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.