Forming a Friends Group
“Several senior managers retired about the same time I did. With encouragement and support from the [Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate] (NRSS), we began exploring the idea of creating a friends group focused on natural resources,” said Shaver. “We understood the importance of science as a foundation for management decisions, and we knew that funding was woefully inadequate. We saw a void, and it made sense to fill that.”
What they could fill that “void” with was something distinctive for an NPS partnership: the only one of its kind devoted to supporting scientific studies and development of management tools to assist parks at a national level.
“We wanted to help natural resource management programs across the country, rather than just at one park,” she said.
Thus, in 2012, the Nature Fund for National Parks was incorporated. With the mission to support science and resource management, the group agreed on three objectives:
- Increase awareness of the role of science in national parks,
- Raise funds for projects, and
- Facilitate partnerships.
In 2013, the Nature Fund became an official partner of the NPS. A year later, Nature Fund received its official status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit with Shaver as the president of the board of directors. To help assist with initial startup, the National Park Foundation provided a small grant.
“It was an arduous, sometimes frustrating process, but we remained committed,” Shaver said.