Participants defined a Friend, Friends Volunteer, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Volunteer. They learned to distinguish the roles for each following USFWS policies for these program and tested their knowledge by participating in scenarios describing situations that may occur on hatcheries and refuges.
Friends groups along with their FWS Partners have an opportunity to apply for the FWS Friends Mentor Program. The Fall Application is now available. Applications will be accepted until October 31, 2023.
What is the Mentor Program? In many ways, it is just what you want/need it to be. Each mentoring relationship is different but, in a nutshell, Friends and their Refuge Management decide on the topics they would like to learn more about or have help with. That is part of the application. It could be training the board, planning a joint project, or, after this long Covid winter, a reboot to get your board and FWS staff excited about working together again, for example.
Once you have submitted the completed application it will be reviewed by the FWS Friends Coordinator, Linda Schnee, and the Regional Friends Coordinators. If your application is selected, you will be assigned a team of experienced and trained mentors, usually one FWS staff and one Friends Board/Staff person who will work with you on fleshing out an agenda, and then will come to your refuge to conduct a 2-day training.
At the end of that training, your group will identify a set of 3 or 4 objectives that you want to accomplish in the next year. Mentors then check in with you on a regular schedule to offer help, guidance, encouragement, and lots of cheers for the good work you are doing.
Sound like something that your group would benefit from? I’ve been on both sides of mentoring, as a Friends mentor and as a board member of a group being mentored and I can tell you from personal experience that this program provides a couple of skilled “consultants,” for a year, free-of-charge to your Friends group and your Refuge. So, what are you waiting for? Get that application going!
Friends, please join us to learn more about the forthcoming reporting system for Friends groups. This reporting system will be easy to use, not overly burdensome, and accessible to both Friends members and Service staff. In this webinar, we will demo the form and answer any and all questions you may have.
Presenter: Linda Schnee, National Friends Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Did you know that it takes more than 18 months for the annual NWRS budget to become a reality? This ranges from the development of the President’s budget request to the ultimate passing of a bill by Congress and Friends groups can play a role. Eric discussed:
Formulation of the budget
Presentation of the budget
Execution & Performance
Tips for Friends
The federal budget process signals our nation’s priorities. The discussion was an opportunity to learn how the priorities are established for the National Wildlife Refuge System and how we can provide our input.
Presenter, Eric Alvarez the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Chief, Division of Realty, Budget, Performance, and Workforce
Do you know how land acquisition priorities are determined for USFWS? Can Friends acquire lands? Do you wonder how Friends can influence funding decisions for land acquisition? These topics and more will be covered in this upcoming webinar on land acquisition. We will talk about the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Duck Stamp Programs as well as the 30×30 conservation initiative and its potential impact on Refuges. If you have questions about the role of Friends in land acquisition this webinar is for you.
We are excited to have as our presenter Joe McCauley, who served for 32 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working within the National Wildlife Refuge System as a wildlife refuge manager, land protection planner, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture Coordinator, and Realty Officer and also a past National Wildlife Refuge Association Northeast Regional Representative.