Malheur Musings
January 2020
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."
Excerpt from “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
Photo by Dan Streiffert
Click the image for a video of waterfowl and scenery at Ash Meadows NWR, Pahranagat NWR, Colusa NWR and Malheur NWR, set to the late Mary Oliver's narration of Wild Geese. Video by Peter Pearsall/USFWS.
Director's Message
The new year is a new beginning. Cliche, of course, but nothing if not true. Wrapping up 2019 was exhilarating and left me with a sense of wonder for what will come in 2020. We ended the year with 800 Friends Members. We raised $2,000+ on #GivingTuesday with an additional $5,500+ in donations towards our end of year fundraising efforts. This means that a over $7,500 will be put towards the $16,000 budgeted for Habitat Enhancement and Outreach efforts on the Refuge in the coming year. The ongoing support of you, our Friends, is such a gift.

We are excited to have a few gifts for you in the coming year:
  • Friends Accounts - Now you can login to your own account on the website! In this account you can check your membership status, renew your membership, make a donation or pledge, track volunteer hours & more!
  • Membership Decals - Every new and renewing member in 2020 will receive our exclusive Friends of Malheur NWR Member 2020 clear vinyl sticker.
  • Appreciation Gifts - Check the Membership Minute section of this newsletter for details on our 2020 BUMPer Sticker and Membership Appreciation gifts!

The coming year will also bring new partnership opportunities including volunteer support for shorebird surveys on Stinking Lake and the Double 0 units of the Refuge in June with Portland Audubon Society. We intend to continue support of the Oregon Natural Desert Association's Tribal Stewards Program in August. Of course, there is also the annual Harney County Bird Festival which the Friends are actively engaged in with many community partners throughout. We are thrilled to announce that our very own Board Member, Kenn Kaufman, has agreed to be the 2020 Keynote for the Festival! ( FLYER )

With so much going in to planning for 2020, you might think - how will she do it all? Never fear! Luckily for me I am never alone in my endeavors. I have a small army of volunteers that come and go throughout the year helping me with all manner of tasks! There are still a few openings. If you have any interest in volunteering with us from June - October, please let me know! This year, in addition to our dedicated volunteers, I am recruiting a spring intern! This internship opportunity will offer free housing, a stipend and the ability to file for credits with their college or university. More information is linked below.

My hope is that as you look forward into 2020, you can find the time visit us out here in our quiet corner of the Great Basin. And if not, that you find this newsletter a satisfying substitute.

As always, Thank you for being a Friend.

Janelle L Wicks
FOMR Executive Director
President's Message
Fellow Friends,

Happy New Year! Thanks to your support, we accomplished a lot in 2019. Our biggest success was the operation of our Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store at Refuge headquarters. Thanks to our excellent Executive Director, Janelle Wicks and the many dedicated volunteers who staffed the center and enhanced the experiences of refuge visitors. Other highlights included completion of our Worthy Pollinator Garden at the Nature Center, our assistance with the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival in April, our participation in the world premiere of the majestic Malheur Symphony in May, our hosting of events during Members Weekend in May, our financial support of the Refuge work of six tribal youth last summer through the Pacific Northwest Youth Corps Tribal Stewards Program, and, our hosting of the Annual Carp Derby in August. Additionally, for our community outreach program, we provided funding for an Artist in Residence to work with local grade school kids on wildlife art that was displayed at the Festival, we donated 20 copies of the book Hoot to a local teacher who wanted to teach her students about local burrowing owls, we provided a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving local high school student and also worked with Portland Audubon staff, Harney County Library and BLM to provide a Christmas Bird Count for local kids (CBC4Kids). Thanks to your support, we accomplished a lot.

So now I make my pitch that you continue your support of this Friends Group so we can continue to serve Malheur Refuge and the needs of Refuge fans like you. Also, more broadly, Malheur and all the refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System need your political support. Our Refuges are tragically unfunded and under staffed, despite the fact that they are economic engines for their host communities generating up to seven times the money invested from tourism and other dollars from 50 million visitors a year. They have a 3.3 billion $ maintenance back log, and are 15% understaffed, which is being “penny wise but pound foolish”. More importantly the lack of resources cripples their ability to meet their legal mandate “to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and where appropriate restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats in the United States for the benefit of the present and future generations of Americans” (National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997).

If you are passionate about refuges as we are, I urge you to also consider supporting the National Wildlife Refuge Association , the national nonprofit focused on promoting and protecting the National Wildlife Refuge System. I also urge you to sign for their Action Alerts which will alert you to opportunities to support refuge friendly legislation and to oppose legislative proposals that threaten refuges.

I hope you get to visit Malheur this coming year, we look forward to seeing old Friends and welcoming new Friends!

Gary Ivey
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Conservation Corner
Written by Jeff Mackay, MNWR Acting Project Leader

Written by Dana Ross

Bohemian Waxwings
Written by Peter Pearsall, FOMR V olunteer
Written by Debby de Carlo, FOMR Volunteer

James Lane considered making bat houses for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Malheur Field Station when he was a junior at Catlin Gable School in Portland. "I'm interested in conservation and my step father, Scott Bowler, had introduced me to Malheur. It seemed a good way to combine my interests into a school project."
Community Collaboration
Harney County residents, water managers and scientists met at a crossroads this week, as they pondered the latest findings of a long-awaited groundwater study. The science will justify drastic changes in how people use water in Oregon’s dry, southeastern corner. It’s a first look at why people’s wells have been going dry, and whether a crisis over water in the Harney Basin is going to get worse. Read or listen to OPB's article here.
FriendsGiving Season Wrapping Up!
The Friends of Malheur NWR is focusing end of year fundraising efforts towards financially supporting two of our highest priority programs; Habitat Enhancement and Outreach & Education.

In 2019, our efforts in both of these areas increased exponentially and with that so did the need for financial support. We have budgeted a minimum of $16,000 towards these efforts and it is all dependent on the generosity of our Friends. Between now and the end of the year we hope to raise half of this amount. Just imagine what we could do with more!
Events & Announcements
The Friends are proud to support the CBC4Kids event in partnership with Portland Audubon Society, the Harney County Public Library and the Bureau of Land Managment. We are providing a hot cocoa bar during the morning's Binocular Boot Camp and sponsoring prizes for teams and individual participants. Burns Times-Herald Front Page Article
Membership Minute
If you are unsure of your Membership status you can sign up for a Friends Account and view your Membership or email us at today!
2020 Membership Appreciation

All New and Renewing Members will receive an exclusive FOMR Member 2020 clear, vinyl decal and bookmark. (Pictured here)

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! You can opt out of receiving your gift when you fill out your membership form online or in person.

Gifts will include Malheur specialty coffee roasted by Clawfoot Coffee Roasters in Klamath Falls and 1 or 2 FOMR hand-thrown ceramic Mugs by Deneen Pottery. Benefactor Members will also receive a copy of the Malheur Symphony on CD.
In the last few weeks all recent and current Members have received an email regading the initiation of our new Membership Management System and associated Friend Accounts. These accounts are optional to sign up for. If you choose not to create a user name and password you will still be able to pay for a new or renewal membership through our website. Whether or not you sign up for an Account, the new system has key features that we are really excited for:

  • Paperless and automated renewal reminders will reduce our carbon footprint and administrative costs!
  • Friends of Malheur online store will be up and running VERY soon.
  • Making donations, paying Membership dues and purchasing items through our online store will no longer be processed via PayPal.
  • Monthly sustainer memberships are easier than ever to sign up for an manage.
  • A Friends Account allows you to keep your contact information up to date, review Membership status, shop online with your Membership discount are more!

We have only scratched the surface with regards to how our organization, and subsequently the Refuge, will benefit from these new changes. Please join us as we move into 2020 with renewed purpose for improving our organization and furthering our mission.

It is important to us that you know, with every upgrade we have been diligent in ensuring your privacy. The Friends of Malheur NWR will never share or sell your information and will not do business with any program that would.
Current Membership Total: 800!
RECRUITING 2020 Resident Volunteers!
Do you enjoy spending time in the high-desert expanses of Malheur Refuge? Are you interested supporting the Crane's Nest Nature Store operations, improving Refuge habitat, monitoring wildlife populations, or providing interpretive services to visitors? Volunteers with FOMR do all that and much more.

Residential volunteers with Friends of Malheur Refuge are able to park their camper at the newly renovated RV hook-ups with access to a volunteer lounge, kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. We require a month-long commitment of 24 hours per week. Our volunteers come away from their service with indelible memories, a renewed passion for Malheur Refuge and public lands in general, and (more often than not) some incredible photographs.

Spots are filling up fast but there is still availablity in March, June - October! If you are interested, please fill out THIS SURVEY .
Current Volunteer Hours Logged: 3,200+
Crane's Nest Nature Center & Store
The Nature Store is closed for the season and will reopen March 1st, 2020
Orders made by phone & email will still be available
Malheur Syphony CDs are NOW AVAILABLE!
This is the long anticipated recording of Chris Thomas's piece which was commisioned by the Central Oregon Symphony Association and premiered in Burns this past spring. ($15 + S&H)

Sagebrush Collaborative and the recently published Edge of Awe bring you close to Malheur from wherever you may be and are two of our best sellers!

Email to place an order for any of these items and more.
Don't forget Members get a 10% discount.

Malheur HQ Visitor Center
Monday - Thursday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge |  
36391 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR 97721