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.

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Internal Controls: Tools For Building Trust

  • Post category:Management
  • Reading time:1 mins read
man pointing finger at dots on a screen

Friends on February 11, 2021 Willem Stoeller presented the webinar, Internal Controls for Friends Organizations: Tools for Building Trust.

The webinar focused on:

  • Minimum set of required policies to guide your operations
  • Minimum set of financial internal controls

Here are the materials from the webinar:

We would like to thank Willem from The Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex for hosting such an amazing opportunity for Refuge Friends.

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Friends, Connecting with Your Community?

bird singing

Friends have stories to tell, and The Link staff would like to share them with our readers! Send us a short account about the creative ways you’ve found to network and promote your refuge, hatchery, or organization during these COVID times. Then we’ll publish them in our spring issue, due out in April.

Without the usual in-person meetings, fundraisers, special events, festivals, and county fairs, we’ve all had to find new ways to stay connected with our communities. What has worked for you? Please let us know! A few sentences are adequate, or if you’re ambitious, send a couple of paragraphs—it’s like writing a Facebook post! Then attach a photo if you have one and send to: by Friday, March 12.

(Photo: Bruce Ellingson)

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CORFA 1st Annual Report

  • Post category:Management
  • Reading time:1 mins read
Monarch butterfly feeding on milkweed flowers.

CORFA wants to share our first annual report with Friends. It has been a year of transformation, speared on by the desire by Friends to strengthen the network of Friends working together to support each other and the national refuge and hatchery system. In the COVID-19 Friends are continuing to do incredible work in support of their organizations, communities, and national wildlife refuge and hatcheries. Thank you everyone.

Photo credit: Krista Lundgren/USFWS

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The Link — Winter 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.

Letter from Caroline Brouwer, VP of Government Affairs, NWRA:

The Friends stories included in this edition of The Link are truly inspiring. It is difficult to believe that we are coming up on almost a full year of closed Visitor Centers and canceled events. Yet we have persevered and created communities that perhaps would have remained unfound without the trials of Zoom and social distancing. Many national wildlife refuges have seen visitor numbers skyrocket, with folks desperate to escape the mundanity of their homes.

Yet we cannot forget the many Americans who have been sickened or killed by this virus. I hope that your local refuge has been a place of peace for you during this time. 

At the National Wildlife Refuge Association, we have spent the last year working hard to maintain the integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System and defending the incredible gains made over the life of the Refuge System. Now, as we march forward into the Biden Administration, we anticipate increased protections for vulnerable national wildlife refuges and expansion of land and ocean refuge units. And of course, we will fight tooth and nail to increase funding. We hope to be able to travel to your refuge this year, and to visit with many of you in person! 

Thank you for all that you do for the Refuge System, and for all your advocacy on behalf of your local refuge and the entire National Wildlfie Refuge System!

Caroline Brouwer
Vice President of Government Affairs
National Wildlife Refuge Association

Friends, Your Comments Are Needed! 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is in the process of updating the Friends policy including the Friends Partnership Agreement.

Friends, as the key partner of USFWS, your input is now needed on the second draft of the Friends policy. The policy will impact your organization therefore your comments are vital. USFWS has provided the “clean” second draft of the policy and a redline version that shows the changes to the policy that was released in 2014. 

All of these documents are on the Coalition of Refuge Friends and Advocates (CORFA) Google drive and website. Please review them.

To help USFWS with the collection and review of your comments they are providing a form for you to submit comments. To ensure that USFWS will see every comment they request that you fill out a separate form for each comment.

The deadline for comments is Monday, February 8, 2021

Please provide USFWS with your comments on the policy and Agreement because they will help shape the partnership between the Friends and USFWS.

Refuge Friends Stories From Across The Country

Had anyone asked us in late 2019 about our plans and expectations for the coming year, few of us would have predicted or even been able to imagine what lay ahead. Since COVID-19 emerged early in 2020, we’ve experienced so many disappointments and personal losses that we’ve probably lost count. However, resilient as we must be, we have mourned, adjusted, rearranged, postponed, canceled, pondered, and reimagined—likely several times. The same can be said of refuge and hatchery Friends as they changed course during the year to stay positive, stay afloat, and succeed despite facing challenges as novel as the virus itself. This issue is dedicated to celebrating those many Friends who support refuges and hatcheries nationwide. We hope you’ll enjoy and even be inspired by the following stories shared by some of them. Here’s to health, happiness, and success to you all in 2021!

-Sue Hix, Editor

Read Refuge Friends’ Stories!*

The Winter 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 — Winter 2021 Newsletter