Robyn Thorson, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region, Cheryl Hart, President of the Friends of Tualatin River Refuge, Joan Patterson, Director of Grassroots Outreach for the National Wildlife Refuge System, Jim Kurth, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Kevin Foerster, Regional Chief of Refuges, and board members from the Friends of Tualatin River Refuge - 2014 National Wildlife Refuge System Friends Group of the Year! (From left to right: Back Row: Virginia Parks, Robyn Thorson, Sharon Miller, Berk Moss, Cheryl Hart, Joan Patterson, Louie Olivares, Jim Kurth, Kevin Foerster. Seated: Gary Fawver, Erin Holmes, Bonnie Anderson, Michelle Miller. Missing from photo: Keith Mays, Nancy Bruton, Becky Long, John Marsh, and Peter Paquet.) Photo credit: USFWS
On February 21, 2014, the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge received their 2014 National Wildlife Refuge System Friends Group of the Year award during the opening ceremony for the William L. Finely photo exhibit at the refuge’s visitors center. Sponsored by the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the award recognizes an outstanding group that provides essential services to a refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
This dedicated group of individuals has banded together to accomplish great things at the refuge: They contributed more than 17,000 hours of volunteer time, welcomed more than 800 people to the Tualatin River Bird Festival, and lead the effort in citizen science at the refuge. And those are only a few examples of their work to connect their community with the refuge. The group of people who comprise this friends group are indeed essential to the refuge, and to conservation at the refuge which they consider to be an extension of their own backyards.
Jim Kurth, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, was there in honor of the special occasion. He noted that the Friends of the Tualatin River Refuge are vital to the success of the refuge and demonstrate the importance of friends groups to the entire refuge system.
Joan Patterson, Cheryl Hart, and Jim Kurth with the 2014 National Wildlife Refuge System Friends Group of the Year Award. Photo credit: USFWS