Birder's Guide

MAY 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 37 of 59

National Wildlife Refuges 36 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2016 seabirds and restoring habitat at Midway Atoll NWR in the remote Pacifc Ocean. Midway hosts nearly three million nesting birds each year, including Laysan Albatross and the incredibly rare Laysan Duck. Near San Francisco, seagoing volunteers deliver supplies to other volunteers conducting re - search at Farallon NWR, which comprises a group of rocky islands 30 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. The Farallones host the largest colonies of breeding seabirds south of Alaska, including Ashy Storm-petrel, Cassin's Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, and the southernmost breeding Tufted Puffns. Perhaps more realistically for most peo- ple, they can wear a nametag and staff a visitor center, or don a pair of boots to re- move invasive plants, or wield a hammer to construct a boardwalk or observation platform at their local refuge. Many refuges utilize volunteers to lead educational pro- grams for local elementary schools or other groups. Other volunteers band birds, tag fsh, conduct fsh and wildlife population surveys, do laboratory research, manage cultural resources, write grant proposals, and perform maintenance. Some refuges provide housing or RV hook-ups for resident volunteers who agree to work a certain number of hours for several weeks or months. A number of these refuges have a community center and kitchen, laundry facilities, free wi-f, and bathrooms and showers for volunteers as well. Some who avail themselves of these opportunities and amenities are serial vol- National Wildlife Refuge Association Founded in 1975, the National Wildlife Refuge Association is an independent nonproft organization that works to im - prove and expand the refuge system. Its mission is to conserve America's wildlife heritage through programs that protect and enhance the refuge system. The NWRA provides education, training, and other support to Friends organizations, as well as advocacy on their behalf in Washington, D.C. It is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to pro - moting and protecting the refuge system. n The blue goose symbol of the Nation- al Wildlife Refuge System was created by J.N. "Ding" Darling, the first head of the U.S. Biological Survey, the prede- cessor of FWS. The famous refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida is also named in his honor. Photo © Jason A. Crotty n The Friends of Tualatin River NWR helped obtain funds to build the visitor center and headquarters, which overlooks the refuge grounds. The center has classrooms, photography displays, interpretive exhibits, restrooms, and the Friends store. Photo © Jason A. Crotty

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