The Link — Fall 2020 Newsletter

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:

As you are reading this, refuge staff are wrapping up their work under the current fiscal year (FY 2020) and beginning to implement their plans for this next year of work (FY 2021). Most visitor centers remain closed due to COVID-19, yet visitors are flocking to refuges to recreate, bird watch, hunt waterfowl, and get outside. Last year, over 59 million people visited wildlife refuges, and I’m sure that number is up dramatically due to the lockdowns.

Here in Washington, DC, Congress will be in recess the entire month of October to campaign in their states and districts before the election on November 3. Not only is this year a presidential election, but all members of Congress are on the ballot and 33 Senators are up for re-election. Please remember to get out and vote either by absentee/mail-in ballot or in person!

This year has seen some enormous successes for wildlife refuges. With your help, and the help of many partners, we got the Great American Outdoors Act passed. This act provides full and dedicated funding for land acquisition through the Land and Water Conservation Fund plus Refuge System backlog funding of $475 million over 5 years. This bill is one of the greatest conservation accomplishments in many years, and we appreciate all your help in getting it across the finish line!

Refuge Friends continue to be a critical part of the work we do. Last year, 56 Friends groups donated to the Refuge Association. As you know, a nonprofit is constantly fundraising, so we appreciate your support! We held our first quarterly Friends call on September 16 and are planning our second call in December 2020. Stayed tuned for a date and time! In February, we will be asking Friends groups to submit testimony to Congress on the state of their refuge—we need all of your voices to be heard!

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather!


Articles in the fall edition of The Link*

A Budget – All Friends Should Have One
Budget—it’s not always a favorite task but is one that Friends boards are responsible to undertake on a regular basis. Creating a budget and regularly reviewing it allows members, donors, prospects, and grant-makers to review your strategic priorities and gauge the health of your organization.

So You’ll Be Meeting with a Donor
Regardless of your Friends organization’s fiscal year-end, you will likely want to solicit donations as 2020 draws to a close. Why focus on year-end campaigns?

Creative Fundraising – Virtual and Otherwise
Successful organizations, including refuge Friends, must be nimble and able to pivot should circumstances require them to adjust to new or unexpected circumstances. We are pleased to share some ideas that are allowing Friends to continue raising funds, pay their bills, and support refuge projects as the pandemic continues.

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

The Link — Summer 2020 Newsletter

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:

As COVID-19 continues to restrict normal warm-season activities, we know that Friends organizations across the country are redirecting their energy to find new ways to support their refuges and fish hatcheries. Spring events have gone virtual, nature store managers are trying online sales for the first time, and boards and volunteers are using Zoom and other online tools to connect, plan, and complete work safely “from a distance.”

Here at the Refuge Association, we want to invite Friends who can’t pursue their usual on-site volunteer activities to direct efforts to advocacy—whether this be by contacting their legislators about issues affecting the Refuge System or by taking time to develop their advocacy knowledge and skills. With this in mind, we will be offering a summer webinar series about communicating with Congress members, focused on their district and state offices. We’re also planning quarterly calls to keep you up to date on important issues here in DC. Our first call will be in September. And of course, our Action Alerts and letter “sign-on” requests will continue when your virtual voices are needed to support actions that will fund and protect refuges.

We hope you’ll enjoy this issue, which focuses on examples of Friends who have been making the best of these pandemic days to continue their work in creative ways.


Articles in the summer edition of The Link*

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

The Link — Spring 2020 Newsletter

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:

We have been so excited to focus our Spring 2020 The Link on the amazing festivals that Friends groups hold across the country. With the current outbreak of coronavirus across the country, we understand that many festivals this spring will likely be canceled to protect the public. We are, however, still sending out this newsletter, in the hopes that we can start a conversation among Friends groups about what works and what doesn’t work with their festivals. We are all likely to have some extra time on our hands over the coming weeks, so let’s figure out how to make these events as successful as possible!

If you travel to National Wildlife Refuges or volunteer with a Friends group, it’s likely that you’ve attended or heard of one of the festivals held at refuges each year. From January’s Festival of the Cranes at Wheeler NWR to April’s Harney County Migratory Bird Festival at Malheur NWR to October’s Wings over Water in 6 North Carolina wildlife refuges, there are opportunities across the country to participate in one of these festivals, learn about the refuge, and meet amazing volunteers.

Community engagement around these festivals is an incredible opportunity to build public support for these fabulous urban and rural refuges. With festival attendees of all ages, from schoolchildren to retirees, wildlife refuges wouldn’t “work” without YOUR support.

But, do you know who else needs to know how incredible your refuge is? Your Senators and Member of Congress. And don’t forget their staff!

If you are running a festival this year, send an invitation to your Congressional delegation. When they see how much their constituents care about their local refuge, then they will too. Trust me, there is no better way to show your elected officials the amazing refuge in their district or state than to show them around your Festival and walk a trail with them.

So, find the email or snail mail address of your Congressional office, and send an invitation! We all win when Congress knows that their wildlife refuge is important and that people love these habitats and wildlife.


Articles in the spring edition of The Link*

  • The Magic of Festivals
    The Link reached out to six Friends groups to ask what they do to make their event special and successful.
  • Are you ready to celebrate?
    A quiz, guidelines, and resources for planning a festival on your refuge.
  • Focus on Friends
    Get to know the Friends of Malheur NWR located in SW Oregon
  • Survey
    Provide feedback on The Link and provide suggestions on topics you would like to see covered in future editions. Seriously, these things don’t publish themselves, we want your input.

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