News Archive 2008
At the December Board of Directors Meeting new officers were installed. Vice President, Rich Eakin was moved up to President of the Board and Ron Leberman is taking over as Vice President. Ron Oswald agreed to become the new Treasurer and Kathleen Palmer will continue in the position of Secretary. We wish to say a big thank you to outgoing President, William Trout. His leadership has guided us through our first formative years.
Help Us Secure $1 Billion for Refuge System!
From the National Wildlife Refuge Association
We know you have received many messages from us lately regarding our efforts to secure $1 billion for the NWRS in the upcoming economic recovery plan. This is such a historic opportunity, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to get the word out!
Pasted below is a draft Letter to the Editor you can use for your local papers; we strongly encourage you or your Friends group to submit something as soon as you can. Local papers are read by EVERY Senator and Representative. One of the first things Congressional staff do every day is check the papers in the state to see what people are writing about; we need to make sure they are seeing letters about Green Jobs for Refuges!
You may need to shorten this letter for submission but be sure to customize the letter with your refuge specific information. You may want to chat with your Refuge Manager or Complex Leader about projects that could happen very quickly on your refuge.
We know this is a lot to ask in the middle of the hectic Holiday Season, but members of Congress and the Transition Team are crafting this package NOW and they have to hear from refuge Friends today!
SAMPLE LETTER TO THE EDITOR
GREEN JOBS FOR REFUGES
Dear Letter's Editor,
The Friends of XXX NWR hope Senators XX and XX and Representative XX will support a plan to put 20,000 Americans to work at National Wildlife Refuges all across the country, including our own XXX NWR, as part of an economic recovery package.
Green Jobs for Refuges would create nearly 20,000 green jobs on national wildlife refuges in all 50 states within 90 days and would help a beleaguered National Wildlife Refuge System, which receives just 57 percent of necessary funding and has a $3.5 billion backlog of high-priority projects. We have seen the results of this funding shortfall at our own refuge with EXAMPLES HERE OF WHAT IS NOT BEING DONE AT YOUR REFUGE DUE TO FUNDING GAPS.
The refuge job-creation plan will combat invasive species and restore native habitat; improve energy efficiencies; provide construction jobs for new LEED certified structures and invest in renewable energy such as solar panels. Projects that could be undertaken at our refuge include: EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS THAT ARE READY TO GO AT YOUR REFUGE.
These projects will keep local construction, electrical, landscaping and other companies working throughout 2009. The Refuge System put thousands of Americans to work as part of a plan to pull the nation out of the Great Depression by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was responsible for much-needed conservation and construction projects on refuges all over the nation.
Once again, we have an opportunity to put people to work and restore America's unique conservation legacy. Congress should support this initiative as part of any stimulus plan.
Stocking Stuffer for Conservation
What better way to celebrate the spirit of the season than by stuffing holiday stockings with a federal Duck Stamp, $15, for everyone who values conservation and the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Ninety-eight cents of every Duck Stamp dollar goes to the purchase of Refuge System land. More than 5 million acres of Refuge System land have been conserved with Duck Stamp revenue.
Federal Duck Stamps give visitors free entry into any national wildlife refuge that charges a fee. Collectors often buy both the Federal and Junior ($5) Duck Stamp because they are beautiful and can go up in value over the years.
Buying a Duck Stamp is easy. Many retail and sporting goods stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses also sell Duck Stamps. Additionally, you can order Duck Stamps online at www.duckstamp.com or by calling 1-800-782-6724. You can also order Duck Stamps from the Postal Service Web site, http://shop.usps.com.
Election of Board Members
At the November 17th Annual Meeting the election of board members was held. Reelected for a second term was Doug Copeland, Ron Leberman and Janet Marvin. Ron Oswald was elected as a new board member and Char Oswald received enough write-in votes to be added as well.
Your current Board of Directors:
Keep Warm this Winter with an Erie NWR Sweatshirt!
This winter we took our popular Erie NWR T-Shirt design, added the 50th anniversary dates in gold, and put it on a sweatshirt! The result is a limited edition sweatshirt you will be proud to own. The sweatshirts come in a variety of colors and sizes and at only $20.00 each you can't afford not to own one. Check them out at the Refuge Headquarters!
2008 Annual Meeting
Our by-laws state that an annual meeting of the Members must be held each year for the purpose of electing the Board of Directors and to transact any other business that may come before the meeting. It is also a chance to meet other members of the Friends of ENWR and to get to know your Board of Directors.
This year's Annual Meeting will be held on Monday, November 17th at the Erie Refuge's Headquarters building in Guys Mills. A "Pot Luck" dinner will be start the evening at 6:30 pm. Bring a casserole, salad, dessert or any other dish you wish to share with our Friends. Tableware and beverages will be provided.
Following dinner our President, Bill Trout, will address the gathering highlighting our accomplishments for the past year and outlining our plans for the future. Questions and suggestions will then be entertained.
The election of Board Members is an important part of every Annual Meeting. Your vote is needed and your nominations are welcome. This year three existing members are up for reelection: Douglas Copeland, Janet Marvin and Ronald Leberman. All have been on the board since the first election held in December of 2006. Ron Oswald has received a nomination and will be on the ballot also. Ron and his wife Char joined the Friends in April of 2008 both have been active in the group since then. We want to remind all members that they are invited and encouraged to attend all Board of Directors meetings.
Poster Contest To Kick Off 50th Anniversary Celebration
Students in K-12th grades may participate in a poster contest for the Erie National Wildlife Refuge. Artwork and text must be the original hand-drawn work of the artist and the poster must say that the refuge is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary in 2009. If plants or animals are to be featured in the artwork they must be native to Penna. and the ENWR. Complete official guidelines and applications will be available at local schools, libraries and at the refuge.
Posters must be received at the Erie Refuge Headquarters by February 1, 2009 and judging will take place that month. Certificates of Participation will be given to all contestants and awards will be given to 1st Place winners in each of four age categories: K-3rd grade, 4-6th grade, 7-9th grade and 10-12th grade. Prizes for 1st Place winners include a ribbon and a $25.00 cash award. Winning artwork will be framed and remain in the Refuge Headquarters and may be featured in 50th Anniversary publicity. A public Open House will be held sometime after the judging to show off all your hard work.
So kids, get out your crayons, sharpen your colored pencils and show your appreciation for your local Refuge!
Hunting Information at Click of Computer Mouse
Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges is the first comprehensive compilation of all 300-plus hunting programs on national wildlife refuges. Now, hunters can learn where they can find their favorite species in specific states by going to the Web at http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/HuntingGuide.pdf
Organized by state, the Hunting Guide gives a brief description of each hunting program> It also indicates which species can be hunted, provides directions to refuges, and contains special stories on hunting safety and archery hunting. Many national wildlife refuges offer hunts and blinds specifically designed for people with disabilities, as well as hunts organized to introduce youngsters to the tradition.
Photo Credit: USFWS
Wildlife Enthusiasts Contribute to National Economy
A report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that expenditures nationwide for wildlife watching equal the revenues generated from all spectator sports, amusement parks and arcades, non-hotel casinos, bowling centers and skiing facilities combined. Using data from the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, the Service's addendum report, Wildlife Watching in the United States: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006, shows wildlife watching not only contributes significantly to people's enjoyment of the outdoors but is a major factor in state and national economies.
In 2006, nearly 71 million Americans, 16 years and older, spent more than $45 billion observing, feeding, and photographing wildlife.
In 2006, the direct expenditures of wildlife watchers generated $122.6 billion in total industrial output. This resulted in 1,063,482 jobs, federal tax revenue of $9.3 billion, and state and local tax revenues of $8.9 billion. The report details the economic impacts of wildlife watching expenditures by state. The top five states ranked by economic output are California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and New York. Direct expenditures by wildlife watchers were for items such as cameras, binoculars and bird food, as well as trip-related expenses such as lodging, transportation and food.
Wildlife Watching in the United States: The Economic Impacts on National and State Economies in 2006 is available at http://library.fws.gov/nat_survey2006_economics.pdf
In addition to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Associated Recreation and its addendum analytical report, individual state reports have also been completed. For more information on fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching in states, visit: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/reports2006.html
“Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!” Gets Kids Off the Couch
A new campaign by the Department of the Interior, titled “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!”, encourages children, educators and families to experience nature firsthand. The program will provide more information for America’s young people about opportunities to get outdoors on national wildlife refuges as well as national parks, national forests and other public lands.
“There is a crisis in America in which our kids are increasingly disconnected from nature,” said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. “We must get children off the couch and outdoors. We must get them to turn off the computers and televisions and turn on to the power of wild places and wild creatures to lift them up – to rejuvenate body, soul and spirit.”
The “Get Outdoors, It’s Yours!” initiative will unite all federal land opportunities under one comprehensive platform and encourage the participation of non-profit land partners to develop a seamless portal for information on destinations, programs, special events, and opportunities for educational adventures.
The National Recreation and Park Association and other national nonprofit groups pledged to support the campaign. The groups include American Forests, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the City Park Alliance, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation, the National Association of State Park Directors, the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Wildlife Federation.
For more information on the new program, go to www.getoutdoorsitsyours.gov. The web site provides lists of places for all sorts of outdoor activities from biking to wildlife viewing, links to agency web sites for youth, games and other useful materials.
Independent Analysis Finds Refuge System Struggles to Meet Goals
An independent evaluation has found that the Refuge System experienced an 11 percent decline in real purchasing power between FY 2003 and the FY 2008 requested budget. As a result, the Refuge System has been unable to maintain its level of operational activity, according to the report from Management Systems International (MSI), which conducted the evaluation between October 2006 and September 2007.
The report, titled, “An Independent Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System,” rated the Refuge System as “ineffective” in meeting two strategic goals:
• Protect resources and visitors through law enforcement.
• Strategically grow the System.
On a positive note, MSI rated the Refuge System as “highly effective” in one strategic goal: facilitating partnerships and cooperative projects. The consultant specifically pointed to the Refuge System’s work with volunteer and Friends organizations as well as state fish and wildlife agencies. MSI calculated that in 2005 alone, partnerships contributed more than $50 million to the Refuge System – with more than $30 million in direct cash contributions.
Among its 11 principle recommendations, MSI advises increasing the number of full-time Refuge System law enforcement officers from the current 200 to 400. While MSI noted that law enforcement training is “sound and improving,” the firm also noted a “critical lack of law enforcement coverage” at most field stations. More than 70 percent of refuge managers indicated they feel law enforcement coverage is “insufficient” at the refuge they manage.
MSI also noted that the rate at which land has been added to the Refuge System had declined “significantly” over the past five years.
For a summary of the 221-page report, go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/policyMakers/pdfs/MSI/NWRS_EvaluationSummaryFINAL_7-15-08_508v.pdf
Student’s 50th Anniversary Poster Contest
At the September's Meeting the Board of Directors agreed to sponsor a student’s 50th Anniversary Poster Contest. A committee was selected to meet with Patty to work on the details of the contest. The committee's suggestions will be presented to the Board at the October meeting. Watch for further details.
Erie National Wildlife Refuge Turns 50 in 2009!
The purchase of the first parcel of land used to establish the Erie National Wildlife Refuge took place in 1959. To cele- brate it's 50th Anniversary the Refuge will be planning many events and activities throughout 2009. Keep an eye on our newsletters and website to stay updated. You won't want to miss out on any of the fun!
Pain at the Pump
By H. Dale Hall
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
With gasoline running about $4 a gallon, Byron Fortier of the Southeast Louisiana Refuge Complex wondered why he hadn’t noticed any fewer people applying for RV pads in exchange for volunteer work at the national wildlife refuge – until one visitor gave away the reason. “We’re all looking for a beautiful place to stay for a while. These days, we can’t afford to drive around.”
National wildlife refuges, not unlike the RV community, are feeling the fuel pinch. Whether it’s operating heavy equipment for maintenance or building a new boardwalk, refuge managers are watching fuel costs take a hefty bite out of their plans. And it could have been worse if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not already been working on energy conservation for years.
Last fiscal year alone, 70 field stations implemented remarkable energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy projects. Nine Service facilities – eight of them on national wildlife refuges – have been designated as Federal Energy Saver Showcases. One of the Showcase winners, Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon won the Service’s Environmental Leadership Award and now reserves three parking spaces for visitors driving hybrid cars.
In Montana, the 1.1 million-acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge launched its environmental management system years ago, addressing everything from upgrading fleet fuel efficiency to creating on-site power generation. And recently, the new administrative and visitor facility at the Nulhegan Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in New England became the first Service facility to receive national ENERGY STAR designation.
We’re making progress, but the ambitious new targets established under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will require substantial investment. Like other federal agencies, the Service is to reduce its energy use by 30 percent by 2015. That level of energy reduction will save some $27 million through fiscal year 2015 – but that goal may cost at least $39 million to reach. However, over the long haul, this investment will give benefits for the Service and the resources we’re working to protect.
We’re committed to the concepts and mission of the Act. And as conservationists, we can view responsible energy management as an extension of our work to sustain the Nation’s natural resources for tomorrow’s generations. As always, refuges are leading a way to that brighter future. So let’s be inspired by this new direction and innovative spirit as we work toward the goal of energy independence.
Something is Killing our Bats
White- Nose Syndrome in the Northeast
White-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats was first documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and has now been found in at least 26 hibernacula (caves and mines where bats hibernate) in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Tens of thousands of bats have been found dead on the ground, on rooftops and in caves.
In just eight of the affected New York caves, mortality appears to range from 80 to 100 percent.
WNS is identified by fungal growths on the bat’s nose, arms and wings, and abnormal behavior such as leaving the hibernaculum in the winter, flying during daylight hours, reduced energy reserves and mortality. Affected and dead bats have very wrinkled wings, and are generally emaciated and severely dehydrated. The fungi which appear on their noses are most likely a symptom and not the cause of mortality. It is unclear what causes the fungi to grow on the bats.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working on white nose syndrome since early 2008; there is a comprehensive and regularly updated Web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/white_nose.html, including recommendations for cavers as well as anyone else who might find dead or dying bats or observe signs of WNS:
1. Contact your state wildlife agency, email WhiteNoseBats@fws.gov or contact the nearest FWS office at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/offices.html.
2. If you need to dispose of a dead bat on your property, pick it up with a plastic bag over your hand, double bag it and throw it away. Thoroughly wash your hands.
3. Decontaminate all clothing, footwear and gear that has been in a cave in an affected area any time over the past two years, whether inhabited by bats or not. (Decontamination procedures are included on the Web site.)
Little brown bats are sustaining the largest number of deaths, but the fungus is also affecting Indiana bats, a federally endangered species, as well as northern long-eared, small-footed, and Eastern pipistrelle bats. WNS is in caves and mines that have been visited by thousands of people since the condition was first documented but there are no reported human illnesses attributable to the condition. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service encourages people to use personal protective equipment when entering caves or handling bats in the Northeast.
Duck stamps for 2008 - 2009 go on sale June 27th!
THE DUCK STAMP AND REFUGE SUPPORT
It began in the mid-1930s. That's when our country experienced two particularly important national conservation efforts: the creation of the Federal Duck Stamp and the rapid growth of National Wildlife Refuges into what could actually be called "a system." It is no accident that these two drives were to be found in tandem, united to make wetlands, refuges, and aquatic birds more secure.
In the 75 years since its creation, the Federal Duck Stamp has collected over $700 million for the acquisition of more than five million acres of wetland and grassland habitat for the Refuge System. In addition to waterfowl, numerous fish, amphibian, reptile, and mammal species that rely on wetland and grassland habitats have prospered. Among the non-game bird groups that have directly benefited from Stamp revenues are grebes, bitterns, rails, shorebirds, and terns, as well as raptors and many songbird species. Furthermore, an estimated one-third of this country's officially Endangered and Threatened species find food or shelter in National Wildlife Refuges established through the use of these Stamp funds.
Many of the nation's most popular wildlife-watching and birding destinations are National Wildlife Refuges that have grown as a direct result of revenues collected through the Stamp. Examples of these Refuges are Aransas and Santa Ana in Texas, John Heinz in Pennsylvania, Ding Darling in Florida, Parker River in Massachusetts, Bombay Hook in Delaware, Bosque del Apache in New Mexico, and Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina and Virginia.
In Pennsylvania, Stamp revenue has helped secure property at Erie and John Heinz National Wildlife Refuges.
With refuge visitation now at about 40 million people per year nationally, it is important to appreciate that we can also get free admission to any National Wildlife Refuge in the country which may charge entry for the price of a $15 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (the official name of the Stamp since 1977). Free entry is available for the life of the Stamp, which is from 1 July to 30 June of the following year. The new stamp will be released in advance on 27 June!
It will soon be time for us to buy the new Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp and to contribute to more fee-title and easement habitat security through the Refuge System. You can join in doing your part!
NWRA Applauds House Appropriations Subcommittee for Proposed
Increase in Refuge System Funding
Washington, DC - The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) applauds the House Appropriations subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies for its proposed increase to the annual budget for the National Wildlife Refuge System for Fiscal Year 2009 (FY09). The proposed increase of $35 million would take the operating budget for the Refuge System to $469 million, roughly $4.69 per acre for the 100 million-acre System.
"If enacted, this allocation will help the Refuge System regain its footing in achieving its core wildlife conservation and public outreach priorities," said Evan Hirsche, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. "Many wildlife and public programs that have been terminated due to inadequate funding will be resurrected."
The recommended funding level for FY09 makes national wildlife refuges one of Congress's leading conservation priorities and builds upon the significant $39 million increase approved in FY08.
"Because of the remarkable leadership in Chairman Norm Dicks (WA) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (KS), communities that depend on refuges for economic prosperity and a higher quality of life, will greatly benefit," said Hirsche. "The NWRA expresses special appreciation to all members of the subcommittee for making refuges a priority in the FY09 budget."
The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), chaired by the NWRA, requested $514 million for FY09. Prior to this year's increase, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service was forced to implement downsizing plans at refuges calling for a 20% reduction of the workforce nationwide, equating to 565 jobs. The Refuge System needs at least $15 million annually to keep up with the rising costs of inflation and without it, refuges were forced to close, while visitor services were sharply reduced. CARE estimates the NWRS would need at least $765 annually to meet fundamental wildlife conservation and public use mandates.
The full House Appropriations Committee House will take up the measure on June 18th after which the proposal will move to the full House.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge Association is to conserve America's wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect, enhance, and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries that secure its ecological integrity.
Northeast Region Friends Group Conference Call
The latest group conference call was held June 9, 2008 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm. Some of the topics discussed during the call were the April National Friends Conference, the Mentoring Program, and a Volunteer Recruitment and Management Course at NCTC.
The course will be held August 5-8 and The Friends of NCTC offers Friends and Volunteers scholarships to attend. The participant must have refuge management approval in order to qualify for the scholarship.
Twelve Friends Groups from around the Northeast Region signed on and outlined resent highlights of their group's activities.
The last topic of conversation for the evening was liability insurance, what insurance was required (none) and what was suggested. The regional office advises that each Friends organization should assess the level of risk and determine the amount of insurance required. Friends may consult with insurance professionals and with the Regional Contracting and General Services staff to assess risk. The Friends Partnership Agreement should describe activities requiring insurance coverage.
The next conference call is September 8th from 6:00pm – 7:00pm.
From CARE (Cooperative Alliance For Refuge Enhancement):
America’s 548 National Wildlife Refuges Under-Funded By 43 Percent
One in Three Refuges Fully Unstaffed – 300 Staff Lost, 250 More At Risk
Washington, DC - A new report released to Congress today finds the nation’s 548 National Wildlife Refuges are vastly under-funded, leading to unstaffed refuges and closings; unsafe roads and trails; decreased safety; millions of acres of invasive species; unprotected at-risk species; and hundreds of layoffs.
America’s National Wildlife Refuge System, comprising nearly 100 million acres, requires a minimum of $765 million annually to operate adequately. However, the System is currently receiving $434 million per year – an average of just $4.34 per acre.
The report finds that:
• One in three refuges are operating without a single staff member
• The System has already cut 300 staff positions; without adequate funding increasing, plans for a 20 percent staff reduction will resume
• Unfunded projects regarded as “Mission Critical” total more than $115 million
• The system needs 845 full-time law enforcement officers, but currently has just 180 – one officer for every 555,000 acres
• The System is able to invest just 0.67 percent of its value in annual maintenance
• More than two million acres have already been lost to invasive species, placing threatened and endangered species at even greater risk
The Refuge System, created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, provides habitat for more than 250 at-risk animal and plant species. The 40 million people who visit refuges each year contribute an estimated $1.7 billion in annual sales and over 27,000 jobs to local economies. Close to 800,000 Americans participated in environmental education programs last year, and more than half of the nation’s refuges are available to anglers and hunters.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans will visit their local wildlife refuges this Memorial Day weekend, but too many will find them either completely closed, open without staff or a visitor’s center, or with decaying infrastructure,” said Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) and Chair of CARE.
The report, entitled “Restoring America’s Wildlife Refuges 2008,” was issued by the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE), a diverse group of 22 organizations representing environmental groups, hunting and fishing advocacy groups, and scientific organizations representing more than 14 million members and supporters.
“This year’s report continues to highlight the dire needs of our National Wildlife Refuge System and the failure of the federal government to meet them,” said Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), a founding co-chair of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus. “It serves as another wake-up call to the U.S. Congress that we need to do better in order to preserve and maintain these national treasures and the wildlife they support. I applaud the CARE alliance for its tireless efforts to bring these issues to light.”
CARE recommends that Congress increase Refuge System funding to $514 million in fiscal year 2009, and that it reaches full funding of $765 million per year by fiscal year 2013.
“The National Wildlife Refuge System is one of America’s greatest natural resources, and it cannot be ignored,” said Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee and a founding co-chair of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus. “The CARE report demonstrates that our refuges are severely under-funded and inadequately maintained. Congress should act to increase funding of the refuges.”
The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) was created in 1995 as a loose coalition of diverse organizations concerned about the ability of our National Wildlife Refuges to fulfill their missions. Members of CARE recognize the inadequacy of existing funds to operate and maintain the National Wildlife Refuge System and the biological, recreational, and economic consequences that this lack of funding has on the Refuge System and its surrounding communities.
From NSTA (National Science Teacher's Association) Science Class: Middle
May 2008: Informal Science
As the school year winds down, many families will be finalizing their
summer travel plans. Now is the perfect time to encourage them to take
advantage of informal science opportunities during their travels. Ask
students to share their vacation plans and point out the science
museums, national parks, and public gardens or arboretums along their
route. Below is a collection of online resources we've compiled for
In the News: Informal Science
Too busy to sift through the news to find something you need? Click
here to read current news stories, collected for you by NSTA staff
On the Web: Informal Science
With so much on the web, it's hard to know what's really useful. In
this section, you'll find SciLinks (websites that have been reviewed
by NSTA and your peers), links to web seminars, and various other
opportunities related to this theme.
Articles from the Science Scope Archives: Informal Science Instruments
Readers tell us again and again how timeless our journal articles are.
So in this section, we've compiled theme-related articles from the
Science Scope archives.
Books, Books, Books: Informal Science
Tired of your textbook? There are lots of alternative resources
available. Click here for a list of middle school-level books related
to this theme.
The Endangered Species Bulletin from the Fish and Wildlife Service
The Endangered Species Bulletin was created in 1976 to meet the growing demand for endangered species program news. Through the Bulletin, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service disseminates information on rulemakings, recovery plans and activities, conservation partnerships, research developments, and a variety of other issues. It is distributed on-line four times per year.
If you would like to be notified when the Bulletin is published, you can subscribe to the Endangered Species Bulletin group e-mail list. The Bulletin can be found at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/bulletin.html
Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Friends from 37 States Call on Congress to Increase Refuge System Funding
Three of our board members, Bill Trout, Rich Eakin and Ron Leberman, traveled to Washington DC to participate.
Washington, DC - More than 150 "Friends Group" volunteers supporting national wildlife refuges in almost 40 states met with their legislators on Capitol Hill Monday to promote an annual budget of $5.14 per acre for the Refuge System in fiscal year 2009. These refuge advocates sought to expand Congressional support and draw attention to the Refuge System's crippling $3.6-billion funding backlog.
"The Refuge System funding crisis has put America's wildlife heritage in jeopardy," said Evan Hirsche, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the organizer of the Capitol Hill event. "These private citizens have come from across the country to send a powerful message to Congress that refuges are important to wildlife, local economies, and to future generations of Americans."
The more than 100-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System is America's premier network of lands and waters set aside to conserve our country's rich diversity of wildlife. The first refuge, Florida's 5-acre Pelican Island, was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903; today the System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has grown to 548 refuges in all 50 states and protects an incredible array of plant and animal species. Yet funding shortages have resulted in closed doors, hundreds of staff cuts, elimination of biological programs and curtailment of public outreach programs.
Over 200 national wildlife refuge Friends groups, representing an estimated 40,000 Americans, assist refuges with numerous projects that include habitat restoration, facility repair and construction, interpretive tours, and community outreach. Last year, these refuge volunteers conducted 30 percent of the work done on refuges.
"Despite the exceptional volunteer commitment throughout the country, refuges face countless obstacles arising from a lack of federal funding," added Hirsche. "Many refuges simply have no staff, no visitor facilities, no signs or brochures, and no way to protect the wildlife that the public has entrusted to their care. Without significant funding increases in the coming years, the Refuge System faces an uncertain future."
Established in 1975, the National Wildlife Refuge Association is the only national organization working exclusively to protect, enhance and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System, lands and waters set aside by the American people to protect our diverse wildlife heritage.
Board Meeting Time Change
At the April meeting the Board of Directors decided to change the meeting time to 6:30 PM, the same time as the Heritage Fest meetings. The change was made to resolve some confusion that the two different meeting times has been causing. It was agreed to leave the meeting day the third Monday of the month. (Unless the day falls on a government holiday, then the meeting is held the fourth Monday.)
We want to remind all members that they are invited and encouraged to attend Board of Directors meetings.
New Membership Levels
At the March meeting the Board voted to adopt new membership levels. The old levels of $15.00 for an individual, $25.00 for families and $10.00 for retirees and students will stay in place, however more options are now available to members. You can now choose to pledge your membership at any of the following:
Ruffed Grouse $50.00
Brook Trout $75.00
White-tailed Deer $100.00
Wood Duck $200.00
Black Bear $500.00
Bald Eagle $1000.00
Refuge System's 105th Anniversary
As the Refuge System observes its 105th anniversary tomorrow, there is a
great deal to celebrate: 548 national wildlife refuges and 37 Wetland
Management Districts, together spanning about 97 million acres; more than
200 Refuge Friends groups that constitute a thriving citizens' movement;
and a sense across the country that national wildlife refuges matter in
The removal of the bald eagle from the endangered species list was a
tremendous achievement for the Refuge System. More than a hundred national
wildlife refuges are home to America's national symbol. Scores of wildlife
refuges were established specifically for the raptor.
More important is what the bald eagle symbolizes -- national wildlife
refuges in every part of the United States are models for conservation.
Whether it's work for ducks and geese, whooping cranes or the Florida Key
deer, national wildlife refuges are critical places for wildlife being
squeezed by a world that runs on high octane.
The National Wildlife Refuge System can be proud that it has been
connecting people with nature for decades. I am thrilled not only at the
number of programs that each year introduces and connects families to the
natural world, but also at their innovation. Each year, the Refuge System
welcomes about 39 million visitors, who in 2006 poured $1.7 billion of
economic activity into neighboring communities.
As the Refuge System celebrates this anniversary, we know that we face many
challenges, from climate change and urbanization, to a changing America
that is too often more attuned to sitting in front of a video screen than
awaiting the sight of 10,000 broad-wing hawks from one of our observation
towers. But when the bicentennial of the Refuge System comes around in
2103, generations not yet born will marvel at the land legacy we are
creating today. I thank you for your continued hard work to expand and
enhance what the first century of refuge pioneers left to the nation a
guarantee that at least a part of this great continent will forever be home
to wildlife, great and small.
Geoffrey L. Haskett
Medicine Disposal Partnership: Flush Less, Crush More
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has signed a formal agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to help protect the nation's fish and aquatic resources from the improper disposal of medication. The campaign -- dubbed "SMARxT DISPOSAL" -- will inform people on how to safely dispose of medicines and highlight the environmental threat posed from flushing medicines down the toilet.
"Trace amounts of chemical compounds often associated with medications have been increasingly detected in our waters, the very waters that support our nation's fish and other wildlife," said Gary Frazer, Assistant Director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "While uncertainty still exists about the impact of these chemicals, the Service, PhRMA and the APhA recognize the value of getting in front of the issue by passing along a few easy steps: don't flush those medicines, crush the medicines in a plastic bag, add coffee-grounds, sawdust or kitty-litter, seal the bag and put it in the trash. In other words, crush...don't flush."
"Proper disposal of medicines is important to America's families. PhRMA is very excited to be working on this initiative with the Fish and Wildlife Service and American Pharmacist Association that will educate all Americans on the safest way to dispose of unused medicines," said Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association.
APhA, PhRMA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say three steps can make a huge difference:
Do not flush unused medications or pour them down a sink or drain. Recent studies report that flushing medicines could be having an adverse impact on the environment. While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.
Dispose of unused medication in household trash: When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:
1) Pour medication in a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), crush it or add water to dissolve it.
2) Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat) to the plastic bag.
3) Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
4) Remove and destroy all identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
Check for approved state and local collection programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.
Visit the SMARxT Disposal Web site at: http://www.smarxtdisposal.net/.
Three Members to attend 2008 National Friends Conference
Ron Leberman, Rich Eakin and Bill Trout, all Board of Directors members, will be attending the 2008 National Friends Conference held April 4th through 6th at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. Hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the “Friends for the Future” Conference will feature sessions covering how climate change impacts refuges: ways in which refuge supporters can address threats from beyond refuge boundaries; and how refuges can help connect children with nature.
After the conference the three plan to continue on to Washington, DC to met with our legislators on Capitol Hill in support of the new Fish and Wildlife Service budget.
Board Elects Officers
At the January 28th Board of Directors meeting the election of Board Officers was held. Bill Trout will serve another term as President, Rich Eakin will become the new Vice President and Kathleen Palmer will again serve as Secretary/Treasure.
Matt and Linda Martin were approved as new board members.
Guys Mills Heritage Fest 2008
The second annual Guys Mills Heritage Fest is a go! The event will once again be held on the last Saturday of June, so mark the 28th on your calendar. We will need everyone's help and support to make the event a success!
A few changes will be made to the festival this year after reviewing last years program. The hours will be shortened to 10:00am to 4:00pm. While most of the same organizations in the village will be participating, the entertainment and/or services they offer will most likely differ from last year. On the Erie National Wildlife Refuge itself, activities will probably be centered around the Visitor's Center and not spread out over the rest of the Refuge as was the case in 2007. This change would allow us to make better use of our volunteers and simplify management of the event. Van tours of the Refuge is a possibility that is being discussed. We will be updating you on the details of the event as they become available.
Any one that would like to help plan and promote the Heritage Fest is asked to attend the next meeting to be held February 11th at 6:00pm at the Refuge Visitor's Center in Guys Mills or call 814-789-3585.