Find your field glasses, get out your party hats, whet your appetites and start packing. Our next Retirees Reunion will be held at the Holiday Inn at the Marina in Corpus Christi, Texas, the first week of March 2015 and we have a lot planned and even more in the works. The weather should be good, the birds have been ordered to cooperate, and many of old friends from your working days will be there to help you celebrate retirement at Reunion 2015.
For more details, check out the current issue of the newsletter.
Friends groups of Refuges, Fish Hatcheries and other FWS facilities may apply for a matching grant to support significant anniversary celebrations of their facilities, e.g. 50th, 75th, 100th etc. anniversary. Click on the Anniversaries tab to read more and download an application.
During the last two weeks of February, eight retirees participated in the second volunteer trip to Chazen Game Reserve outside of Parys, South Africa. This year’s group project was to reseed a hillside and plateau with native grasses. But it was not all work and no play! After working in the mornings, most afternoons were spent birding around the compound, reading, napping (a lot of napping!) and just enjoying the peace and quiet of nature. Each late afternoon, after tea of course, game drives throughout the 40,000 acre reserve were offered. Cape buffalo, giraffes, a variety of antelope species, zebra, black and blue wildebeest, were seen grazing and roaming the grasslands and hillsides.
One of the highlights was observing and learning about an on-going lion breeding program at Chazen. One of the lions had three cubs early in January and it was amazing to watch these young cubs and the adults interact with each other. We did decide the official biological term for the cubs was “they are so cute!” The goal of this program is to improve the genetic pool and these young lions will be placed in the wild when they are adults.
As part of the two week excursion, we departed Chazen and headed to the Center of Humankind Cultural Center to learn about the history and tribal culture, then onto the Elephant Experience Sanctuary for a night, where we learned about elephant behaviors and biology. The “Experience” included grooming and taking the elephants for a walk! Before heading back to Johannesburg we spend two days and nights at Pilanesburg National Park, seeing elephants, rhinos, hippos, zebras and a variety of birds during our tour.
We are in the process of planning for next year’s trip. It will again be in February and in addition to the two weeks we are planning to add an optional safari to KwaZulu-Natal area in eastern South Africa. If you are interested in joining us, you can contact Donna Stanek for more information. To view a gallery of all of Donna Stanak's from this trip, click here. And for future information on volunteer travel, check out the newsletters and "Like" the FWS Retirees Page on Facebook.
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The FWS Retirees Association had a successful 2013 reunion. We sponsored our first international volunteer trip to South Africa, celebrated each other at our reunion in Kalispell, Montana, toured Glacier National Park, took a number of oral histories, assisted NCTC in several youth conservation programs, mentored new project leaders as part of their NCTC training, supported a regional Envirothon for youth, participated in and supported several station anniversary celebrations, helped launch friends group at Creston NFH, sent newsletters to 2,300 retirees, and kept the database running so you could keep current with the Service through Fish & Wildlife News, Refuge Update, and Eddies.
2013 Retirees Reunion Attendees - Will You be in the Next Photo?