Like us on Facebook!
The Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge has launched a new non-profit page on Facebook. Daily posts will not only keep you informed about the latest news from the group, but will also share some of the most interesting pictures and articles about nature on the internet.
Check us out at: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofErieNWR and don't forget to "Like" us!
Summer Fest Is Coming!
Our annual day-long family event will be held on Saturday June 25th from 10am-4pm. The
theme of this year’s event is “Endangered and Threatened Species”. Activities and
exhibits will include live animals, games and nature crafts. The winners of the 2015 Trash
to Treasure Contest will be announced, and all entries will be on display. A Silent Auction
will be conducted by the Friends of Erie National Wildlife Refuge to raise funds to support
The special event will be held rain or shine!
Help Wanted: Summer Fest Workers
While many of our activities and displays are run by outside partners, there are crafts, games and
activities that are in need of volunteers to man them. Support personal is also needed.
If you have the day, or half the day, on June 25th to donate to this event call the ENWR at
814-789-3585 for more information.
April To Be A Busy Month At The ENWR
Two programs and one event are being held at our Visitor’s Center at 11296 Wood Duck Lane, Guys Mills, PA 16327 in April. All are free and open to the public. Some programs have limited seating, so reserve your spot by calling the Refuge office at 814-789-3585!
Refuge Spring Clean-up. April 3, 1:00 pm - Join our Friends Group as we scour the roadsides of the Refuge for trash during our annual Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful clean-up. Gloves and safety vests will be provided.
“Hummingbirds at Home”. April 15, 6:30 pm - Judy Acker, will introduce participants to National Audubon’s fun new monitoring program called “Hummingbirds at Home” which utilizes an app on your smart phone to report hummingbird sightings and nectar sources. We will then explore interesting and fun facts about our local hummingbirds. The talk will include tips for attracting Hummingbirds to your yard--including what native plants they prefer--as well as information about feeders, food and ways to ensure your yard is a safe and nutritious haven for hummingbirds. A hummingbird feeder craft will follow the talk for those interested in making a feeder to take home. Preregistration is required so we can get enough supplies for the feeder craft.
“Citizen Science at ENWR”. April 23 6:30 pm - Ed Patterson of the Indiana County Parks and Trails will be leading a short program on Salamanders. Guests will be introduced to the Pennsylvania’s Reptile and Amphibian Survey (PARS) a crowd sourced citizen science effort being advanced in partnership between the Mid Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC) the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) via volunteers. Ken Anderson a PFBC Biologist, will provide short tutorial on Frog calls then lead a walk along refuge nature trails to listen for and hopefully record frog vocalizations. Bring a classmate, a kid or a friend, your boots, raincoat, camera and recording device (camera or cell phone); because come rain or shine we are going into the field at dusk to listen for frog calls!
Sponsored by the Friends of the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.
R/V Tiglax: Alaska Maritime Refuge’s Vehicle for Research
By Andrea Medeiros
Imagine working on a ship that takes you 15,000 miles through remote islands, from the Gulf of Alaska to the Bering Sea, in support of conservation. Six U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service jobs provide this opportunity, all operating out of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge aboard the R/V Tiglax.
“Sometimes you don’t see another ship for days at a time,” says Captain Billy Pepper, who has worked on the Tiglax for more than 20 years and is responsible for the ship as well as hiring and managing the crew. Combined, the captain, first mate, two deckhands, a cook and an engineer have 60-plus-years’ experience sailing the refuge.
Constantly on the move during the six-month field season that starts in April, the crew works 12 hours a day, seven days a week and is always on call. The Tiglax is at sea for extended periods of time without Internet or cell service. Beyond the hours and the isolation, weather, mechanical problems, medical issues and even natural disasters can challenge the crew.
The challenges of working on the Tiglax are counterbalanced by being among rocky islands with spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and distinctive cultural histories. Every summer more than 40 million seabirds nest on Alaska Maritime Refuge. One of the islands, Buldir, boasts more nesting seabirds than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere. The Tiglax also encounters whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions and other marine mammals.
Built in 1987, the 120-foot-long Tiglax plays a critical role in meeting Alaska Maritime Refuge’s research purpose by supporting scientists from the Service, universities, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and elsewhere.
Umnak and Samalga islands in the eastern Aleutians have been part of the refuge since 1913. Last summer, thanks to the Tiglax, refuge biologists were able to survey the islands’ coastlines for the first time. They discovered tens of thousands of shorebirds in the intertidal zone of Samalga Island, potentially a globally significant resting area for shorebirds on their summer migration.
In 2015, the Tiglax also supported a regular survey of sea otters in the western Aleutians and a second, rare survey on the hard-to-access Pacific Ocean side of Amchitka Island. Both will help biologists better understand sea otters.
What other new discoveries are out there on Alaska Maritime Refuge? The possibility of being part of making a new one keeps the crew of the Tiglax coming back.
Andrea Medeiros is a public affairs specialist in the Alaska Region office in Anchorage.
The R/V Tiglax cruising off Bogoslof Island. Built in 1987, the Tiglax, which means eagle in Aleut, is 120 feet long and has a range of 14,500 miles before refueling is needed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vessel supports scientific research at Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. More photos: http://bit.ly/1MGt2KZ (Paul Wade)
Stories of Success
By Cynthia Martinez
Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System
Some 380 of the nation’s 1,591 endangered and threatened species find a home on national wildlife refuges. The reason is straightforward: Home is where the habitat is.
So it makes sense that restoring habitat and implementing the best science and management techniques are the roads to recovery for species. Sounds simple. It’s not.
National wildlife refuges and other parts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have long faced competing demands that can change and tug and pull in different directions. Multi-year projects can be tough to fund from one year to the next. That’s why the Cooperative Recovery Initiative (CRI) is making a difference.
The Service Director some years ago recognized that we needed a focused program that puts combined resources and partnership muscle on refuges and in areas with a close nexus to them if we are to maintain and expand high quality habitat for trust resources. So was born the CRI, a competitive program with specific criteria that gives funding to collaborative projects.
CRI absolutely stresses collaboration – both among Service programs that sometimes operate in silos and with private landowners, who can make all the difference for the health of fish, wildlife and plant species.
The competition for funding has been intense – and beneficial. First there’s the regional selection process. Then the top regional projects are submitted to a national review team that represents all Service programs. A second round of reviews at the Service’s Headquarters has ensured that funding goes to the projects most likely to succeed.
In fact, the need to show results quickly has set CRI apart from other initiatives. CRI not only requires that each project have a monitoring protocol, but it also decides on funding for up to three additional years by considering data that demonstrate a project is making discernible progress.
At the same time, the CRI process incorporates all elements of Strategic Habitat Conservation. Service staff members employ biological planning and design to develop project proposals. Selected proposals are then implemented – the “conservation delivery” step – and results are monitored. The outcomes then feed back into biological planning and adaptive management.
A prime example of CRI success is the Oregon chub, the first fish ever removed from the federal Endangered Species list. The Oregon chub is found only in the Willamette River Basin. Just eight populations and fewer than 1,000 fish were known to exist when it was listed as endangered in 1993. While the minnow’s recovery was thanks to the work of many dedicated Service partners, the CRI invigorated the recovery program and led to the chub’s delisting years earlier than might otherwise have happened.
Collaboration is the key to so much conservation success. It is the centerpiece of the Cooperative Recovery Initiative. Working across program lines and with partners, the Service can recover species listed as threatened and endangered and create a conservation legacy for the next generation.
To read some CRI success stories, go to the January-February issue of Refuge Update.
A Program on Salamanders Scheduled for April
A free wildlife educational family oriented event will be held at Erie National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Saturday April 23rd from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Ed Patterson of the Indiana County Parks and Trails will be leading a short program on Salamanders. Guests will be introduced to the Pennsylvania’s Reptile and Amphibian Survey (PARS) a crowd sourced citizen science effort being advanced in partnership between the Mid Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation (MACHAC) the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) via volunteers. Ken Anderson a PFBC Biologist, will provide short tutorial on FROG calls then lead a walk along refuge nature trails to listen for and hopefully record frog vocalizations.
Bring a classmate, a kid or a friend, your boots, raincoat, camera and recording device (camera or cell phone); because come rain or shine we are going into the field at dusk to listen for frog calls.
The program will take place at ENWR Headquarters building located along Route 198E at 11296 Wood Duck Lane, Guys Mills, PA 16327, 3/4 mile east of Guys Mills and 10 miles east of Meadville. For map go here. Please call ENWR and let us know you be there 814-789-3585.
ENWR Spring Clean Up
Spring is here and it's time to think about spring cleaning. Spring Clean Up Day on the Erie National Wildlife Refuge that is! The Clean Up date is scheduled for Sunday, April 3, 2016. Celebrate Earth Day early this year by cleaning up the Refuge! We will be meeting at 1:00pm at the ENWR Visitor's Center in Guys Mills.
The Friends group will resechedule if the weather is inclement. If you can't attend with us, look up other clean-up opportunities on http://www.keeppabeautiful.org/.
This event is open to adults and families alike! Hope to see you there!
New Officers Elected For Friends of ENWR
At the latest Board of Directors meeting the officers for 2016 were elected. Most will be new to their positions this year. Michael Vargo was elected to be our new President; Autumn White will be our new Secretary; Vicki Pratt is our new Treasurer; and Ronald Leberman will remain as Vice President.
The remaining members of your board are Lisa Helmbreck, Rich Eakin, Doug Copeland, Linda Anderson, Ken Pratt, and Kathleen Palmer.
Remember the Board of Directors meeting is open to all members or anyone else that is interested. Meetings are usually held the third Monday of the month but sometimes they need to be moved to the fourth if it falls on a government holiday. Check the date on our website at www.friendsofenwr.org. Your input is always welcome.
Upcoming Programs At The Erie National Wildlife Refuge
There are two educational programs coming to the ENWR this Winter and Spring. Both these programs will be held at the ENWR Headquarters Building,11296 Wood Duck Lane, Guys Mills.
French Creek Watershed History - February 26
Judy Acker, Outreach Project Coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania will present a talk on the History of the French Creek Watershed. Her talk will begin with glacial impacts on the watershed through the Native American and French influence to the Spa Era and the unique role freshwater mussels played within the French Creek watershed! Come find out how our unique and varied local history helped shape life in the French Creek Valley!
Hummingbirds @ Home - April 15
Judy Acker, Outreach Project Coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania will introduce participants to National Audubon’s fun new monitoring program called “Hummingbirds at Home” which utilizes an app on your smart phone to report hummingbird sightings and nectar sources. Acker will then explore interesting and fun facts about our local hummingbirds. Her talk will include tips for attracting Hummingbirds to your yard--including what native plants they prefer--as well as information about feeders, food and ways to ensure your yard is a safe and nutritious haven for hummingbirds. A hummingbird feeder craft will follow the talk for those interested in making a feeder to take home. Preregistration is required so we can get enough supplies for the feeder craft