A Word from Our President 3.3.2023


Sunset at Malheur Refuge

As I sit down to write these words, I am newly reminded of an important message: FOMR does not work alone. We are indeed part of an energetic movement of like-minded organizations.

What brings this to mind is that I am just back from attending the annual meeting of the Public Lands Alliance (PLA), which this year occurred in Portland. The PLA is a national organization with several hundred member organizations. All have public lands affiliations, which range from National Wildlife Refuges to National Forests and the units of our National Park system.

The scale of these organizations includes everything from relatively small enterprises like FOMR to the associations that run visitor center stores in some of the most popular national parks. All share a single mission – to support their public lands partners by raising funds and by selling educational materials in park (or in our case wildlife refuge) stores. That is, as our members know, exactly what we strive to do every day at the Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

In addition to myself, Miguel Estrada, our new Crane’s Nest Store Manager also attended the conference. There we joined sessions focused on subjects like membership events, board governance, fundraising, and using digital media to spread our messages.

The PLA conference also features a trade show, where several hundred vendors display sales merchandise for consideration by organizations like ours. Miguel and I looked at everything from books to jewelry to refrigerator magnets. We came back with some good ideas for this year’s Crane’s Nest Store.

The biggest benefits of attending a PLA conference, however, reflect less tangible things like new connections made with other organizations and reinforcement of the important idea that FOMR is a part of a national movement of non-profit organizations. And that makes it worth spending a few days in the heart of a very busy city.

– Wm. Tweed

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