Message from the Board

Linda Milam

 We are entering into the short, cold days of winter, days that bring a different kind of beauty to Camas National Wildlife Refuge.  But before we go there, I’d like to highlight my favorite time of year, autumn in eastern Idaho. 

 It is the time that Friends of Camas hosts Birds, Bugles and Brunch (BBB) bringing together members and others to commemorate another year of efforts to enhance your enjoyment of this special place.  We gather at the pavilion that was our first big project, completed a few years ago and now used for Friends activities, youth programs, and other activities.  Also this year, we were able to show off the work that has gone into the Pollinator Garden near the headquarters building.  Thanks to grants, donations, and a memorial gift, and the work of staff, Friends, Master Naturalists, and others, the raised beds bore fruit with many kinds of flowers and showy milkweed, a new gazebo has been built and feeders are in place for the many birds that frequent the refuge. 

Importantly, this year, dozens of members, friends and family members gathered to celebrate the lives of two people who were critical to these efforts.  Nancy Maxwell, a longtime member of Portneuf Audubon Society was the early impetus to establishing the Friends of Camas.  While she was too ill to participate in many of our activities, we were always aware of her interest in and commitment to the Friends and the refuge.  This year, we were pleased to recognize her by dedicating the pavilion to her memory.

 John Braastad, longtime U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee, most recently at the Southeast Idaho Complex of refuges, was a regular presence at our events and supported the work of the Pollinator Garden.  After his too early passing, a memorial fund was established to support work at the garden, including the construction of the new gazebo.  At the BBB, the Pollinator Garden was dedicated to his memory.

 The other special aspect of fall at the refuge is the migration season.  Just as in the spring, waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines make the stop here to fuel up for the long-distance trip south.  Especially interesting to observe are the Sandhill Cranes and Trumpeter Swans that gather in their hundreds before moving south.  A drive around the auto loop will reward the viewer with many glimpses of these magnificent and iconic birds.

To view the previous View from the Board, click here.

What's New - 2018

 2018 Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Photo Contest Winners.  All pictures will be added to the Photo Gallery.

The Grand Prize - Barn owl by Marya Moosman

First Place - Deer and fawn by Patty Pickett

2nd Place - Night heron on a post by Marya Moosman

3rd Place - Flower and bee by Delia Spencer

Honorable Mention - Kestrel head by Dave Spencer

Fred Meyer Rewards Program

You can help Friends of Camas NWR earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

Fred Meyer donates over $2 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here’s how the program works:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Friends of Camas NWR at:

  • You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 85837.

  • Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Friends of Camas NWR earn a donation.

  • The great thing is that YOU still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.

  • If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Custome Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

For more information, please visit 

Refuge Notes

November 14, 2018 

As of last week, we still had well over 100 Sandhill Crane, 30 to 50 Trumpeter swans, and of course Canada geese using the open water available on Sandhole Lake.  The cold nights (single digit temperatures) has been closing the only open water available.  Sandhole Lake is now more than 90% ice-locked and is the only wetland with any water in it at this time.

We have seen evidence of rutting activity by white-tailed deer on the Refuge.  Deer numbers are not high and they seem to be scattered across the Refuge and we are not seeing them consistently in any one location.  There are some bigger bucks out and about so there is a chance to see them any time of day this time of year.  A couple of moose have been using the Refuge from time to time, so if your timing is right a sighting is possible.

Recent weather patterns have kept us dry for the most part.  The scattered rain showers that were rolling through SE Idaho recently, for the most part, missed the Refuge.  Some snow hitting the mountains in the Camas Creek watershed, but 3 inches currently at the Crab Creek snotel site.  Hopefully much more to come.

We have not noticed any bald eagles using the headquarters trees yet this season, but with the recent cold weather, they should be coming to roost soon.  Will post updates on our web page and the Southeast Idaho Refuge Complex Facebook page when we start counting eagles in the roost trees.

Brian Wehausen, Refuge Manager

To view previous Refuge Notes,
click here.




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