2019 Progress Report
With over 300 volunteer members the Friends of the Wichitas (FOW) logged more than 20,000 hours in 2019 assisting the Wichita Mountains NWR staff in their efforts to fulfill the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service mission “… working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people”.
Friends of the Wichitas:
- Led more than 150 Nature Hikes.
- Conducted more than 30 Public Interpretive Tours.
- Eradicated tens of thousands of Invasive Species.
- Picked up several Tons of Trash from the refuge.
- Removed Graffiti in an environmentally sensitive manner.
- Started construction on the restoration of the historic Ferguson House.
- Partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to fund the aerial Elk Survey.
- Assisted with the annual, controlled White-tailed Deer and Elk Hunts.
- Was awarded a $5,000 Feed-A-Bee Grant for Pollinator Meadows at the Visitor Center.
- Purchased fencing for the new Pollinator Meadows at the Visitor Center.
- Staffed National Public Lands Day, Natural Resources Journey and the Wildlife Expo.
- Provided volunteers to assist with repairs on the reopening of the Mt. Scott Road.
- Reconstructed the Trail from Camp Doris to the Environmental Education building.
- Assisted the Fire Crew with Traffic Control during prescribed burns on the refuge.
- Awarded grants to schools for K-12 field trips.
- Worked with staff in preparation for and during the annual Bison Auction.
- Expanded outreach on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the FOW Website.
- Partnered with Stonecloud Brewing Co. for the opening of the REI Co-op OKC store.
- Continued the profitable operation of the Nature Store.
- Sponsored CPR and First Aid training for volunteers.
- Produced the annual FOW Calendar.
- And, much, much, more.
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- Increased FOW to more than 300 members.
- Volunteers logged more than 20,000 hours of trail maintenance, invasive species eradication, litter pickup, traffic control, public use area maintenance, graffiti removal, public information outreach, environmental education, the annual Bison and Longhorn auctions, visitor tours and hikes, and more.
- Volunteers eradicated tens of thousands of invasive plant species.
- Volunteers conducted more than 30 public interpretive programs.
- Volunteers led more than 150 nature hikes for visitors.
- Awarded grants for K-12 school field trips.
- Partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and donated funds to complete the annual aerial elk survey. Population estimate 1,100.
- Applied for and received $17,000 grant from Union Pacific for trail maintenance infrastructure.
- Hosted National Wildlife Refuge Association meeting in June.
- Completed minor renovations to the Nature Store.
- Continued restoration efforts on the historic Ferguson House.
- Replaced metal roofing on the three corral buildings used for vehicles and conservation equipment storage.
- Constructed new Prairie Dog Town fence.
- Purchased 72" Hustler riding mower and trailer for maintaining public use areas.
- Purchased 40ft Conex for FOW equipment storage.
- Purchased 20ft Conex for Nature Store inventory stock.
- Purchased A/V system for the Environment Education Center.
- Initiated website redesign and Nature store point-of-sale system upgrade with PixelMongers.