Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Oak Harbor, OH   |  http://www.friendsofottawanwr.org/

Mission

To support conservation in the Lake Erie marshes by increasing the awareness and capability of Ohio's only national wildlife refuge complex.

Ruling year info

2000

Executive Director

Aimee Arent

Main address

14000 OH-2 (State Route 2)

Oak Harbor, OH 43449 USA

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Formerly known as

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Association

EIN

34-1904821

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Fresh water is a finite resource. We are working to protect it. The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, the 11th largest lake in the world. The Great Lakes contain about 20% of the world's fresh water but they are in jeopardy. The wetlands of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge play a critical role in the Lake Erie ecosystem, acting as the kidneys of the landscape; working to protect NW Ohio's drinking water, work, and leisure. Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge works to support Ohio's only national wildlife refuge complex through fundraising and volunteerism so that we can be the change that our landscape deserves.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Refuge Support- Special Projects

Support the refuge with maintenance and restoration projects, purchase of equipment, and volunteer support. Special projects include building fishing, paddling, and hunting access points and improving trails for public use.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$25,000

Provide transportation to bring school children to the refuge

Population(s) Served
K-12 (5-19 years)
Budget
$2,000

Provide stipends for 6-10 interns per year

Population(s) Served
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Budget
$20,000

One of Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's long term goals is to establish a $500,000 Land Acquisition and Restoration Fund. This fund will allow us to aid the refuge with the purchase of land from willing property owners and restoration of existing refuge parcels from Toledo to the Sandusky Bay. The Friends purchased their first two parcels of land in 2019, totaling 40.57 acres. These parcels will be restored in tandem with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to forested, grassland, and wetland habitats.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified
Budget
$206,000

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Refuge Support- Special Projects

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of acres of land protected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Land Acquisition

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is the number of acres of land the Friends group has purchased and conserved. This land is being managed by the Friends group until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can purchase it from us.

Number of clients placed in internships

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents (13-19 years),Young Adults (20-25 years)

Related Program

Intern Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This metric shows the number of college interns we have each year. With a new stipend structure, we anticipate this number to increase in 2020.

Percentage of donors retained each year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is our annual donor retention rate. In 2019, we saw our highest ever donor retention rate of 53%. We plan to increase that number even more through donor-centered fundraising efforts in 2020.

Percent of board members who showed support through donations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

We strive to have 100% board giving each year.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

1. We will build a dynamic organization that is a durable and sustainable Friends group. The Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge will be a strong organization with sufficient human and financial capacity to achieve our mission, vision, goals and objectives. 2. We will make major contributions to the long-term health and vibrancy of the Refuge and its management. The Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge provides substantial support for Refuge operations and for organizing and funding a variety of programs and projects. 3. We will increase the size of the refuge in accordance with the Comprehensive Conservation Plan. The Refuge will grow with significant help from the Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. 4. We will diversify and increase visitation without harming the wildlife or the habitat. People from near and far experience the Refuge in person and on-line as a world-class destination. 5. We will be a strong and influential voice with national, state and local leaders about the importance of conservation and the Refuge. Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge will actively advocate for the land, water, air and wildlife conservation.

Our current strategies are focused in the following three areas: Refuge Awareness 1. Promote on-site and off-site events focused on environmental education and awareness of this vital resource. 2. Engage with local chambers of commerce, civic organizations, and other community partners. 3. Provide unique opportunities for refuge visitors including presentations, guided tours and hikes. 4. Operate the Rookery Nature Store in the refuge Visitor Center to extend the visitor experience through relevant merchandise. 5. Engage with local, state, and federal representatives to advocate for Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Human Capacity 1. Build and retain a team of volunteers. With only 8 full-time year-round refuge staff and 1 full-time Friends staff member, volunteers are the lifeblood of the refuge. 2. Promote an annual membership program to involve refuge supporters. Funding 1. Connect with interested parties and purchase properties relevant to the refuge to become part of the refuge complex. 2. Fund restoration efforts and maintenance projects on refuge properties. 3. Fund visitor access projects including kayak launches, fishing platforms, and trails. 4. Provide intern stipends to provide college students with incredible experiences and networking opportunities while allowing refuge staff to focus on on-going projects. 5. Provide transportation grants so that local schools can take field trips to experience the refuge. Through donor-centered fundraising, we seek grant opportunities, individual donors, and corporations to help make all of this possible.

Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge seeks diversity in its board of directors, staff, and volunteers to support our mission.

Metrics that we use to measure success are outlined in our Annual Reports. These include statistics for visitation, acres conserved and restored, and transparent program details.

Recent Accomplishments Include: -Purchased 40.57 acres of land to be sold to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when funding is available. -Received Ohio EPA grant to fund restoration work on 40 acres of land. -Funded Wildlife Drive improvements including 9 pull-offs and a restroom mid-way through the route. -With funds from many partnering organizations, built the Visitor Center Fishing Access including one ADA-accessible fishing platform. -Constructed West Harbor Landing observation deck, parking area, kayak launch, kiosk, and pollinator habitat. -Built Turtle Creek Island Unit parking area and kayak launch. -Built Middle Toussaint Unit parking area and kayak launch. -Constructed Boss Unit Shorebird Deck. -850 Friends Members in 45 states and 2 Canadian provinces. -Rookery Nature Store grossed $113,500 in 2019. -Provided stipends for 27 13-week internships in the last 5 years. -Created an Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge license plate available at Ohio BMV's. -Received Ohio Environmental Education Foundation grant to equip the Refuge Ranger Station with educational materials. -Hosted annual events including the Biggest Week in American Birding, Cars for Critters, West Sister Island Sunset Cruise, Discover Ottawa Day, 5K, Chili Cook-off, Lorax Day, Holiday Open House, Howl-o-ween, etc. What's Next? -Purchasing and restoring additional relevant properties to native habitat. Our goal is to have a $500,000 revolving fund in place to allow us to purchase properties as they are available, then sell to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at a later date once their paperwork is in order. Money entering the Joan and Richard Kimple Conservation Fund will help to support land purchases and leverage restoration work in perpetuity. -Funding the restoration and enhancement of the Marinewood Unit. This unit is a retired golf course in central Ottawa County, Ohio that will be open for public use. Potential plans include an ADA hiking trail, kayak launch, playground, RV pads for volunteer site hosts, restroom and picnic facilities. -Reaching 1,000 Friends Members in all 50 states. People from across the country support the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge complex as a hotspot for birding. Our goal is to raise our membership from 850 members in 45 states to 1,000 members spread across all 50 states. -Fund additional refuge priority projects as they arise. Deferred maintenance has made the highest ever recorded lake levels a challenge for Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's aging infrastructure. We anticipate a need to assist in replacing the series of pumps, water control structures, culverts, electric pump stations, flap gates, and fish passage structures.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), paper surveys, focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), suggestion box/email.

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.

Financials

Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Board of directors
as of 2/6/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Peter Schwager

Jake Worthington

Jennifer Biegala

Carol Fingerhut

Melanie Bowen-Greenwald

Shirley Haar

Kristina Johnston

Mary Willoughby

Kendra Foust

Jim Krieger

Michael House

Thomas Romito

Robert Swindell

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/06/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/14/2019

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Keywords

Friends group supporting national wildlife refuge, wildlife and habitat conservation, restoration, youth development