Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
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Refuge Traveling

The following essay was written in 1947 or 1948 by a refuge traveler who became known by most everyone after the publication of her book Silent Spring. Her name, of course, is Rachel Carson.

Carson was chief editor for the Fish and Wildlife Service when she proposed and got approved her plan for a series of 12 booklets on individual refuges she called Conservation in Action. She traveled to 4 refuges in 1946 and 1947 to do her research, the first being the newly established Chincoteague NWR in Virginia. Other writers completed the series that she had begun. This essay introduced that series:

If you travel much in the wilder sections of our country, sooner or later you are likely to meet the sign of the flying goose—the emblem of the National Wildlife Refuges.

You may meet it by the side of a road crossing flat prairie in the Middle West, or in the hot deserts of the southwest. You may meet it by some mountain lake, or as you push your boat through the winding salty creeks of a coastal marsh.

Wherever you meet this sign, respect it. It means that the land behind the sign has been dedicated by the American people to preserving, for themselves and their children, as much of our native wildlife as can be retained along with our modern civilization.

Wild creatures, like men, must have a place to live. As civilization creates cities, builds highways, and drains marshes, it takes away, little by little, the land that is suitable for wildlife. And as their space for living dwindles, the wildlife populations themselves decline. Refuges resist this trend by saving some areas from encroachment and by preserving in them, or restoring where necessary, the conditions that wild things need in order to live. -Rachel Carson

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Ottawa's Best Friends: Brother Duo
The enthusiasm is unmistakable when you hear Chris and Mike Crofts talk about Ottawa NWR. Their association with the refuge spans over two decades and now they are preparing to spread that enthusiasm among a bigger batch of refuge volunteer recruits. The Crofts brothers are spearheading the effort to a form a new citizen support group for the refuge that will be known as Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Excited by a phenomenal 41-person turnout at an exploratory first meeting, the Crofts are busy with the paperwork necessary to formally organize other meetings.

Mike says that anything the new group can do will be helpful, but he and Chris hope that one of the long-range results will be a refuge visitor center on State Route 2 where thousands of travelers pass daily.

"Education will be the key" to the group's success says Mike, who adds that refuges are all over but they are mostly taken for granted.

Refuge manager Martin believes a roster of 500 members can be quickly compiled while interest in the group runs high.

The affinity the Crofts have for the outdoors came at any early age. They started out as hunters with their father who hunted ducks. But their uncle Robert Crofts, a pre-eminent birder in Ohio, was a greater influence. The boys decided that hunting was not for them when they learned that finding bird species was not dependent on carrying a gun or on hunting seasons. Finding 250 species a year is the norm now, reports Mike Crofts.

Besides conducting a refuge bird census every first Sunday of the month, the Crofts have maintained wood duck boxes, cut grass, checked tags on Canada geese, led bird walks and owl hoots, and managed a predator-free common tern nest project.

Mike's enthusiasm has spilled over to his teenage sons. They volunteer, too.

No, the Crofts are not retired persons. They find time to make a living. They do so as the owners and managers of a highly regarded pet shop in suburban Toledo.

Directions
From I-280 in Toledo, exit 7 to OH-2 east, 15 miles to refuge entrance on left.

For more information, contact Ottawa NWR, 14000 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor, OH 43449, 419-898-0014.


From Refuge Reporter, an independent quarterly journal to increase recognition and support of the National Wildlife Refuge System

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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