As we know, the number of staff members at our Refuges has been cut over the past several years. One unfortunate result is that visitors to the headquarters compound often have less personal interaction with the people who know the Refuges well and can share information about their history, where interesting sites can be found, the fishing and hunting opportunities, or the best wildlife viewing spots.
Over the same few years, Friends has developed many walking and paddling trails, making information about them available in print and online for free. But a brochure never quite does what a conversation could do.
So, we are considering the establishment of a Friends Visitor Contact Program. If there are Friends members interested, we plan a get-together to talk through plans and possibly set up a pilot project starting as early as November.
One thought is that Friends volunteers would spend time at the front desk greeting walk-in visitors and chatting with them about the Refuges. The volunteers would need to be knowledgeable and able to work independently of the Refuge staff. We would provide training and information.
Each Friends member will receive an email soon about this idea. If such a program might interest you, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be on the contact list for the initial discussion.