2021 Public Lands Alliance Partnership Award
We are so honored that Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge have received a Public Lands Alliance Partnership Award! This award recognizes an exemplary partnership for a stunning achievement to protect and preserve our public lands and enhance the experiences of their visitors and users. Watch the awards ceremony to learn more, and thank you for helping to make this possible.
2021 Nonprofit Excellence Award (Small Organization)
This award recognizes an organization for overall excellence. Award finalists are organizations that demonstrate active involvement by staff, board members, volunteers, constituents and
other stakeholders in advancing the mission of the organization and that focus on community impact and
results. Watch the awards ceremony to learn more.
Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge works to support Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in three priority areas: Youth Development, Public Use Projects, and Land Acquisition and Restoration. Listed below are some recent accomplishments.
Public Use Projects
Land Acquisition and Restoration
We've also worked to...
Engage our community with the refuge.
- Hosted Seek Refuge Days, a free virtual nature program series.
- Hosted annual events for families including the Biggest Week in American Birding, Cars for Critters, West Sister Island Sunset Cruise, Discover Ottawa Day, 5K, Chili Cook-off, Lorax Day, Holiday Open House, Howl-o-ween, etc.
- Create and send quarterly e-newsletters, bi-weekly refuge updates, and annual reports..
- Work with Bench Farms on State Route 2 to provide a Pollinator Plant Sale each spring.
- Attended community events including Applefest, Walleye Fest, Harrison Rally Days, farmer's markets.
- Been involved with local Chambers of Commerce and community partners.
- Established the Friends of Ottawa NWR Photo Club and facilitated the Refuge Photography Contest.
- Served as the fiscal sponsor for the Portage River Water Trail project.
- Provided items to extend the visitor experience in the Rookery Nature Store.
- Helped to facilitate the refuge's participation in the Ottawa County Barn Quilt Trail.
- Added Friends of Ottawa NWR volunteers to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
- 850 Friends Members in 45 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
- Created an Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge license plate available at Ohio BMV's.
- Shared information about the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's deferred maintenance plight in the Fall 2020 Audubon Magazine publication.
- Provided information and context to our members of Congress to advocate for funding the National Wildlife Refuge System, especially on deferred maintenance issues at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
- Supported National Wildlife Refuge Association advocacy initiatives.
- Purchasing and restoring additional relevant properties to native habitat. Our goal is to have a $500,000 revolving fund in place to allow us to purchase properties as they are available, then sell to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at a later date once their paperwork is in order. Money entering the Joan and Richard Kimple Conservation Fund will help to support land purchases and leverage restoration work in perpetuity.
- Restoring native prairie and woodland habitats on the Fox Unit, creating a parking area and trail to open to the public.
- Assisting Black Swamp Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in restoring the Nehls Memorial Nature Preserve on Catawba Island and establishing an ADA compliant kayak launch and access point to connect to the Lake Erie Water Trail.
- Funding the restoration and enhancement of the Marinewood Unit. This unit is a retired golf course in central Ottawa County, Ohio that will be open for public use. Potential plans include an ADA hiking trail, kayak launch, playground, RV pads for volunteer site hosts, restroom and picnic facilities.
- Planning an urban outreach initiative with local and national partners.
- Reaching 1,000 Friends Members in all 50 states. People from across the country support the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge complex as a hotspot for birding. Our goal is to raise our membership from 850 members in 45 states to 1,000 members spread across all 50 states.
- Fund additional refuge priority projects as they arise. Deferred maintenance has made the highest ever recorded lake levels a challenge for Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's aging infrastructure. We anticipate a need to assist in replacing the series of pumps, water control structures, culverts, electric pump stations, flap gates, and fish passage structures.