President's Messages 2017

February 2017

Photo Credit: Alpine Glow at Camas by Patty Picket

February 21, 2017

Well, it has happened again. The calendar tells me it is still the dead of winter; the temperature outside and the green grass between the remaining patches of snow tell me something else. Every year I forget how quickly winter, including this one which started early with much snow and severe temperatures, and seemed never ending, can turn into T-shirt weather. Weather in Eastern Idaho is indeed fickle, and winter conditions at Camas National Wildlife Refuge are no different. Two weeks ago the Refuge was covered with snow and hardy cross-country skiers endured bone chilling temperatures. Today the snow is quickly retreating and with very little imagination one can sense spring around the corner. While several dozen Bald Eagles continue to come to roost nightly in the cottonwoods, their numbers have declined over the past week. Soon the tens of thousands of snow geese will drop in for their fleeting spring visit and the refuge will sing and dance with the sounds and sights of the annual explosion of new life. Friends of Camas also has some new and exciting news for the season. We are pleased to announce that two extremely qualified individuals have joined our board: Terry Thomas, retired Fish and Game Biologist, is returning to the Friends of Camas Board after a year-long hiatus, and Karl Bohan, former Skyline HS Science teacher, has joined the Board. We welcome them and their much needed skills. Their bios will be posted soon. Perhaps even more exciting, the Peregrine Web Cam Project is ready to go on line. All the equipment is in place and tested. Just a few details with our service provider and a streaming service need to be resolved before we can begin broadcasting. We hope to have an official “ribbon cutting” on April 1, a couple of weeks after we expect the Peregrines to return and start nesting. This summer we also intend to finish the Pollinator Garden. We intend to finish planting, install a water feature, construct a gazebo, and begin a citizen science monarch and milkweed survey and monitoring program. This will be an exciting addition to our education offerings, and will involve several new partners, including the Museum of Natural History at Idaho State University and, likely, the Idaho Falls Zoo. It is always a treat to work with organizations that share our goals of Environmental Education, Conservation, and Scientific Study for the benefit of the resources and enjoyment of by the public. The annual migration season is nearly upon us, which brings new things to see at Camas every day. As usual, I extend an invitation to you to come and visit Camas National Wildlife Refuge soon.

Enjoy the transition into Spring.

Tim Reynolds, President

Photo Credit: Tim Reynolds

May 18, 2017

As usual in eastern Idaho, May is a roller coaster of weather: nearly 80 degrees and sunshine one day, snowing and blowing the next. Dr. Edson Fichter, long-departed Professor of Biology at Idaho State University, described spring weather in eastern Idaho as predictably unpredictable. Truer words were never spoken. But, the unpredictability is welcome. The diversity of weather brings high energy and a freshness to the air that is palpable. It easily and neatly dove-tails with the wonderful diversity of habitats, plants and animals we can celebrate every day in Upper Snake River country.

Friends of Camas is Celebrating three milestones this month. (1) The web cam on the peregrine nest is streaming live. Many thanks to Friends Board Member Mark Delwiche and the folks at Mud Lake Telephone for making this happen!!! The birds started incubating sometime during the third week of April, and the eggs should be hatching any day now. Click here for a peek into the nest box. (2) The final connections, hoses and sprinklers were installed for the pollinator garden sprinkler system. Planting of forbs and grasses will happen in early June. In spite of the heavy snow accumulation and the concentration of deer and jackrabbits around the headquarters building all winter, nearly all of the shrubs and trees we planted last fall survived. Some are a little beat up, but even the hackberry’s, all of which were hit very hard by the rabbits, show new growth. Thanks to the Idaho Master Naturalists who showed helped weed the shrub and trees area last week. Click here for more info on the Pollinator Garden Project  (3) The First Ever Friends of Camas Photography Contest is “open for business.” Thanks to Friends Board Member Linda Milam for coordinating this. Click here for details and instructions.

Friends of Camas will participate in several community events between now and June: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Day the Zoo in Idaho Falls (May 19); International Migratory Bird Day in (May 20); and the Second Annual Bird-A-Thon (May 27) sponsored by Friends and the Snake River Audubon Society. Click here for Bird A-Thon details.

June will also be a busy month for Friends, with a Bird-A-Thon awards Pot Luck dinner and the formal dedication of the Peregrine Cam on June 10, and several opportunities for volunteers to help plant the Pollinator Garden and to assist with the Monarch/Milkweed project associated with the Pollinator Garden. Drop a note to if you are interested in being a part of any of these activities.

Spring is in full force at the Refuge. Come and take a look.

Tim Reynolds, President

 Read Past Presidents Messages

Timothy D. (Tim) Reynolds, PhD.


July 2017

A Message From the President

Bird-A-Thon Awards and Peregrine Cam Dedication 6.10.17

July 4, 2017

In my experience, in spite of the number of days, June is by far the shortest month of the year. As soon as we just get through the vagaries of May and endure a week of moody weather sometime in June, without any warning June is in the rear view mirror. It happens every year. This year was no exception; in fact June seemed to disappear faster than ever, sped along by Friends having a full plate for the month. Early in the month we hosted the Awards Pot Luck for the Second Annual Bird-A-Thon, and the dedication of the Peregrine Cam at Camas. The Bird-A-Thon was a great success: For the second year in a row the Pocatello team of Chuck Trost and Barb North saw the most species (110), and, also for the second year in a row, Linda Milam had best guess of the total number of species seen by all participants (guess = 135; actual = 138; view 2017 results). More importantly, we raised over $2,000 to be equally split between Friends and the Snake River Audubon Society to support environmental education, conservation, and scientific study. A big thank you to all the participants and the generous sponsors!!

The dedication of the Peregrine Cam was a teaching moment for many of the attendees. Four members of the Idaho Falconers Association made the trek from Boise to join the dedication, and put on an extemporaneous Q&A on falconry, falcons, and peregrine falcons in particular.

As part of the dedication, Friends Board member Mark Delwiche received an award for his persistence in getting the Peregrine Cam up and running, and Tim and Wendy Brockish were given a award in appreciation of their very generous support for the project—including hosting a Dutch oven cookout to help raise funds.  

June was also a busy month for the Pollinator Garden. The sprinkler system was completed and the water feature installed. Several dozen potted plants were planted, and milkweed starts from the Idaho Museum of Natural History were put in the raised beds for the Monarch-Milkweed project. The garden is looking good.  

Last, Friends of Camas experienced a true “Pinch Me” moment this month. Unbeknown to us, Miss Rita Poe was a true friend of Camas and other National Wildlife Refuges. When she died of cancer last fall, she directed the value of her estate, a whopping $800,000, be given to the organizations which are the keepers of her favorite places. Click here for the rest of the story:

June is gone, July is here. Now is a perfect time to visit your local refuge. Come and take a look.

Tim Reynolds, President

View Bio

July 2017

A Message From the President

Totality at Camas by Mark Mento, 08.21.2017

September 10, 2017

Camas National Wildlife Refuge was the focus of two significant events in the last month: one everyone has heard about, and the other less publicized. First, the August 21 Total Eclipse of the Sun brought nearly 400 vehicles to Camas NWR to view this spectacular celestial event. As predicted, it was a cloudless sky and, unlike many days in eastern Idaho, nearly windless. Conditions were perfect for eclipse viewing. The additional Fish and Wildlife personnel at the Refuge for the event, coupled with Friends Volunteers, coordinated a hassle free, safe and sane experience. Excerpts from some visitor notes:

Julie M. -- First visit to the refuge for the eclipse. Best event management I have ever experienced! Thank you for providing such a great venue for a once in a lifetime experience!!

Kay W. -- Our first visit to the refuge was to view the 2017 solar eclipse. The refuge is truly wonderful; staff and volunteers are equally wonderful. Thanks to all of you who helped create such a welcoming and well-organized site for the eclipse. I'll be back.

Meg W. -- I was there predawn for viewing the eclipse. A beautiful location for watching the day begin. The staff did an excellent job of organizing us so that in spite of the huge amount of traffic, we moved smoothly into parking places that were spread out enough that it did not feel crowded. I loved being in a natural setting where besides the sun, we could observe the changes in the birds, frogs, and crickets. Moments before totality, an owl glided overhead and landed on a nearby tree.

Check out the Friends of Camas Facebook page for eclipse photos from Camas ( ), and visit this site for an account of one photographer’s experience:

And, here is a link to some dramatic pix, including a 360 degree pan, from Marc Jobin, Montreal, Canada:

The second big event in August was a visit to the Refuge by a Great Crested Flycatcher. Avid birder Hilary Turner (U MT Wildlife Biology grad) first spotted this eastern US species in the Headquarters area (Redstart Lane) August 29. She contacted former Friends Board Member Darren Clark, who subsequently photo-verified the identification (see pic at left) and spread the word through the various Idaho Birding social media. Consequently dozens of birders from across the state have come to Camas to observe this FIRST IDAHO RECORD of a Great Crested Flycatcher. Camas continues to be a hotspot for birding rarities in the state!

The last bit of news is that after four years at the helm, I am stepping down as President of the Board of Friends of Camas. Unfortunately, there is no successor waiting it the wings for the opportunity to lead this organization. The board will divide the president’s duties. This forum will become “View from the Board”, where a different board member will contribute his/her thoughts each month. Because my name is associated with this organization on several grant contracts, agreements, and contact lists, I will remain as a titular head for signing documents and other simple administrative tasks until a successor steps forward. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as President of Friends of Camas. I cannot adequately express my admiration for, and thanks to, my fellow board members, and the absolutely outstanding USFWS staff. Working with Brian Wehausen (Refuge Manager) and Tracy Cassleman (SE Idaho Refuge Complex Project Leader) has been both easy and productive. Thanks guys!

Fall is on its way. Come visit your local National Wildlife Refuge today.

Tim Reynolds, President (until September 16, 2017) Friends of Camas NWR

 Read Past Presidents Messages

Timothy D. (Tim) Reynolds, PhD.

View Bio

2016 President's Messages

2015 President's Messages

2014 President's Messages

2013 President's Messages