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T he Friends of the Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is a 501(c)(3), non-profit cooperating association founded in 1997 to assist the United State Fish & Wildlife Service in carrying out its educational, interpretive, and public use missions.
The truth is that every American owns millions of acres of beautiful national public land. These lands, including the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, are ours to enjoy, but we can't enjoy them if they aren't cared for properly. For the last twenty years, lack of sufficient federal funding for the care and maintenance of these public lands, coupled with the cost of damages due to natural disasters, has resulted in a billion dollar backlog of badly needed repairs.
This situation has resulted in a decline in habitat productivity or, in some cases, outright loss. It has also made it difficult to effectively deal with invasive species, and it has cut back on opportunities to harbor threatened or endangered species. Add to this, the fact that, according to recent studies,water pollution kills more than 65 million birds a year !
So, it comes as no shock that theRefuge System needs FRIENDS. It is the primary reason why so many of the 500+ refuges in this country now have established Friends Groups working hand in hand with Fish & Wildlife Service staff. It is the FRIENDS who take up the slack on refuges by helping to find funding and volunteers for projects that are so important to the survival of wildlife, for facility development and maintenance, for community outreach, and for environmental education programs.
We, the Friends of the Heinz Refuge at Tinicum , are proud to be a part of this network. Our work, both on and off the Refuge, supplements that of the Fish & Wildlife Service staff. We work on trails, assist with educational projects, and raise funds either in our nature store (Tinicum Treasures), or through grants, to implement projects that the refuge budget will not cover. Much remains to be done, and we can't do it alone!
- Gary Stolz
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