News

  • Thursday, March 10, 2016 11:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Aransas NWR has been nominated in the USA Today 10 Best Places for Birding poll.

     

    Please vote for our Refuge and ask your friends and family to vote.  After you click on the link & vote, be sure you get a "thank you for voting" message. You can vote every day until noon, March 28.

     

    Help us let the world know what a great place Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is!

     

     

  • Friday, February 05, 2016 8:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Not only is the new Rail Trail bridge now open, but Rail Trail is longer! The north section has been extended to the refuge fence.

     

     

     

    In the first photo, Fred Lanoue is standing at what used to be the north end of Rail Trail. In the second, Linda Lanoue is at the new end of the trail.

     

    Thank you to Aransas NWR maintenance staff & volunteers for giving us more Rail Trail! 

  • Tuesday, February 02, 2016 2:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The FAMI annual Membership Meeting was held Saturday, January 30th, with 38 members attending.

     

    Although Refuge Manager Joe Saenz was unable to attend, Laura Bonneau, Visitor Services Manager, read a message from him, and gave us a refuge update. Keith Westlake, Lead Biologist, gave us an update on what's going on with Biological Services and Wade Harrell, USFWS Whooping Crane Coordinator, gave an update on the flock.

     

    Board Members for 2016 will be Fred Lanoue, President; Amanda Rocha, Secretary; Linda Lanoue, Treasurer; and Directors at Large Linda Frank, Ellen Reisinger, Irma Schreiner, & Linda Swiggett . You can read more about them at Meet the Board.

     

    Our speaker was Lee Ann Johnson Linam, whose father was Frank Johnson, a Refuge Manager at Aransas NWR. Lee Ann grew up on National Wildlife Refuges, including Aransas, before going on to become a biologist with Texas Parks & Wildlife. She gave us a fascinating look at life on the refuge, and her father's work with Whooping Cranes & other wildlife. Lee Ann herself developed citizen science programs for monitoring endangered species, including the Whooper Watch program. Her program was both informative and entertaining.

     

    Lee Ann also assisted us by drawing for door prizes. There were several items donated by the Nature Store: Monarch lapel pins, Jabebo earrings, 2 different designs of canvas bags, and a cap with a brand new Friends of Aransas design, not previously sold. We also had prizes donated by Captain Tommy Moore & Rockport Birding & Kayak Adventures.  Captain Tommy donated 4 beautiful T-shirts, and 3 birding trips for 2 on the Skimmer. The lucky winners of the trips were Sue Weir, Barbara Bruns, and Fred Krebs. We really appreciate Captain Tommy's support. Every member attending received a reusable water bottle from the Nature Store.

     

    Lunch was chicken spaghetti with salad & fresh fruit, plus a marvelous array of desserts. After lunch, those that wished were led on a tour to Burgentine Lake, a non-public section of the refuge, by Keith Westlake, Wade Harrell & Laura Bonneau.

     

    It was wonderful to have a chance to visit with members, from several that have been members for many years, to a couple that joined just a few minutes before the meeting. We are all excited by the many positive things going on at the refuge.

     

    To see photos of the meeting, visit our Gallery

     

     

  • Tuesday, February 02, 2016 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr. Wade Harrell will present a program on Whooping Cranes on February 18th, at 5:30, at the Coastal Bend Museum in Victoria, TX. Admission is "pay-what-you-want". For more information, see their website

  • Sunday, January 31, 2016 4:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

     

    Thanks to this awesome crew, the bridge linking Rail Trail to the road is now open!

     

     

     

    Left row, front to back: Lynn Sayre, Kent Sayre, Phil Douglas, Marcos Alcala

    Right row, front to back: Bob Gonser, Joan Gonser, Marcia Douglas, David Brennan 

     

      

    Come check it out!  More news about Rail Trail coming soon.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

     

     

     

     

  • Saturday, January 02, 2016 10:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

    If you missed our Early Bird New Year's Celebration, you missed a good time! We celebrated the Refuge's 78th birthday & our love of Whooping Cranes, as well as getting an early start on New Year's. Richard Gonzales explained what the Science & Spanish Club Network is, and told us of some of their accomplishments. FAMI President Fred Lanoue gave a brief overview of Friends of Aransas NWR & invited attendees to visit our Nature Store. Jennifer Brown, Environmental Education Specialist then gave a "State of the Cranes" address.


    To get everyone in a party spirit, our Super Whooper danced to the Whoop song & then posed for photo ops. You can see a video here. We then counted down to noon for our early New Year's. After that, we sang Happy Birthday to the Refuge & attendees blew out the candles on the cake. Thank you to Richard Gonzales and the Science & Spanish Club Network for donating the punch and decorations.


    Also on display was a door decoration created by the 6th Grade Science students at Blaschke Sheldon Elemetary School in Ingleside, taught by Robin Flures. It's a beautiful life size "Winter Texan" Whooping Crane. It was donated to the Refuge by the students and the Science & Spanish Club Network.


    After everyone had cake & punch, the best plumage (white, black & red) was chosen. The winner, chosen by the crowd, was 21 month old Idalia Raschke.


    You can see more photos by clicking on our Gallery. Click on the image to see it bigger.



  • Tuesday, December 15, 2015 5:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are partnering with Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and the Science & Spanish Club Network to Whoop It Up at the Refuge December 31. We have a lot to celebrate. It's the Refuge's 78th birthday! It's New Year's Eve! The Whooping Cranes are here! WHOOP! WHOOP!

     

    Be at the Refuge Visitor Center by 11:00 a.m. If you'd like, honor the Whooping Cranes by wearing their colors, red, black & white. There will be a prize awarded for the best crane plumage. We'll hear a brief talk about Whooping Cranes, and get a head start on New Year's by counting down to noon. Our Super Whooper mascot will lead us in dancing the Whoop Song, followed by birthday cake and photo ops. You can hear the song & practice by visiting our Facebook page.

     

    For more information, you can call the Refuge at 361-286-3559 & ask for Jennifer, or email her

     

     

     

  • Friday, December 04, 2015 11:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

     

    Don’t forget about the Aransas (TXAR-2015-#65) Christmas Bird Count on December 22. Paul Swacina is the coordinator and is still putting together teams. All birders, from beginners to expert, are invited. Contact Paul to get on his list. Be sure to let him know your level of birding experience, as well as familiarity with the Refuge, so he can assign you to an appropriate team.

     

    Coffee, pastries, and lunch fixings will be provided, sponsored by Friends of Aransas NWR.


    The Nature Store will be open that day, allowing count participants a chance to do last minute Christmas shopping. The store has some great new merchandise for all ages, and all profits are used to support the Refuge.

     
    Paul reports that this year there will be an “after” party at Butch and Adela’s Tavern at Hopper’s Landing and offers the following information:

     
    Hopper’s Landing  is located just up the road from the refuge and has been closely connected to ANWR since the refuge’s founding.

    “The famous Audubon researcher Robert Porter Allen during his seminal research on both Roseate Spoonbills and Whooping Cranes stayed at a cabin at Hopper’s landing (which is still there) and relates many fine stories of Butch’s grandpa and father in his numerous books and reports.

    “Adela was an active volunteer at the Refuge in the past and has many fond memories from her years there.

    “There are cabins and RV places to stay at either the day before the count or the night of the after party, reservation are suggested.


    “The Jerry James Band will be providing live music from 7:00 p.m. – till 10:00 p.m. 
     He also performs regularly in Victoria Texas at Greek’s 205. Jerry is recently retired from the City of Victoria where he was the Environmental Services Director."

     

    Be sure to contact Paul for more information.

  • Thursday, December 03, 2015 5:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

     

    With funds donated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Retirees 2014 Greenwalt Walk for Wildlife, we have been able to rehabilitate the native plant area around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge headquarters flagpole. The contribution not only allowed us to purchase new native plants, but also to put in an automated irrigation system. This will make the area much easier to maintain, and give the plants a better chance for survival in our hot, dry summers.


     

    It took a lot of people to make this happen. FAMI members Ellen Reisinger and Linda Frank did the design for the plantings and irrigation. Mid-Coast chapter, Texas Master Naturalists donated many of the new plants. FAMI President Fred Lanoue and Visitor Services Intern Hannah Plumpton put in the new path. Ellen, Linda, and Fred installed the irrigation and did the planting. Fred, along with Visitor Services Intern Kevin Sun and FAMI member Linda Lanoue spread the mulch. Thank you to everyone involved, and special thanks to Greg Birkenfeld and the Refuge maintenance staff for their help. 


     

    Come by the Refuge and take a look!

  • Wednesday, November 11, 2015 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

     

    In May, San Antonio Bay Foundation awarded Friends of Aransas $31,000.00 to provide reliable fresh water on Matagorda Island. The money was made available to the San Antonio Bay Foundation pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Texas General Land Office and Kirby Inland Marine. These funds are Supplemental Environmental Project funds which resulted from the oil spill in the Houston ship channel on March 23, 2014 that made landfall on Matagorda Island. San Antonio Bay Foundation previously contributed $10,000.00 to our Water for Wildlife Fund. We were able to supplement those amounts with other money from our Water for Wildlife and Whooping Crane Funds, thanks to individuals that gave donations.

     

    A drilling project on a barrier island without road access, electricity, or potable water, and only spotty communication, is no simple matter. Some of the drilling companies contacted didn’t even want to make the attempt, especially since it meant barging their equipment to the island & leaving it there until the project was completed. Happily, Carl Critendon of Critendon Well Drilling Service was willing and able to meet the challenge.

     

    We now have two wells on the south portion of the island producing good quality fresh water for the cranes and other wildlife. They are equipped with solar-powered pumps, which have been proven to need a lot less maintenance than the old windmills.

     

    Aransas National Wildlife Refuge management & staff, especially Felipe Prieto, were instrumental in getting this accomplished. FAMI President Fred Lanoue spent many hours coordinating the project and never let the obstacles and difficulties deter him from the goal.

     

    Thanks to San Antonio Bay foundation and everyone else involved, Whooping Cranes and other wildlife will have reliable fresh water on the southern end of Matagorda Island, even when dry conditions return to south Texas.




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