Message from our Board Chair & President

National Wildlife Refuge Association 2021 Annual Report Cover

Download the full report.

For 46 years, the National Wildlife Refuge Association has worked to support the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System), our country’s extraordinary network of over 850 million acres of lands and waters set aside for wildlife and their habitats. After nearly 2 years, the pandemic continues to disrupt normal operations everywhere and national wildlife refuges across the country are no exception. Even so, with the help of our incredible supporters and dynamic board and staff, the National Wildlife Refuge Association has adapted to meet these challenges, and we are stronger and more resilient than ever. None of our successes would be possible without our donors and supporters.

Our advocacy work to increase funding for the Refuge System and associated programs resulted in a historic budget increase request from the Biden Administration. We also work to ensure the rejection of harmful legislation or incompatible projects, like the proposed construction of a bullet train adjacent to Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland, mining right beside Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, and oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

We now deliver webinars and other content by using Zoom and other virtual tools and we conduct most of our Board and staff meetings remotely. The necessity of switching to virtual platforms has become an incredibly valuable tool in our communications. Even as in-person events resume, we will continue to increase our reach and deliver our message by providing online programming and events directly to national wildlife refuge enthusiasts, whether they are out on a refuge or in front of their computer.

The future is bright for the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Refuge System, and the conservation movement in general. While we face significant challenges from pandemic COVID variants to looming threats from climate change, our commitment to our mission to protect, promote, and enhance the Refuge System will never waver.

As always, thank you for being our friends, allies and partners in our mission and in this movement. 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year that will see an expansion of our Urban Wildlife Refuge Program to South Florida and the Northeast, improved website functionality, and more in-person events at national wildlife refuges around the country. We could not do any of this without you, and we look forward to seeing you outside.

Geoffrey L. Haskett, President, & Carl Woodward, Board Chair, National Wildlife Refuge Association

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