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

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

Making Your Website More Accessible & Inclusive

  • Post category:Technology
  • Reading time:2 mins read
field covered in snow

Webinar on Wednesday, January 19th at 2:00 pm eastern

According to the CDC, about one in four American adults has some type of disability. Some of these disabilities can affect vision, motor skills, and cognitive function – limitations that can fundamentally change the way someone uses the web.

This webinar will help you reach more supporters by increasing the accessibility of your website and broaden the reach of your online content and make it more inclusive for everyone.

Lisa Mayo; Friends of Blackwater NWR board member, Senior Web Accessibility Analyst and Certified Trusted Tester, will discuss:

  • Evaluating the accessibility of your website using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) checklist, which is used by the federal government to determine accessibility.
  • Testing the accessibility of elements of your website like: page title, keyboard accessibility, page magnification, descriptive link text, link styling, and alternative text.
  • Using helpful tools such as a WCAG checklist, free automated auditing programs, and guidance for social media and multimedia accessibility.
  • How Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 might impact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ability to link to Friends’ websites.

Sign Up Today!

Continue ReadingMaking Your Website More Accessible & Inclusive