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Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge’s “Feeding More Than Birds” Food Drive!
Northeast Region, March 21, 2018
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Duck box display at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center.
Duck box display at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center. - Photo Credit: Dan Correa
Somerset County Environmental Education Center owl themed food donation box and display
Somerset County Environmental Education Center owl themed food donation box and display - Photo Credit: Somerset County Environmental Education Center

On March 1, 2018, Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge began its 5 week “Feeding More Than Birds” Food Drive. Daniel, Great Swamp NWR Hispanic Access Foundation Intern, came up with the idea of the food drive. A food drive seemed like the perfect combination of helping the community around Great Swamp NWR, while at the same time raising awareness about the refuge, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and local green spaces.

 

This is our first food drive, which means that it is a new and exciting event for the refuge. As with many events, it takes a team to help make it a success. Fortunately, Daniel had the support of refuge staff and Friends of Great Swamp NWR to help with the planning. The first step was to find a local food bank. Daniel reached out to Interfaith Food Pantry, a local non-profit organization. They were happy to partner with us! They will receive all of the food donations and will be responsible for distributing the food to Morris County communities. We also received tremendous support from key partners including: Somerset County Environmental Education Center (SCEEC), Morris County Outdoor Education Center and The Raptor Trust. These partners have been kind enough to be collection locations. They are also helping to advertise the food drive and are encouraging people to donate.

Great Swamp NWR is optimistic about reaching our goal of collecting 1,000 pounds of food, and making a positive impact on local communities. On just the first day, partners and the refuge received several donations, and people were already sharing this event on social media with the food drive hashtag #feedingmorethanbirds. The refuge will be posting weekly updates on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GreatSwampNWR/), so check in to see how we are doing!

While this may be our first time doing this event, we hope it isn’t our last. Great Swamp NWR is thinking of repeating it next year, and we are looking into expanding it to Wallkill River NWR and possibly Cherry Valley NWR, two other refuges in the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex.


Contact Info: Lia McLaughlin, 973-417-9542, lia_mclaughlin@fws.gov
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