Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (a.k.a FOTWW) is a 501c3 nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat.
We would like to educate those who have an interest in protecting this beautiful American bird, as well as bringing you the latest news on the Whooper.
Make sure you subscribe to stay informed. If you would like to contribute in any way, we would love to hear from you. Donations are always welcome to help with our expenses.
As we move deeper into the month of November, our thoughts begin to turn to the upcoming holiday season and with its arrival, comes shopping and traveling to see family, friends, and loved ones. In today’s hectic times, most of us make our travel plans and do our shopping online because it’s easier and we are able to do so in the comfort of our homes and on our own time frames.
When Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) received its nonprofit 501(c3) status in 2014, we enrolled in some online giving programs so that we could receive donations generated by our supporters who shop and search online. The programs that we have been enrolled in are AmazonSmile, GoodShop and GoodSearch. Everyone is aware of the AmazonSmile giving program, but so many are unaware of the GoodShop and GoodSearch programs.
For those who aren’t familiar with GoodShop and GoodSearch, let me try to give a short explanation on how both work. Both programs are easy to use and since we have been enrolled, our supporters who have signed up with the programs choosing FOTWW as their charity, have earned a total of $492.00 in donations for FOTWW and it was all done by shopping and/or searching online at no cost to you.
GoodSearch is a search engine and works like Google or any other search engine. For every online search you make, they donate 1¢ to FOTWW. That’s all there is to it! Make 10 searches from their portal and we receive a dime donation. It may not sound like much but those pennies do add up throughout the year.
Now about GoodShop. Everyone knows how AmazonSmile works and we can say that GoodShop works the same way, but is even better with 3,000+ partner stores to shop from. With AmazonSmile, charities receive ½ of 1% in donations on your purchase. That means for every dollar you spend at AmazonSmile, you generate ½ cent in donations.
GoodShop gives you more freedom of store choices, travel arrangements and their percentages of donations are higher than AmazonSmile. Let’s say you are traveling for the holidays. From the GoodShop portal, you could choose Travelocity, make your reservations as usual and by doing so, FOTWW would earn a donation of up to 4% of your purchase price. Make arranges through Orbitz and the donation is up to 3.5%, and Expedia earns up to 5%. There are other travel sites, but these examples give you an idea about how it works.
Do you like shopping at Walgreens, LL Bean, or JC Penney online? Through the GoodShop portal, your purchases from Walgreens would earn FOTWW a donation of up to 4%, purchases from LLBean, 2% and JC Penney, 3%. It’s that easy! You shop and GoodShop donates to FOTWW.
Why FOTWW participates
You may wonder why we are mentioning this. FOTWW is an all-volunteer nonprofit and all FOTWW staff members donate their time, energy and sometimes their own personal funds to keep you informed and to continue our mission to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat, including our “stopover habitat” project.
So with the upcoming holidays just around the corner, won’t you please consider enrolling in the GoodShop and GoodSearch programs? All you need to do is go to their website, give them your name and email address, and choose Friends of the Wild Whoopers as your charity. Having been enrolled in the program for several years, I can assure you that you won’t receive tons of emails from them and your information is kept private.
FOTWW thanks everyone who are currently supporting us through GoodShop and GoodSearch and to those who start using it, we thank you beforehand. If you should have any questions about these programs, please feel free to send us an email or post a comment under this article, and we’ll gladly answer them.
Already using GoodShop and GoodSearch? Please share this with families, friends and coworkers who may not know about it.
Friends of the Wild Whoopers’ president, Chester McConnell, will be speaking this Thursday night, Nov. 8, 2018 at the Fort Worth Audubon’s monthly meeting. He will be speaking briefly about the biology of the only wild population of Whooping Cranes on earth. He will also explain the efforts by Friends of the Wild Whoopers to protect, improve and develop “stopover habitats” for these endangered birds.
McConnell spent most of his professional career of 54 years evaluating land use and stream projects, wetland protection, conducting wildlife research, monitoring populations and managing wildlife habitats. Since retiring, he has focused his time on Whooping Cranes, wetland protection and stream protection.
McConnell became interested in Whooping Cranes when he was in the 5th grade. He read a brief article in the Weekly Reader which explained that the Whoopers had returned to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. The article also explained that no one knew where the birds went to in the summer months.
McConnell eventually became a lifetime member of the Whooping Crane Conservation Association. He was appointed as a Trustee and served as President one term. He managed their web page and newsletter (wife was Associate Editor) for 14 years. Currently, McConnell serves as President of Friends of the Wild Whoopers, a private, non-profit group whose mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. He has evaluated potential Whooping Crane habitats on 21 military bases, 8 Indian Reservation and 14 Army Corps of Engineers lakes.
Friends of the Wild Whoopers now works under an official Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate all lakes within the 6 state migration corridor (TX, OK, KS, NE, SD and ND). Services to the military, Indian Reservations and the Corps have been performed at no cost to the recipients.
Time and Location of Meeting
The meeting will begin at 7:30 pm with a short 15 minute business meeting followed by McConnell’s presentation. Meetings are held in Everett Hall, Room 100, in the Research and Education (RES) building at the University of North Texas Health Science Center on 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard (at Montgomery Street) Fort Worth TX 76107. Use Parking Lot 6 on Clifton Street. Enter the RES building ground floor at the northwest corner of Parking Lot 6.
Excitement surrounds the first arrivals to South Texas of what is expected to be a record migration of endangered whooping cranes.
While fewer than 20 of the iconic 5-foot birds have been reported by casual observers and birders north of Rockport, officials with the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge estimate that about 25 percent of the flock, or 100 to 120 cranes, may already be in and around the refuge.
While a few had not left Canada as of this week, observers have reported seeing whooping cranes in every state along the Central Flyway from North Dakota to Texas, said the refuge’s Wade Harrell, whooping crane coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Based on what we’ve seen the last few years, it’ll likely be late December or early January before the entire population is in coastal Texas,” Harrell said.
The migration to Texas can take up to 50 days, with the population typically traveling in small groups and stopping to rest and refuel along the way.
Chester McConnell, president of the Friends of the Wild Whoopers nonprofit group, has been negotiating with military officials and Native American tribes along the flock’s migratory route to boost crane survival. McConnell’s goal is to partner with landowners to enhance wetlands along the Central Flyway.
This effort has resulted in unprecedented cooperation between the wild whooper group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at suitable stopover sites in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota, McConnell said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Transfers Acclaimed Conservation Land
AUSTIN – Over 15,000 acres of the Powderhorn Ranch along the Texas coast in Calhoun County, prime unspoiled coastal prairie, is now a state wildlife management area. The newest crown jewel in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) system is the result of a unique conservation land acquisition coalition led by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF).
The just-completed transfer of the property to the department is the culmination of a multi-year, $37.7 million land acquisition deal. Safeguarding this natural treasure has been contemplated for more than 30 years by several conservation organizations and wildlife agencies including The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and TPWD.
These organizations played a critical role in the acquisition and long-term conservation of this property. TPWF spearheaded the fundraising for the $50 million project, which includes the purchase of the property, habitat restoration and management, as well as a long-term endowment.
A significant portion of the funding for the project has been provided by NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which was created with dollars paid by BP and Transocean in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. NFWF has provided $34.5 million for the project, making this the biggest land acquisition in the nation so far using BP spill restoration dollars.
“The department is privileged to be the steward of this unique and ecologically significant piece of the Texas Coast that the conservation community has worked so hard to protect,” said Clayton Wolf, TPWD Wildlife Division Director. “We look forward to managing these valuable natural resources for current and future generations of Texans to enjoy.”
Management activities on the Powderhorn WMA are already under way with the first public deer hunt scheduled this week. Although public access to the property will be limited as operations and infrastructure gear up, the area is anticipating offering opportunities for low impact activities like guided group birding tours as early as spring 2019.
“Our primary management objectives right now focus on the restoration of native grassland and savannah, and for improving existing hydrology to enhance freshwater wetlands habitat for wildlife, particularly whooping cranes that have expanded onto the property,” said Dan Walker, area manager at Powderhorn WMA. “We’ve already made progress toward returning the land to grassland prairie, clearing dense brush on about 4,000 acres. This restoration effort will be very valuable for research and as a demonstration area for landowners in coastal counties from Matagorda to Willacy.”
The remaining acreage at Powderhorn Ranch is earmarked as the future site of a state park. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation will complete additional infrastructure and habitat improvement projects for the transfer to the State Parks division within the next five years.
The larger acreage transfer marks a major milestone in the multimillion-dollar project. TPWF has now completed several of the goals it set out as part of this collaboration with multiple conservation partners, including completing initial work to restore thousands of acres of native coastal prairie, raising an endowment for continued habitat management, and placing a conservation easement on the property.
“With the transfer to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department of approximately 15,000 acres of Powderhorn Ranch, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is fulfilling a promise to our partners and to the people of Texas to restore, conserve and provide recreational access to one of the largest remaining tracts of undisturbed native habitat on the Texas coast,” said TPWF Executive Director Anne Brown.
***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.