News

  • Saturday, January 10, 2015 10:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

     

     We would like to invite you to attend one of two Conducted Activity and Shuttle Tour trainings.  Examples of conducted activities would included guided walks and informal refuge talks (typically out on the refuge).  Shuttle tour training will provide you the tools to lead refuge tours using our refuge shuttle bus.  

     

    The morning session will be an Introduction to Conducted Activities and a demonstration tour by Ron Smudy. Coffee and muffins will be provided starting at 8:00. Training will get underway at 8:30.  Following lunch, we’ll go over some logistical details, allow you time to familiarize yourself with the shuttle and the “tool” box, have some time to work on your own tours and have some time to ask questions.

     

    When:   Saturday, January 24, 2015

                8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

                (Potluck lunch 12:30-1 pm; bring something to share).

          OR

                Monday, January 26, 2015

                8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

                (Potluck lunch 12:30-1 pm; bring something to share).

    Where:  Commons building located in the housing area

     

    Who:  You must attend this training if you want to lead a tour or guided hike in the Refuge.  We also need shuttle drivers!!! For safety reasons, tour leaders should not be driving.  So this is an opportunity for those of you who want to contribute but not lead programs. We would like to encourage you to come to the entire training but you are only required to be there for the afternoon.

     

    To RSVP, please call (361-286-3559 x236) or e-mail Laura 

  • Saturday, January 10, 2015 9:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

    Fundamentals of Interpretation for Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Staff, Volunteers and Partners

    Friday, January 23, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the Aransas Visitor Center

    This three hour training will be led by Vicki Overholser Penwell, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer and former District Interpreter at Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, and by Laura Bonneau, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Services Manager.

    Vicki and Laura will provide a general overview of the fundamentals of interpretation and introduce the best practices for having successful informal visitor contacts in the Visitor Center, while roving the refuge or while spending time on the tower.

    At the end of our time together you will have new tools to help you go beyond sharing your passion for this special place to inspiring connections in visitors that will last a lifetime.

    Who should attend: Required for anyone working in Visitor Services at the Visitor Center, roving or at the tower. This training covers basic skills needed for the Refuge Bus Tour. Specific Refuge Bus Tour training will be offered separately. We welcome anyone to join us if you are interested in learning ways to improve your contacts with Refuge visitors. Please RSVP to Laura (361-286-3559 x236 or email her).

  • Monday, January 05, 2015 6:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the opening of a 60-day comment period for public input on managing non-federal oil and gas development on National Wildlife Refuge System lands.

     

    On many Service lands, including wildlife refuges, the federal government does not own the rights to subsurface minerals. Instead, mineral rights are owned by private individuals or other entities, which have the legal authority to develop their oil and gas resources.

    Based on the Service’s best data, more than 200 refuges have oil and gas operations, including more than 5,000 wells, almost 1,600 actively producing oil and gas wells, and almost 1,300 miles of pipelines. 

    The rulemaking effort is part of the Service’s ongoing commitment to avoid or minimize adverse effects on natural and cultural resources and wildlife-dependent recreation, ensure a consistent and effective regulatory environment for oil and gas operators, and protect public health and safety.

    The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on February 24. Comments must be received on or before April 25. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. The Service cannot accept email or faxes.

    Written comments and information can be submitted by one of the following methods:

    ·         Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS–HQ–NWRS–2012–0086]; or

    ·         U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS–HQ–NWRS–2012–0086]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

    “Throughout the process, the Service will work with the public, the oil and gas industry and conservation groups to ensure we are using the best management practices and other industry standards for the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats,” said Director Dan Ashe.

    Since this is a formal rulemaking process with subsequent National Environmental Policy Act support, the Service anticipates the effort will take at least three years to complete.

     

    Comments and materials, as well as supporting documentation, will be available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov under the above docket number. In addition, more details on the kinds of information the Service is seeking is available in the notice and will be posted online at http://www.fws.gov/refuges/oil-and-gas/

  • Sunday, December 28, 2014 9:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     The 6th Annual Early Bird "Whoop It Up" New Year's will be on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 from 11:15 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. at Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass. The event is open to the public who is asked to arrive dressed in red, white and black attire

    The event celebrates the birth date of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge established on December 31, 1937 and pays tribute to the wintering endangered Whooping Crane. Dr. Felipe Chavez, director, Conservation Programs at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory will provide a “State of the Whooper” presentation. He will also make an announcement of a planned student and public involvement in a new Whoop Count event in 2015.

     

    There will be a prize given to the “best red, white and black plumage” judged by the attending public. The event is sponsored by the Science & Spanish Club Network, Inc.

     

    If you go:

    11:15 AM-11:30 AM Public flock arrives

    11:30 AM    Introduction of SSCN, Inc., and Aransas NWR officials

    11:40 AM- 11:55 AM "Crane Crown" presentation on "State of the Whooping Crane"

    11:58 AM-12:00 PM   Crane Countdown to Early Bird New Year's (Bring your own bubbles)

      “Whoop It Up” Flash Flock Dance

    12:02 PM  Cutting of the Aransas NWR birthday cake and punch serving

    12:10 PM  Judging of “Best Plumage” and encore presentations on the Whooping Crane

    12:30 PM  Flock is disbursed into the New Year's Eve

  • Saturday, December 13, 2014 11:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

     

    The annual meeting was held Saturday, December 6. Members were welcomed and encouraged to share their suggestions and ideas. Minutes of the 2013 meeting were provided, as were full financial reports for the fiscal year.

    Laura Bonneau, Visitor Services Manager, gave a refuge update, as Greg Birkenfeld, Acting Project Leader, was unable to attend. Dr. Wade Harrell, Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator, gave an update on the cranes.

    Bylaws changes were approved, Board members appointed to fill vacancies were confirmed, and elections were held for positions expiring this year. Directors for 2015 will be:

     

    President - Fred Lanoue

    Secretary - Brad James

    Treasurer - Linda Lanoue

    Directors at Large - Ron Smudy, Irma Schreiner, Linda Swiggett

    Following adjournment, there was a presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Smith, Whooping Crane Conservation Biologist with the International Crane Foundation. As always, her talk was both interesting and informative.

    Following Dr. Smith’s riveting presentation, door prizes were awarded and lunch was served. After lunch, members were able to visit the store in its new location, and were offered a tour of the refuge with Wade Harrell and Laura Bonneau.

    Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and we had a lot of positive feedback. We look forward to reviewing the suggestions soon. Any member that was unable to attend the meeting can send suggestions and ideas to the FAMI email address.

  • Monday, December 08, 2014 1:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

    Fundamentals of Interpretation for Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Staff, Volunteers and Partners

     

    Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Monday, December 15, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

     

    This three hour training will be led by Vicki Overholser Penwell, a new Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer and former District Interpreter at Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, and by Laura Bonneau, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Services Manager.

     

    Vicki and Laura will provide a general overview of the fundamentals of interpretation and introduce the best practices for having successful informal visitor contacts in the Visitor Center, while roving the refuge or while spending time on the tower.

     

    At the end of our time together you will have new tools to help you go beyond sharing your passion for this special place to inspiring connections in visitors that will last a lifetime.

     

    Who should attend: Required for anyone working in Visitor Services at the Visitor Center, roving or at the tower. This training covers basic skills needed for the Refuge Bus Tour. Specific Refuge Bus Tour training will be offered separately. We welcome anyone to join us if you are interested in learning ways to improve your contacts with Refuge visitors. You do not have to belong to FAMI or any other organization to participate in the training, or to volunteer as an interpreter. The training will take place at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

     

     If you can’t make either of these dates, the training will be held again in January. You can contact the refuge Visitor Center if you need more information.

  • Saturday, November 15, 2014 3:24 PM | Deleted user

    Keith and Rebekah WestlakeKeith Westlake is a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He started his Career in 2011 as a cooperative biologist in the SCEP program. After finishing his degree at Auburn University he began permanent employment as the Wildlife Refuge Specialist at Southeast Louisiana Refuges. At this location he has managed 3 National Wildlife Refuges which includes Bayou Sauvage, Breton and Delta National Wildlife Refuges. Keith’s experiences range across multiple habitats consisting of barrier islands, coastal wetlands, bottomland hardwoods and pine flat woods. Keith has been involved in many coastal restoration efforts and has taken the lead on many others. He has worked with endangered species such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Gulf Sturgeon. Keith has conducted multiple aerial surveys for waterfowl, shore birds, feral pigs and oil spill response. He is a collateral wild land fire fighter with experience in prescribed fire of coastal habitats.


    Leading up to Keith’s professional career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service he worked various jobs in the field of conservation. These consisted of employment through Universities and State agencies such as Auburn University, University of Georgia and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

    Prior to Keith’s educational and professional careers he served our country as a United States Marine. Keith enlisted in the United States Marine Corps September of 2001. He served for 5 years ultimately receiving an honorable discharge in 2006. Keith’s last 3 years of service were spent at Quantico Marine Corps Base where he was able to witness wildlife management in action. Quantico’s extensive wildlife management activities sparked Keith’s interest in the world of conservation.


    Keith is married to Rebekah Westlake and they have two young children. The oldest child is their son Mack and the youngest is their daughter Josie. Keith and his family spend the majority of free time enjoying the outdoors. Keith is a dedicated waterfowl hunter and fisherman. Rebekah and their children enjoy the same activities and they utilize every opportunity to enjoy the local resources.

  • Wednesday, November 12, 2014 7:09 PM | Deleted user


    On November 2nd, Aransas NWR was visited by Carl, Amelia, and Carla Knobloch, and Ernest Cook of the Knobloch Family Foundation, along with David Hougton and Anne Truslow of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Refuge staff greeted the visitors & took them on a boat tour of whooping crane habitat. They returned to headquarters for lunch and an opportunity to learn more about the refuge and FAMI. Fred Lanoue, Linda Lanoue, and Irma Schreiner represented FAMI, and Fred did a short presentation on our organization.


    The Knobloch Family foundation is a charitable organization registered in Houston, TX, which was founded in 1997. Earlier this year, the Foundation contributed $2 million to support the acquisition of the Powderhorn Ranch property.


    The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) works to protect America’s wildlife heritage by bringing a unique perspective and creative strategies to conservation. NWRA’s mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect and enhance the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries. Read more about them on their website.


    Visit our Facebook page to see another photo.

  • Friday, October 24, 2014 9:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    She has volunteered at Aransas two winters in the past.Penni Philliips is the first of the refuge residential volunteers to  arrive for the winter. Penni will be working in the Visitor Center. She is a FAMI member & has agreed to also volunteer for FAMI, which will help enable us to keep the store open.

     

    Penni is a fulltime RVer, and works around the country since retiring in Houston.  She has volunteered at Aransas two winters in the past. She plans to be at Aransas until April. We're very glad to have her. Welcome back, Penni!

     

    .  

     

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014 11:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you shop at Amazon, please consider using Amazon Smile to help FAMI support Aransas NWR. We are listed as Friends of Aransas & Matagorda Island NWR. We will receive 0.5% of all purchases made through Amazon Smile when our name is designated.

    You get the same products, services & prices when shopping through Amazon Smile as you do with the regular Amazon website. To learn more, visit http://www.smile.amazon.com. Thank you! 

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