Bayou Cocodrie NWR forms new ‘Friends of the Refuge’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – With such an unusual name, some folks might say Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge could use a few friends. And that’s exactly why refuge Manager Mike Esters is working to form a &uot;Friends of the Refuge&uot; group for the 13,168-acre refuge located on Poole Road off Louisiana 15 near Ferriday.

Last week Esters held a meeting with people interested in forming a Friends of Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge.

Esters said the meeting was a success.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I was very pleased with the attendance and with the progress we made in developing a friends group,&uot; he said.

Esters said the primary focus of the meeting was explaining &uot;what our intentions are about having a friends group.&uot;

He said the purpose of the group would be to help advance &uot;public use&uot; and educational programs at the refuge.

Esters said environmental education is one of the priorities at the refuge, but that limited staffing and funding sometime prohibit what the refuge can accomplish.

Which is where the friends group can help.

Esters said an interim board of directors was put in place in order to help establish the group’s non-profit, 501(c)3 status with the IRS. The move is required for private, non-profit organizations.

The interim board will begin working on the papers necessary for the 501(c)3 application and begin drafting by laws for the group.

Esters said some of the initial questions to be answered in the by-laws range from: &uot;How do you file for membership?&uot; to &uot;Will there be fees involved?&uot;

Esters said a membership meeting for the friends group is planned for mid to late May, though the exact date isn’t set yet.

Established in 1992, Bayou Cocodrie provides wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl. Since its designation as a National Wildlife Refuge, the refuge protects one of the nation’s least disturbed bottomland hardwood forests.

At various times of the year, the refuge serves as a home to a wide variety of ducks and geese. In addition a number of white-tailed deer, squirrel and many species of songbirds and neotropical migrants also visit the refuge. And the American Bald Eagle, peregrine falcon and the Louisiana black bear have, on occasion, been spotted at the refuge.