USF&W hosts annual Friends and Neighbors Night OutA little wet weather did not discourage an enthusiastic crowd from attending the third annual Friends and Neighbors Night Out last Wednesday evening, hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Friends of the St. Croix Wetlands Management District.
By: Tom Lindfors, New Richmond News
A little wet weather did not discourage an enthusiastic crowd from attending the third annual Friends and Neighbors Night Out last Wednesday evening, hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Friends of the St. Croix Wetlands Management District.
“Our first year (2010), we had 35 people and then last year we had 65, and this year we’ll see,” said Tom Kerr, FWS manager, “We advertise on Facebook and when we’re doing our tree removal or prairie restoration, we send a letter to the neighbors so a lot more people are aware of us. I see there’s a couple neighbors here tonight who we worked with on private lands projects. It’s kind of neat to start seeing folks show up to events like this. Gradually, people are starting to learn about what we do here.”
Guests were treated to a number of displays, exhibits and a digital slide presentation explaining the role of the FWS particularly as it relates to activities focused on maintaining and improving habitat in the SCWMD. Folks were also free to wander any of the many trails that weave their way through the landscape surrounding the FWS facility. They were also encouraged to meet FWS staff and ask any questions they might have.
Everyone was invited to listen in on an abbreviated meeting of the Friends of SCWMD during which representatives Josh Barstow and Dave Lambert of the National Wild Turkey Federation presented Brian Headlee, president of the Friends, with a check for $5,000. The funds will be used to support habitat restoration and to support the annual Conservation Day on the WPA (Waterfowl Production Area) scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oakridge WPA.
“This is a great example of how the local NWTF chapter, in partnership with the Friends Group and the FWS, were able to pull national dollars into the local area,” Kerr said.
Following the meeting, Kerr presented Somerset Troop 144 Scout Master Greg Scheder with the District’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Scheder’s scouts are frequently involved in the numerous volunteer opportunities FWS and Friends make available including the upcoming Conservation Day at the Oakridge WPA.
The mission of the FSCWMD is to restore, protect, enhance and expand the land and natural resources managed by the St Croix Wetland Management District. It is organized for the purpose of supporting, assisting, and promoting the St. Croix Wetlands Management District with interpretive, scientific, historical, recreational and educational activities and services throughout the eight-county district.
The St. Croix Wetland Management District facility is located at 1764 96th Street in New Richmond. For more information about programs and volunteer opportunities visit their web site at: www.fws.gov/midwest/StCroix.