The Link — Spring 2022 Newsletter

  • Post category:News
  • Reading time:6 mins read

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

Spring is taking its time getting to Central Minnesota this year. For several days in mid-March, warm, sunny days got our hopes up, but those hopes were soon dashed by bone-chilling winds, persistent gray clouds, below-normal temperatures, and s-n-o-w—that we’re still experiencing in mid-April. Despite the weather, though, the distinctive sounds of sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and red-winged blackbirds in the wetlands have assured us that Mother Nature is still on schedule; and once the ice goes out and we see loons on the lakes, we’ll know for sure that it’s time to start checking ourselves and our pets for ticks. Ah, spring!

The definition of “spring” varies with location, so we’ve asked some Friends from across the country to send us photos of springtime on their refuges and tell us what special activities are in store for people visiting those refuges in the next couple of months. For example, here at Sherburne, there will be the opening of the Wildlife Drive, a couple of bird hikes, a Spring Celebration, and visits from Partner School students as we cautiously proceed to greet visitors in person after the long COVID-19 hiatus. 

We at The Link hope that you’ll enjoy this issue with photos of spring and other features geared to the interests of Friends everywhere.

Our Spring Features Include:

Read All Of The Stories!

Sue Hix, Editor
Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge


The Spring 2022 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 And please add 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 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 — Spring 2022 Newsletter

Friends Photo Contest Winner for March

There is a winner! Bob Glennon is the winner of the March Photo Contest whose theme was the “Refuge System’s Birthday. Friends were encouraged to show what makes their refuge unique.

Bob shared with us captivating photos of the early bloomers at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. These early bloomers will produce the berries the black bears that reside on the refuge. Bob, also captured a great photo of the black bear.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a 160,000-acre refuge on the mainland of Dare County in northeastern North Carolina. It was established in 1984 under the authority of the Emergency Wetland Conservation Act. The refuge is underlain by hydric (wetland) soils, most of which are deep organic (muck and peat) soils. The refuge was established to protect those wetlands and the pocosin plant community that exists there. The refuge is home to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s trust species migratory birds (waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and songbirds) and endangered species (red wolves). Black bears are a resident species and are a notable attraction to refuge visitors for wildlife observation and photography. The peninsula on which the refuge is located has the largest population density of black bears in North Carolina. The pocosin habitat has a dense understory of shrubs that produce an abundance of berries. Male bears (boars) can be seen year-round. Female bears (sows) bring their cubs out into open fields in May and they can be seen throughout the summer and fall.

The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society manages 4 refuge stores at different refuges and coordinates 200 volunteers who donate an average of 25,000 hours of service every year on the area’s 9 refuges. The Society employs a full time store manager and volunteer coordinator. Volunteers staff the visitor centers and refuge stores; maintain buildings, grounds, and equipment; lead tours, and conduct programs.

Continue ReadingFriends Photo Contest Winner for March

Does Your Friends Group Have the Right Insurance Coverage?

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

Do you and your Board wonder about what kinds of insurance you need and how to assess your risks? Want to know what the Friends Partnership Agreement means by “Indemnifying the Department of Interior”? Some of the most frequently asked questions to NWRA and CORFA are about Friends insurance needs. Below are links to the recording and other materials from and mentioned during the webinar.

A huge thank you to our very knowledgable presenter, Matthew Lokan of Bliss Sequoia Insurance & Risk Advisors.

Continue ReadingDoes Your Friends Group Have the Right Insurance Coverage?

Building Relationships That Support Your Mission

  • Post category:Advocacy
  • Reading time:1 mins read
early morning fog along Green River

This webinar his webinar presented by CORFA and NWRA was focused on how to build relationships on Capitol Hill and in your community that support your mission and your refuge or hatchery. We explored who to build those relationships with, what to discuss, when is the best time, why it’s important, and the importance of maintaining these relationships into the future.

A recording of this webinar, the slide deck and resource sheet are on this website under the Resource Center tab.

Photo credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS

Continue ReadingBuilding Relationships That Support Your Mission

NWRA Announces O’Brien Prize for Refuge Friends Groups

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

The National Wildlife Refuge Association is excited to announce the third installment of the O’Brien Prize, an annual award for our Friends groups. The prize is named after Donal O’Brien III, a past Board Chair and longtime enthusiast of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Don is a generous supporter of the great work we do for national wildlife refuges and is very impressed by the dedication and effectiveness of Refuge Friends groups. 

Last year, the Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex won the O’Brien Prize for their Bilingual Trail Video Project. They created short trail videos in English and Spanish showcasing the plants, animals, and habitats found within the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, and the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. 

This year, we are offering a prize of up to $3,000. In order to apply, please use this application form. Please email the completed form back to us by April 18th, 2022. We plan to announce the winner/s at the end of April. 

Thank you for everything you do for your local refuge and for the National Wildlife Refuge System. We are very proud to call you our partners and recognize the very important work you all do. We look forward to receiving your application. 

Continue ReadingNWRA Announces O’Brien Prize for Refuge Friends Groups