A View from the Board

Photo by Patty Pickett

January 22, 2018

As Treasurer for the Board of Friends of Camas NWR, I see the struggles our small group has when it comes to financing. Money is always tight and we usually have more potential projects and expenses than our fundraisers and membership dues can cover. We rely heavily on grants and donations to accomplish our work at the Refuge.

In September of 2016 Brian Wehausen, Camas National Wildlife Refuge Manager, reported some good news to the Board of Directors of the Friends of Camas. Brian had received a letter stating that Rita Poe, a wildlife lover and photographer from Washington State, had passed away leaving a bequest of possibly $48,000 to Camas. Neither Brian nor the board was sure at that point that this was real as things that seem too good to be true usually are. At our October board meeting though, Brian told us that he had received further correspondence and that he now was sure that we would really receive this bequest—approximately $50,000, to be used for wildlife habitat and similar projects, not for routine maintenance.

In May of 2017, we were all surprised and delighted when a check for $96.551.48 from Rita Poe’s estate arrived. The check was deposited in our credit union checking account, and the board discussed how we should use this very generous bequest. With no immediate plans for such a large sum, we decided to invest it so that the amount would grow over time rather than just sit in our checking account earning no interest. After much investigation and discussion, the board decided to invest the funds with Vanguard, where it has already increased by a little over $2300 since October.

Rita Poe had spent many years traveling about the country visiting wildlife areas. She was an accomplished photographer and birder and loved being out in nature. Camas NWR was one of half a dozen refuges and parks that benefitted from Poe’s generosity. It is sad to lose a great wildlife advocate such as Rita Poe, but we are grateful for the opportunity to help her legacy live on. Some of the projects we are considering funding include finishing the pollinator garden, replacing the aging cottonwoods that the eagles roost in and helping with a songbird survey. Suggestions for other possible uses for this money are welcome!

Kit Struthers
Board Treasurer

What's New - 2018

Short-eared owls are awesome predators and were highlighted as our bird of the month for November 2017. There is currently an effort underway to collect as much information about the distribution and numbers of short-eared owls as possible. If you would like to participate in this Citizen Science project, click the following link: Short-Eared Owl Survey

Pregrine Cam Offline for the winter. Check back in March 2018

Peregrine Cam Screenshot

Be sure to check out our annual wildlife calendar

To See the First Ever Friends of Camas Photo Contest Results, Click Here.

We welcomed two new Friends of Camas Board members this summer: Pam Johnson, retired FWS biologist, and Sue Braastad who has been critical to the development of the Pollinator Garden at Camas NWR.  

Refuge Notes

February 20, 2018

The number of Bald Eagles using the roost tree at the headquarters site has been down from previous years, likely due to the very nice and open winter. Our weekly counts have been running between 15 and 20 eagles but also 10 to 15 Rough-legged hawks using the trees as well. This cold snap could potentially increase numbers this week.

The Refuge continues to have no snow and really has not had any all winter. Road conditions are dry and travel around the Refuge has been good.

The water outlook is certainly lagging behind what we would like to see this time of year. Current information from the Crab Creek snotel site is 5.6 inches of water equivalent and that puts it 70% of average. Last year at this time there was 7.4 inches of water equivalent for 120% of average. Having little precipitation on the desert this year will really hurt our water supply if we do not get more moisture in the mountains within the next month or so.

In terms of wildlife viewing at the Refuge, coyotes have been extremely active lately and can be heard and seen even during daylight hours. Fair numbers of elk and white-tailed deer are using the Refuge with the deer visible from the auto-tour route and the elk usually visible from the frontage road or Interstate. As far as birds go, there are good numbers of rough-legged hawks, occasional sighting of a prairie falcon and red-winged blackbirds already showing up. Also, Trumpeter swans are still in the area, mostly seen in the local farm fields feeding and every so often with see them on Sandhole Lake.




Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
2150 E 2350 N
Hamer, ID 83425