Malheur Musings
December 2020
This duo are a beautiful embodiment of Eastern Oregon's high desert sagebrush steppe. As winter arrives we are all settling in a little closer with those whom we share a home. These two are family in that way. The black-billed magpie will eat ticks and other insects from the mule deer's hide and they will both be better off for their connection.
Photo by Terry W. Smith, Images on the Outside
The holiday season is upon us and with it come all the trimmings and traditions of years gone by. These rituals bring us a sense of comfort and perhaps in 2020, a sense of control over the things in which we can prioritize and place our values.

Here, at Malheur, we live our values through protecting and enhancing the wild spaces and wildlife that we so deeply appreciated. We know that our public lands, specifically Wildlife Refuges, are facing the dire effects of climate change, rollbacks on environmental protections, and of course from reduced staff and budgets which support valuable conservation and outreach work.

This year may have caught us off guard in many ways, but we are proud of the work we were able to accomplish despite stay home orders, social distancing, closing the Crane's Nest Nature store, and cancelling all events from the Bird Festival to volunteer work parties. During this time we did not simply sit idly by.

We started a YouTube Channel and worked with partners to create
virtual bird walks and host virtual trivia nights.

We hosted a week long virtual Friends Gathering including a Refuge update, several presentations, a concert, trivia night, and auction.

We raised nearly $10,000 for Bird AllyX to support Avian Botulism response efforts in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

We did all of this and more and we did it with support from our Members and Friends. Next year, in 2021, we are planning to do more on-the-ground good than ever before! What better time than this holiday season for reflection and looking forward to a brighter future.

We hope that today, on this Giving Tuesday, you will make a donation to help sustain the work the Friends of Malheur NWR are doing on the Refuge and in our rural community. There is more information below, or you can CLICK HERE to make a donation now.
As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
Conservation Corner
By James Pearson

The Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) is the eighth most prevalent nonnative invader in the world, often reaching high levels of abundance (>1000 kg/ha) due to their ability to tolerate a range of aquatic conditions. Once a population of Common carp (hereafter “carp”) becomes established, their mode of feeding can degrade aquatic ecosystems. For instance, carp use a benthic foraging technique that uproots aquatic vegetation while simultaneously increasing turbidity in the water column, which diminishes light penetration. In turn, this can further inhibit growth of aquatic vegetation. The bioturbation of the aquatic environment by carp has been hypothesized to be one of the major drivers that has led to the currently degraded (turbid) state in Malheur Lake.  Read More
By Peter Pearsall

The verdant meadows, marshes and upland areas of Malheur Refuge, so vibrant in spring and summer, change swiftly to a palette of umber, straw and gray-green in fall. This is the harbinger of winter: sun giving way to clouds, greens giving way to browns, and the nights waxing long, dark and cold. It is an inexorable shift; as the planet turns, so the leaves. Read More
By Peter Pearsall

Thanks to maintenance staff, new vault toilets were recently installed at Malheur Refuge, replacing ones that were more than 20 years old. According to Ed Moulton, Maintenance Supervisor at Malheur Refuge, these new toilets are a prefabricated one piece concrete vault. The new toilets are more ADA friendly, have a larger tank capacity, and require much less annual maintenance. Read More
The Friends of Malheur are proud to be leading the coalition serving to acknowledge the needs of Malheur NWR's tree and shrub stands from Refuge Headquarters to Barnes Springs Homestead. These aging tree stands are, largely, relics of a bygone era of 18th century homesteading and landscape enhancement of the Civilian Conservation Corps era. In the time since they were established many species of migrating, breeding, and residential wildlife have grown dependent on their presence. Efforts to preserve and enhance the ecological value while honoring the historical significance of these trees is at the forefronts of our minds as we work towards developing a comprehensive Tree Management Plan.

Of course, best laid plans are always met with the unexpected. Please enjoy this video about the ongoing work and how John Scharff's Blue Spruce offered us an opportunity to put our intentions to the test. Video by Teresa Wicks, Portland Audubon
Malheur NWR is ripe with a bounty of gifts for those who spend time and connect with this magnificent place. We asked some of our colleagues about the gifts their received from the Refuge this year and we heard from:

James Pearson, MNWR Fisheries Biologist
Teresa Wicks, PAS Program Coordinator & Biologist
Dominic Bachman, HDP Aquatic Health Coordinator

From sharing the Refuge with James' newborn to discovering a Wilson's Phalarope nest in the field... CLICK HERE TO READ THEIR RESPONSES!
Programs & Events

Families are welcomed to participate in the 2nd Annual CBC4Kids on December 19th! This event is an opportunity for Harney County youth to explore Burns and Hines while birding with their families.

Participants will receive a field notebook, a pizza coupon, a specialty Bird Patch, and be eligible to win prizes! SIGN UP HERE
December 1st is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving meant to engage people with the purposes that inspire them. If you are inspired by the work that the Friends of Malheur NWR are doing to promote the conservation and appreciation of Malheur Refuge, please consider making a donation today!

or consider making your own P2P Fundraising page (see below)

Fundraise with your Friends! November 1st to January 15th it is FriendsGiving Season for the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. We are celebrating our ability to adapt and make creative and innovative ways to stay active in 2020 while also planning for a bigger and brighter 2021!

New this year, PEER-TO-PEER Fundraising Pages! Make a donation to a Team or create your own giving circle, or 'Fundraising Flock' by setting up your P2P Fundraising Page. Peer to Peer fundraising is an easy and fun way to amplify your support for the Friends of Malheur NWR!
Read all about our plans for 2021 on our Campaign Page.

Make your Donation HERE!

Login to your Friends Account and set up your own Fundraising Page or Team!
Here is Helpful How-To for setting up your own Fundraising Page and/or Team.

As the outgoing Administration moves to institute rules changes that will negatively impact wildlife it is as important as ever to pay attention and act when possible. Every one of us has the power to stay informed, make comments of open proposals, call our representatives, and spread the word about protecting wild spaces and the wildlife that depend on them. Here are a few critical action items:
Page by National Wildlife Refuge Association

Comment Deadline: December 17th, 2020 - Click Here
The National Wildlife Refuge Association has provided helpful tips for writing and submitting comments. They will even collect and send comments on your behalf!
Article by the Associate Press

Comment Deadline: December 22nd, 2020 - Click Here
National Audubon Society has a helpful form for submitting a comment.
November's Most Popular
Every month there is excellent content on the Friends Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Here We will feature the most popular post of the month.

Short-eared Owls (11/4) Photo by Dan Streiffert
The low-flying short-eared owl frequents open areas such as the marshes and agricultural fields of Harney County, preying on rodents and other small animals. While most active at dawn and dusk, short-eared owls occasionally hunt during the day, particularly in winter and under cloudy skies. 
This post reached 3,566 people through Facebook and got 88 Likes on Instagram! Follow our pages, @Malheurfriends, to see more great content like this!
Membership Minute
The sustaining support of our members is more imoportant than ever.
If you are unsure of your Membership status you can email us at today!
2020 Membership Appreciation

All New and Renewing Members will receive an exclusive FOMR Member 2020 clear decal.

Renewing Members that BUMP up a Membership level will receive a new Malheur BUMPer sticker. (Pictured below)

New and Renewing Members that sign up at the Patron ($200), Steward ($500) or Benefactor ($1,000) levels are eligible for specialty gifts! See Brochure
Current Membership Total: 679!
GIFT A MEMBERSHIP to the Malheur enthusiast and Bird lover in your life! Membership is a great way to keep up with and support the ongoing work of our organization! All you have to do is fill out THIS FORM with the recipient's name and contact information and they will be informed of their Membership!
Volunteer with Friends
Despite much uncertainty that remains, the Friends of Malheur NWR Project Committee has begun planning for 2021 and beyond. These plans may include the need for volunteers who are fully self-contained in an RV or Trailer that can be parked at Refuge HQ. There may not be access to the Volunteer Community Room & Kitchen or Bathrooms.

We are tentatively recruiting for the Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store (Monthly, March-October) Must be a couple working together who will be comfortable managing limited entry of the Store and enforcing Covid-19 safety procedures with all visitors.

All Volunteer opportunities are contingent upon and will be subject to any local, state, or federal health and safety guidelines. Volunteering may be cancelled at any point.
If you wish to be considered for a Crane's Nest volunteer position or contribute to the Newsletter in 2021 please email Janelle,
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
Unstaffed until further notice

The Online Nature Store is now operational and offering a selection of our favorite Malheur NWR and Friends of MNWR goodies!

These super soft zip-up hooded sweatshirts are the perfect layer for your next excursion or a must-have lounge jacket!
This charcoal grey hoodie has an image of two adult cranes with their colt in pale grey on the back. You may recognize this image from our classic t-shirts - say hello to your new favorite Malheur SWAG!

Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Unstaffed until further notice
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge | 
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721