This webinar helps your refuge and hatchery friends group leverage social media to share your story and support campaigns. We covered best practices for creating engaging content, building an online community, and amplifying your message to a wider audience. We’ll also share tips and tools for using social media to support the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s ongoing refuge staffing crisis campaign and provide a toolkit to help you get started.
Earlier this year the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) with the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) hosted three-sharing sessions. The goal of the sessions was to bring Refuge and Hatchery Friends organizations together virtually to share information regarding the impacts of inadequate funding and reduced staffing. 73 Participants from across the country attended the three-sharing sessions.
Friends members shared their observations, examples, and stories about the impacts insufficient budgets are having on their refuge and hatchery partners, their organizations, and communities. The comments of the participants were compiled and general themes emerged. A white paper with the findings from the sharing-sessions is housed in CORFA Resource Center. The themes that emerged from the sharing-sessions are being used to help Friends organizations build messages to local, regional, and national representatives to make them aware of the need for adequate funding and staffing for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs.
On behalf of CORFA, I want to thank Sue Wilder for organizing the sharing-sessions and composing the white paper. We all want to express our appreciation to all the Friends that participated in the sessions and were so willing to share their observations and experiences.
Ken Kupchak’s post of Hakalau Forest NWR was the April winner. Ken shared that the Refuge is “a place to hang out, contemplate, share with a “Friend” in the most special places around.” Ken is always posting interesting photos of this incredible Refuge so check the Facebook page often.
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1985, consists of 2 distinct parcels. The Hakalau Forest Unit is a 32,830-acre parcel on the windward slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawai’i Island. In 1997 the USFWS purchased 5,300 acres south of Kailua-Kona, on the slopes of Mauna Loa, which became the Kona Forest Unit. In 2019, an additional 10,000 acres were added to the Kona Unit through the purchase of McCandless Ranch lands adjacent to the original parcel, making the total acreage for the Kona Forest Unit 15,448 acres.
The higher elevation Hakalau Forest Unit contains some of the finest remaining stands of native montane rain forest in Hawai’i and habitat for 29 critically endangered species including 7 birds, 1 insect, 1 mammal and 20 plants found nowhere else in the world. Currently, it is the only place in Hawai’i where native forest bird populations are stable or increasing.
The lower elevation Kona Forest Unit is predominantly ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees with an understory of nonnative trees & shrubs & home to a number of endangered birds, plants & one insect. This area was home to the last wild pair of ʻalalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) in 2002. The primary purpose of this unit is to protect, conserve and manage this native forest for threatened or endangered species.
The Friends organization was established in 2006 and provides vital fundraising, volunteer and advocacy support to help make Hakalau Forest NWR one of the most significant refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The mission of the Friends of Hakalau Forest (FOHF) is to support the USFWS’s efforts at the Hakalau and Kona Forest Units in terms of preserving, protecting and restoring the biological diversity at both locations, while simultaneously providing opportunity for wildlife-dependent recreation such as birding or photography, education, cultural experiences and scientific research.
FOHF has contributed directly to the quality of habitat at Hakalau Forest NWR by such efforts as providing volunteer labor to propagate and out-plant native trees and rare plants, conducting weed control efforts and by raising funds for the construction of much needed facilities including a 10,000-gallon tank to store water for the plant nursery and a new roof for the Volunteer Cabin.
Congratulations Ken and the Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR!
Friends, CORFA, and NWRA held their first of a series of webinars on April 12th on how to craft effective messages about the refuge and hatchery systems’ funding crisis. In this webinar, recently shared stories of staffing impacts were reviewed towards building messages to gain support for refuge and hatchery. The recording of this webinar and support materials are now in this website’s Resource Center, Webnars by CORFA/NWRA, Advocacy Webinars.
In the upcoming months, webinars will focus on how to develop and distribute messages using a variety of traditional templates as well as social media and visual aids to help make messaging more impactful.
Jim Osborn’s post of the Bluebird Box Project at Crab Orchard NWR, IL, received the most likes in March. Jim wrote that thanks to this project at the Refuge, the species is making a comeback. Jim shared photos of Volunteer Rick Whitecotton, who along with his wife Ruie regularly monitors 19 of approximately 100 boxes on the Refuge. Other volunteers monitor the rest. One of the photos shows a nest with 6 new eggs! What a great project to help this beautiful bird!
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, located in southern Illinois, was established in 1947. The Refuge’s 44,000 acres of land and water contain a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Major habitat types on the refuge include hardwood forest, agricultural land, grazing units, brushland, wetlands, and lakes. The Refuge provides significant resting areas for migratory birds utilizing the Mississippi Flyway. Wintering numbers of Canada Geese can peak at 200,000. A total of 700 plant species, 245 bird species, 33 mammal species, 63 fish species, and 44 reptile and amphibian species have been documented on the refuge.
The western 24,000 acres of the Refuge provide a wide range of recreational opportunities and include a 4,050-acre wilderness area. The eastern portion, 20,000 acres, is a wildlife sanctuary, and public use is limited. Industrial activities on the Refuge range from manufacturing and storage facilities to administrative offices. Many buildings now housing industries were used in the manufacturing of explosives during World War II, and they are still used for military ordnance production today. The concrete igloos built for munition storage are now leased to private industry for storage of many types of products.
Established in 2000, the Friends of Crab Orchard Refuge have worked collaboratively with the Refuge staff and the community to fundraise, provide volunteer services and support Refuge programs. The Friends are dedicated to enhancing use of the Refuge for wildlife conservation, conservation, recreation agriculture and industry. The Friends have over 180 members and operate the Woodland Gift Shop. They also support the Pollinator Gardens at the Refuge, eradication of invasive botanical species on the Refuge and creation of new habitat. The Friends have also purchased kayaks, archery equipment, picnic tables and more for the Refuge.
Congratulation Jim and the Friends of Crab Orchard NWR!