Allow me to introduce myself. I’m William Tweed, recently elected board president of the Friends of Malheur. I’m honored to have been tapped for this job by my fellow board members, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the continued success of this important organization.

Who am I, you’re entitled to ask? For the past six years, my wife and have lived in Bend. Before that, for many years, we lived in or around Sequoia National Park, the southernmost of the several national parks that protect the most scenic parts of California’s spectacular Sierra Nevada mountain range. There, I pursued a career with the National Park Service. In my final position, I led the park’s educational and partnership programs through a decade of challenges.

At Sequoia, I worked very closely with the park’s non-profit partner. After I retired from federal service I joined that board, including a stint as board president. That experience allowed me to see the relationship that ties federal conservation agencies to their non-profit partners from both sides. That perspective, I hope, is the most important asset I can bring to my new position with the Friends of Malheur. My goal is to take an already strong relationship and make it even better.

In coming months, I will be using this space to share with you insights into issues that I hope will help you understand some of the many challenges facing both the Malheur Refuge and its Friends group. These will range from the severely impaired state of the Pacific Flyway – a region-wide effect the increasing aridity affecting the Intermountain West – to the opportunities we have to make our organization even more supportive of the refuge. As I write, I’ll be looking for ways to share with you how each of you – as our members – can help us succeed.

Thank you for being a “Friend” of Malheur and for taking the time to read this message. I’ll have more to share in coming issues.