Read more about the article The Link — Spring 2021 Newsletter
Sherburne NWR

The Link — Spring 2021 Newsletter

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

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

The other day a fellow Friends member asked why we have both CORFA and NWRA. Well, the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) and the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) are partners who have different but complementary purposes. 

CORFA began in 2013 as a Facebook group set up by a Friend to help Friends stay connected and share information during a Federal government shutdown. This grassroots effort evolved into a space for Friends to help Friends and ultimately the public lands and waters we support. This is an all-volunteer effort that has grown to almost 800 folks willing to ask for and give each other help. 

CORFA’s purpose is to foster a network of nonprofit organizations supporting the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System with the goals of:

  • Promoting and creating ways for Friends to share their knowledge so their groups can be stronger organizations.
  • Supporting collaborative efforts between Friends, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NWRA, and others. 
  • Expanding our ability to advocate for the needs of our organizations and public lands partners.

NWRA is the leading voice advocating on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System with the vision of inspiring nationwide support for the National Wildlife Refuge System, its wildlife, and habitats. Friends, you are the major portion of that nationwide support. Your willingness to stand up and share your knowledge and stories about your refuges or hatcheries is the best tool for motivating others to protect these places. 

NWRA, CORFA, and Friends make a great team. CORFA’s focus is the Friends community, the groups that are instrumental in making the Service sites community assets. NWRA’s focus is advocating for the National Wildlife Refuge System and inspiring Friends to stand up for their refuge or hatchery. 

Together we work to tap into the strengths of the Friends community so we can effectively protect our wildlife, lands, and waters. Our joint efforts, of which you all are a part, include this quarterly newsletter, The Link; webinars; an evolving Friends website; and speaking out for the needs of your organizations, refuges, and hatcheries. CORFA members volunteer their experiences and time. NWRA provides its expertise and financial support. 

We ask each and every one of you to participate, promote, and give to this effort that connects, strengthens, and celebrates the community of Friends.

Joan Patterson and the CORFA Team
Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates

Caroline Brouwer
National Wildlife Refuge Association

From the Editor

We asked you to tell us how your Friends are connecting with your communities to promote your refuges and hatcheries despite COVID, and you responded! From a mobile classroom to an art walk booth, from a hiking ambassador to hosting the grand opening of a new trail, some Friends were able to connect safely in person—usually outdoors and socially distanced. Others explored the possibilities offered by digital tools—planning online or hybrid events and annual meetings, offering a unique gift to special donors, using technology to meet grant requirements. It will be interesting to see whether and how we continue to incorporate these novel approaches in the future.

Sue Hix, Editor

Please enjoy reading and learning from the stories offered by these Friends!

Read All Of the Stories!


The Spring 2021 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

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

Continue ReadingThe Link — Spring 2021 Newsletter

A Tool to Attract Donors: GuideStar Seal of Transparency

  • Post category:FundingManagement
  • Reading time:1 mins read
great blue heron next to pond

Are you aware of the benefits of obtaining a GuideStar Seal of Transparency? The Seal provides you an opportunity to provide donors and partners insight into your work beyond your tax return. This webinar presented by Aimee Arent, Executive Director of Friends of Ottawa NWR in Ohio, and Catherine Fox, Past-President of the Friends of the Hawaiian Islands, covered:

  • What is a GuideStar seal,
  • Why the seal is important to their groups,
  • How to obtain a seal, and
  • Benefits they have discovered

Here are the materials from their April 7, 2021 presentation:

We thank Aimee and Catherine for sharing their expertise. 

Continue ReadingA Tool to Attract Donors: GuideStar Seal of Transparency

The 2021 O’Brien Prize: An Opportunity For Your Refuge Friends Group!

  • Post category:Funding
  • Reading time:2 mins read
Lisa Hupp/USFWS

The National Wildlife Refuge Association has an opportunity for you!! Through the generosity of some of our great Board Members, we are announcing our 2021 O’Brien Prize, an annual award for Refuge 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.

This year we are offering one $2,500 prize. Please see our application. It should be pretty easy and take little time for you to fill it out. Please email the completed form to Caroline Brouwer, or reply to this email by May 5th. We plan to announce the award recipient at the end of May. 

Thank you for everything you do for your Refuge and for the National Wildlife Refuge System. We at the National Wildlife Refuge Association are very proud to call you all our partners and recognize the very important work you all do, every day, every week, and year after year for all national wildlife refuges across the country. 

Thank you,

Geoffrey L. Haskett
President, National Wildlife Refuge Association

Continue ReadingThe 2021 O’Brien Prize: An Opportunity For Your Refuge Friends Group!

Virtual Nature Program

Announcement of nature program with a fern

Jump into springtime and join Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge as they bring nature programs to you—right in the comfort of your own home. 
Join one (or more!) of their virtual programs. Check back often to see what else they have to offer!
Just like when you visit Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, these programs are free and open to the public.
​To check out the full listing of programs go to

Continue ReadingVirtual Nature Program

Chat with the Chief

  • Post category:News
  • Reading time:1 mins read
coyote on a dirt road

On March 17, 2021, Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, provided an update on incoming USFWS and Department of the Interior leadership and how the Refuge System fits into the Biden Administration’s priorities.

Below are links to the recording and the Conserving the Future document.
Webinar Recording,
Conserving the Future,

We would like to thank Cynthia Martinez for presenting and for the inspiring work she does on behalf of our national wildlife refuges.

Continue ReadingChat with the Chief