Refuge Association Staff Provide Thought Leadership at Advanced Refuge Management Academy and Refuge Friends Academy

Desiree Sorenson-Groves, left, speaks to participants at the National Conservation Training Center.
Desiree Sorenson-Groves, left, speaks to participants at the National Conservation Training Center.

This week, staff from the Refuge Association attended two trainings at the National Conservation Training Center hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Advanced Refuge Management Academy and Refuge Friends Academy. The Refuge Association’s participation was to explain who we are and how we assist both Friends and Service staff to help deliver their mission.

While the two Academies occur separately but simultaneously, the Service decided to hold one joint training day. This provides incredible opportunities for Service staff and Friends leaders to share perspectives, best practices, and solutions to increase their collaboration across the country.

This year, the joint day was Tuesday, August 22nd. It began with Desiree Sorenson-Groves, Vice President of Government Affairs, and Caroline Brouwer, Director of Government Affairs, leading a presentation about the power of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) and its overarching goal to ensure that the Refuge System has appropriate funding to fulfill its conservation mission. Since 2001, the Refuge Association has chaired CARE, which is a coalition of 23 conservation, scientific, sportsmen, and environmental organizations that represent over 16,500,000 members. All CARE group members work together toward the common goal of increasing Refuge System funding, despite a wide range of interests. Joining the Refuge Association were representatives from the National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Izaak Walton League.

That evening, Sorenson-Groves and the Association’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Musaus, led an open discussion with Friends and Service staff about challenges and opportunities facing the Refuge System.

“We depend on Refuge Friends organizations, comprised of thousands of citizens, who want to make a difference for wildlife, to build strong and collaborative relationships between a wide range of stakeholders. These relationships are essential to protect and conserve the Refuge System,” said Sorenson-Groves.

Musaus also spoke directly to the Advanced Refuge Management Academy on Thursday, August 24th. As a retired leader in the Service, and now a leader in the nonprofit sector supporting refuges in a different way, Musaus spoke about envisioning the future of the Refuge System.

Joy Blackwood, the Refuge Association’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Program Director, was in attendance on Thursday at the Friends Academy to explain the Refuge Association’s role with the Refuge System’s Urban Refuge Program.

These Academies provide excellent opportunities for the Refuge Association to foster collaborative relationships, which is at the core of the Refuge Association’s mission. We would like to give a special thank you to all staff of the Refuge System who allowed us to participate in this year’s programs.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2017/08/refuge-association-staff-provide-thought-leadership-at-advanced-refuge-management-academy-and-refuge-friends-academy/

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