On October 9, 2007, the Providence Journal highlighted the problems Trustom Pond Refuge in Charlestown, RI, is facing due to serious funding cuts. Two articles worth reading were in the paper on page B1:
- Cutbacks at refuges puts staff, volunteers on endangered list ~ by Peter B. Lord
- Reed wants children to get out there ~ by Natalie Garcia (No Child Left Inside)
"...People willing to volunteer at the refuges should contact volunteer coordinator Janna Greenhalgh at 364-9124, ext 29, or Janna_greenhalgh@fws.gov. For more information on the refuges, go to www.fws.gov/refuges."
There is some hope that the new legislation Jack Reed has sponsored, No Child Left Inside, may eventually provide financing for wildlife refuge programs, but meanwhile the staff is trying to recruit retired school teachers or others with expertise in education and with nature. Defenders of Wildlife, a national environmental organization, has reported that "Rhode Island's refuges were among 10 around the country 'that are feeling the effects of years of inadequate funding and a failure to uphold core refuge values.'" (See www.defenders.org/refugesatrisk). I don't think this means the actual staff in Rhode Island, but rather the results of the current administration's lack of financial support for the refuges. The staff is doing all it can to find grant money and teachers to keep their extensive educational program going. If you can help, this is a fine opportunity.