FRIENDS OF THE CARR REFUGE INC

Advocates for Americas most important sea turtle nesting beach

Vero Beach, FL   |  http://carrrefuge.org/

Mission

To promote the conservation of marine turtles and natural resources of the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge and engage in such educational, scientific partnership, and civic activities as will support the mission of the refuge.

Ruling year info

2013

President

Brandon Scott Smith

Main address

4055 Wildlife Way

Vero Beach, FL 32963 USA

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EIN

45-4806799

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) is comprised of 567 individual wildlife refuges, including 29 in Florida. Friends of the Carr Refuge is one of dozens of “friends” organizations fanned out across the country, providing support as citizens to help meet the mission of specific refuges (in our case the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge) and the entire NWRS. We use charitable dollars and volunteer time and energy to restore habitats, promote public awareness, conduct environmental education programs for children and adults, and advocate with our elected leaders and other decision-makers. The NWRS faces many threats today – from funding shortages to development pressures to law changes that weaken protections for land, water, and wildlife. Friends of the Carr Refuge is here to ensure that the Carr Refuge is protected in perpetuity for the benefit of the sea turtles, other threatened and endangered species, and the enjoyment of generations of Americans.

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?

Turtle Talks

Learn about the sea turtles that nest in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and take a guided beach walk to observe an excavation of a hatched sea turtle nest and when possible a release of sea turtle hatchlings. These talks are conducted once a week under a Florida Fish and Wildlife permit during the sea turtle hatching season of July through September.

Population(s) Served

Learn about the sea turtles that nest in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge and take a guided beach walk to observe a nesting Loggerhead sea turtle. These walks are conducted under a Florida Fish and Wildlife permit during the peak of Loggerhead nesting season in June and July.

Population(s) Served

Friends of the Carr Refuge works to extend the reach of the refuge and build public awareness and support. Through social media, newsletters, and other publications, we promote stewardship of public lands in general and the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in particular.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

The mission of the Friends of the Carr Refuge is “to promote the conservation of marine turtles and natural resources of the Archie Carr Refuge and engage in such educational, scientific partnership, and civic activities as will support the mission of the refuge.” Our vision is “to be a strong and visible organization that creates stewards for the Archie Carr Refuge and is an effective advocate for the Refuge’s species, habitats, and mission.”

In other words, in order to effectively help the managers of the refuge in their mission protect the habitat that is home to 4 species of sea turtles, 140 species of birds, 200 species of fish, and 15 species of terrestrial mammals, plus dolphins and manatees, Friends of the Carr Refuge is actively engaged in educational programs, public awareness campaigns, and coordination of activities among partners. In addition, we proactively invest in the health and sustainability of our nonprofit corporation by pursuing excellence in governance and principles of organizational development.

Like other Friends groups, Friends of the Carr Refuge engages in planning annually with our agency partners from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, several board members participate with the Archie Carr Working Group, a regular gathering of the 20-plus public and private organizations that are involved with the Carr Refuge. This process guarantees that we are aligned with refuge’s managers and are focused on the most pressing needs, without duplicating the efforts of other partners. The board adopted the following strategic goals for 2019:

(1) Residents of East Central Florida and visitors to the area will be increasingly aware of the Archie Carr Refuge and its significance to the conservation of sea turtles and other protected species. In 2019, FOCR will continue and grow our public outreach programs.

(2) Residents of East Central Florida and visitors to the area will have access to environmental education programs conducted on the Archie Carr Refuge. In 2019, FOCR will continue to offer evening turtle walk programs and daytime turtle dig programs during the nesting season. Outside of the sea turtle nesting season, we will offer educational programs on topics related to sea turtles as well as other protected species and habitats found on the Refuge.

(3) Managers of the Archie Carr Refuge will have a reliable partner as they strive to meet the needs of the refuge and achieve its conservation mission. In 2019, FOCR will secure funding to: (1) support an education, outreach, and conservation position that will work directly with both FOCR board members and ACNWR staff and (2) provide needed support for Carr Refuge partners.

(4) FOCR will be a strong organization with sufficient human and financial resources to achieve our mission and goals. In 2019, FOCR will continue to build organizational capacity through improved governance processes, membership building, effective planning, and fundraising.

For the last three years, the Friends of the Carr Refuge has organized its work according to a series of annual work plans for achieving the “strategic goals” identified above. Each plan spells out a series of objectives and action steps that, when complete, get us a year closer to achieving our long-range goals. As priorities for the year are chosen, a budget is established that reflects those priorities and puts our financial resources behind those efforts the board has chosen as a focus.

It is important to note that goals 1, 2, and 3 provide services for the managers of the ACNWR that they would be unable to do themselves because of the severe staff and funding shortages that exist throughout the refuge system. We refer to these items internally as the “golden eggs” we produce for the refuge. The 4th goal focuses the FOCR board on the capacity of our organization to deliver value and achieve our program goals, or the “health of the golden goose” herself.

Strategic Goal #1: Increased Public Awareness:
1. Sponsor and visibly participate in community events such as award ceremonies, festivals, beach clean-ups, and sea oat plantings.
2. Develop FOCR Annual Report outlining accomplishments and goals, as well as a membership brochure, updated rack card, and other materials.
3. Engage in a variety of public relations efforts including earned media and social media.

Strategic Goal #2: Conduct Environmental Education Programs:
1. Continue evening turtle walks.
2. Continue daytime turtle digs.
3. Develop, schedule, and host environmental education seminar series on diverse topics during off-season, assist Carr Refuge with beach clean-up, and explore other outreach opportunities.

Strategic Goal #3: Provide Direct Support for Management Priorities on the Refuge:
1. In 2019, FOCR will engage in a major effort to secure funding to: (1) support an education, outreach, and conservation position who will work directly with both FOCR board members and ACNWR staff and (2) support priorities of other Refuge partners. We will raise a total of $20,000 to: support and ensure continuing conservation and research throughout the Refuge to add and improve educational materials, and to support refuge needs.
2. Engage in advocacy programs including those needed to ensure full funding for ACNWR and NWRS operations and prevent development of refuge lands in Florida.

Strategic Goal #4: Be a healthy and sustainable nonprofit organization.
1. Establish governance policies and standard operating procedures to ensure effective and sustainable development of the organization.
2. Expand, diversify, orient, and engage the board of directors.
3. Increase paid memberships to 200.
4. Develop volunteer program capable of accomplishing the goals envisioned in this plan.
5. Develop strategic plan for 2020-2022.

The FOCR Board of Directors is well-rounded and quite strong, committed to meeting its Duties of Care, Loyalty, and Obedience. Because FOCR does not have staff, members of the board are often called upon to work side by side with the dozens of volunteers who conduct the various programs and provide administrative support. Even so, members of the board take their governance role seriously and have made a priority in recent years of recruiting members who have the variety of skills and professional experience needed to lead an effective nonprofit organization. The 9-member board includes:

1) Two members who are natural resources professionals with Brevard County Government, both of whom participated in developing the Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge itself.
2) A university researcher (Ph.D.) who directs the work of the team that monitors turtle activity throughout the nesting season and conducts additional research.
3) Two small business owners whose knowledge of business financial systems and best practices helps keep the board on track to meet its fiduciary obligations.
4) An attorney who reviews our various contracts and legal documents prior to signing.
5) A BoardSource-certified nonprofit consultant who takes the lead in developing policies and procedures as the board builds its governance infrastructure.
6) The development director of a local environmental nonprofit whose talent with web development, social media, and crafting of educational materials is invaluable.
7) A retired software developer who is well known (and much respected and beloved) in our community as a leader on environmental and conservation issues.

Friends of the Carr Refuge holds a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to conduct the Turtle Walk and Turtle Dig programs. This permitting process requires all volunteers who are involved to be trained annually and to operate the programs in accordance with very strict regulations that protect the sea turtles.

Board members have participated in a variety of training programs provided for members of refuge Friends groups and others, including:

1) Two board members who have graduated from the week-long Friends Academy given at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s national Friends Program.
2) Three board members and two regular volunteers who have attended regional “Peer-to-Peer” training programs organized by other Friends groups in the Southeast Region.
3) Two board members and one regular volunteer who attended the “Moving Friends Forward” national Friends training at the National Conservation Training Center that was co-sponsored by the National Wildlife Refuge Association.
4) One board member who has twice attended the annual convention of the Public Lands Alliance.
5) Two board members with extensive training in nonprofit fundraising.
6) Three board members with extensive training in wildlife biology and habitat management.

The board of directors of the Friends of the Carr Refuge is enormously proud of our progress over the last few years. Since our inception in 2012, the board has been committed to providing high quality programs, meeting the needs of the refuge managers (and the turtles!) to the best of our ability, and to doing so in a legally-compliant way that honors our donors and volunteers. Since identifying our strategic goals in 2016 and committing to a series of annual action plans, we have grown our organizational capacity to achieve even more. Fundraising is up. Memberships are up. Volunteer participation is up. Participation in outreach and education programs is up. The board’s focus on governance is up.

The answer to all the baseline progress indicator questions shown above is an emphatic “Yes!” We have updated our bylaws, adopted numerous governance policies (including Conflict of Interest, Document Retention and Destruction, and position descriptions for board members, officers and committees.) We have given unprecedented levels of financial support for the turtle monitoring and research programs for refuge partners, purchasing supplies and providing operating support for the university and government researchers who ensure that the data set is unbroken despite significant funding shortages that threatened to disrupt the program in 2017 and 2018. We have published and posted annual reports for 2017 and 2018, updated our website, grown our social media footprint, and redeveloped our membership materials. Our board members receive a proper orientation when they join us and are connected to training opportunities and information resources that support their efforts as board members.

We are committed to ensuring that progress continues over the next few years. In 2019 we will work with the Student Conservation Association and our agency partners to recruit, hire, and supervise a student intern who will assist the refuge with habitat management projects as well as solidify the curriculum and materials for our outreach and education programs. The intern will also take the lead to help us develop our volunteer recruitment and training program, including creation of a volunteer manual that will spell out the board’s goals and expectations. We will develop succession plans for our officers, especially our board president who has been leading us for 6 years and is ready to hand over the reins. Having recently converted our books from Excel to Quickbooks, we are developing a comprehensive set of financial policies and procedures to ensure state-of-the-art monitoring and reporting.

The Friends of the Carr Refuge welcomes feedback and input from our many members, donors, supporters, volunteers, and partners. Anyone with questions or concerns, or with advice to give, is welcome to reach out directly through our website or social media platforms!

Financials

FRIENDS OF THE CARR REFUGE INC

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Operations

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

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FRIENDS OF THE CARR REFUGE INC

Board of directors
as of 12/5/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Brandon Smith

Vince Lamb

Retired

Rachel Lau

Harris Corporation

Erin Seney

University of Central Florida

Cathy Allen

The Board Doctor, LLC

Dina Rulli

SUP Eco Adventures

Mike McGarry

Brevard County

Kate Zehnder

Marine Resources Council

Jean Cranton

Genesis HealthCare

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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