the community and region. With our dedicated partners we are committed to sharing the treasured D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives for generations to come. 

MISSION STATEMENT:  Promoting, preserving and enhancing the educational, cultural and recreational opportunities at D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. 

Continue ReadingWildlife Babies Signal the Arrival of Spring