The Science of Species Recovery: Can Masked Bobwhite Persist in the Wild? — January 26, 2021

Dear Friends,

Please join us for this presentation:

The Science of Species Recovery: Can Masked Bobwhite Persist in the Wild?

Tuesday January 26 at 11:00 am MST time, 1:00 pm EST.

The Masked Bobwhite Quail, Colinus virginianus ridgwayi, was believed to be extinct in the wild until 1964 when a wild population was discovered in Sonora Mexico. Birds from that population and from previously established captive populations became forebears of the Masked Bobwhite Quail that are reared for release on Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Species reintroduction and restoration is only possible with significant scientific research and experimentation. Lacrecia Johnson, Rebecca Chester, biologists from US Fish and Wildlife Service and Don Wolfe, Senior Biologist at Sutton Avian Center, will tell us about efforts to establish a sustainable wild population of Masked Bobwhite on Buenos Aires NWR.

Friends of BANWR are delighted to co-host the program with Tucson Audubon Society!

Please register for the program on Tucson Audubon’s registration page 

You can click here for the registration page for the Masked Bobwhite talk; 

or you may go to:

We hope you will be with us!

Lisa Erly’s Quilt Gift

This is Lisa Erly, with the gorgeous quilt she created featuring Charlie Harper’s Western Birds. Lisa was inspired to make the quilt by her visits to Buenos Aires NWR and by the Masked Bobwhite Quail program. She chose Charlie Harper’s colorful birds as the theme and gave them all cheerful backgrounds. Many of the species depicted make their homes on Buenos Aires NWR.
Lisa has given this spectacular work of art to Friends of Buenos Aires NWR to raise funds for the work we do for the refuge! We are deeply honored by her generosity,
We offer the quilt as a gift to our first lifetime member; lifetime memberships start at $1,000.
To join the Friends, at any level, please go to the Join page here on our website.

Buenos Aires NWR in the news

Tucson Audubon Society tells about the significant connections between Buenos Aires NWR and Tucson Audubon in this story from Vermillion Flycatcher, Winter 2020.
Tucson Audubon and Friends of BANWR have worked on projects together for many years! Thank you, Tucson Audubon!

2019 Annual Report

Wildlife Updates

The HPC grant money did create corridors for wildlife to enter and exit the water at Cordova Tank. We knew mule deer were using the tank but hoped that pronghorn might use it once there was a clearing. Below is our happy result.

Four pregnant does were relocated from northern Arizona to the Refuge. Their young added to the fawns from our resident herd. It was great to see so many fawns survive.

Quail reintroduction is increasing the numbers on the ground. Quail techs tracked 80-100 quail that overwintered nine months after their release.

Thanks to Volunteers

Friends decided to restore the jaguar that had been shot in Brazil and smuggled into the US. A volunteer organized a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the money needed. Thanks to all the wonderful donors who made this possible. See it in the Visitor’s Center when the virus allows it to reopen

Two volunteer photographers are posting regular wildlife pictures on the Friends of Buenos Aires Face Book page. There are some really great pictures and we hope you will take a look at them.

Friends are helping to develop a demonstration garden for Manager’s Hill. Tucson Audubon designed the irrigation and rain garden design and will install it. Several donors provided

So many of the great things that happen on the Refuge are thanks to volunteers. There is always a need for volunteers to jump into a project and make it happen.

Financial Summary

Download Report

2018 Annual Report

Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge 2018 Annual Report

This is our second Annual Report and we hope it finds you well!  We had some big accomplishments this past year, thanks to the generosity of our funders, donors and the tireless commitment of our volunteers.


Thanks to LUSH Cosmetics we received a grant that paid for: 

  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey with supplies and mileage reimbursement for the volunteer field help. 
  • Six miles of wildlife friendly fence materials.
  • Consultant, Kyle Thompson to survey the easiest five eroded washes to repair with mesquite matts.  Kyle trained and led a crew of 20 volunteers to create 35 mesquite matts around headquarters and did solo installation in Brown Wash.  
  • Buy Wildlife Drinker and hardware to install it in Brown Canyon.
  • Pay for part of cost to hire two diversity/disadvantaged students as interns for the summer quail release.

 Thanks to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation we received a grant to:

  • Pay for part of cost to hire two diversity/disadvantaged students as interns for the summer quail release.
  • Hire a website designer to improve our web page.

Thanks to Habitat Protection Committee (HPC) we received the first grant to BANWR and it will pay to:

  • Hire a crew to cut openings in the brush around Cordova tank and create connecting corridors leading in and out on the SE and NW sides of the tank followed by seeding in part of it.


  • We dropped, rolled and recycled 18 miles of fence.  Work was done by two weeks of Sierra Club, one week of Wilderness Volunteers and six weeks of work by volunteers from Virginia, Oregon, Massachusetts, Idaho and five local volunteers.
  • Supported Christmas Bird Count at Refuge.
  • Two volunteers restored two picnic tables and placed them on Manager’s Hill for public use.
  • Brought seven students from Changemaker HS to help with quail habitat work.

Financial Summary

The complete Financial Summary is available for download here:

Winter Newsletter 2019



This is your opportunity to receive a beautiful gift and support Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.  While supply lasts, you will receive your choice of bracelet, earrings, or necklace/lanyard free with a donation of $50 or more – (the more you give, the more the Friends can do) as much as you can afford to give.  All donations will be used for Friends of BANWR projects.

One of our Friends, Rosa Panchyshyn –, has designed and handcrafted jewelry using authentic bird bands from our endangered Masked Bobwhite Quail.  Each piece will have at least one bird band and each piece is a one of a kind.  Standard shipping is free anywhere in the United States and it will arrive in a beautifully decorated reusable craft box.  

Your donation provides funding for important projects that support wildlife on the Refuge.  Current projects include mesquite control, tree tenting for quail cover, and seeding for native grass, forbs and shrubs.


Go shopping now!

Thanks to donors like you and the many hours of labor that our volunteers provide, we are making progress in our efforts to create the needed habitat to re-establish the pronghorn to the Refuge and to successfully re-introduce the critically endangered Masked Bobwhite Quail at BANWR.

Below is a sampling of the jewelry available with your donation. You can order your piece of jewelry by going to our website (which is still a work in progress by the way)  There you can make your selection and make your donation.  More pieces will be added.

How FRIENDS OF BANWR provided assistance to the Refuge in 2018


Manager’s Hill

The Refuge plans to put a hard surface RV turnaround on Manager’s Hill, a sidewalk to the picnic area, a gazebo shelter and build a platform for a mounted telescope to view the surrounding grasslands. The Friends have plans for the area also and we are working in coordination with the Refuge to get them done.

Craig Kelley and Hank Panchyshyn are building picnic tables for the area and are almost through with two of them. We need to find the water access so we can install drip irrigation for the native trees, shrubs and forbs we will plant along the hillside. If we put in the irrigation too soon, it may be damaged by the road construction and so we are choreographing our steps but we will create a picnic area with native plants and a great overlook. The picnic part will be ready soon so watch for it when you next visit the refuge.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed toward this project.


Lush Cosmetic Grant
Once again we thank LUSH Cosmetics for this major grant. Thus far, we have funded equipment and mileage reimbursement for volunteers who did over 12 weeks of Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey, we bought six miles of materials to build wildlife-friendly fence and we hired a consultant to identify eroded washes that could be repaired by placing cut mesquite trees into the drainages to trap sediment and slow flood waters.

Thus far, we have not felt confident in how to proceed with eroded wash repair so we are using part of the LUSH grant to hire Kyle Thompson who did the original contract work. He will do two days of training to volunteers in early February. In the process, we will create a demonstration site near the Headquarters, repair a couple of washes and feel capable and ready to proceed on our own.

Finally, the remaining grant money will hire young adults aged 15-25 to live and work on the Refuge to do Quail habitat work and continue the mesquite mat repair in washes. These young people will come from the Tohono O’odham Reservation and Changemaker High School in Tucson. This is an exciting step for Friends to encourage diversity on the Refuge and get young people involved in conservation. That would be a win-win for everyone.

Public Relation Person:  Need to get our name and our work out to the public and contact newspapers and various publications to publicize our programs etc.

Event Planner: Need person to plan and organize programs and events

Grant Writer/Fund Raiser:  We always need funds and we can always use help with writing Grants

Outreach Person: Need a person who could speak at schools, clubs, community organizations etc about the Friends organization.

Media Person:  Need a person to post on Facebook, Instagram, write articles about the Refuge and Friends for publications.

Webmaster Assistant:  Need someone to assist in adding events, articles etc in our web page.
Interested in being a volunteer or joining the board?  E-mail

February 2 at 11:00 am
Birds and Critters
Presented by Rob Rutledge

February 23 at 11:00 am
Snakes on the Refuge
Presented by Mike Cardwell, Wildlife Biologist

March 2 at 11:00 am
Pronghorn and Mule Deer
Presented by Jered Ellingson, Wildlife Manager, Arizona Game & Fish and Craig Kelley

March 16 at 11:00 am
The Endangered Masked Bobwhite Quail
Presented by Joe Bozzo, Quail Technician

Donations Requested
Friends want to repair and display a beautiful Jaguar that the Refuge has owned for over 20 years. We will build a platform/base topped by a Plexiglas case that will provide protection and clear visibility for our cat. It will be placed in the Visitor’s Center for all to appreciate. We need donations for the cost of the taxidermy work, Plexiglas and wood materials and educational signage.

New Board Members:
Bonnie Swarbrick: Bonnie needs no introduction to most of us.  Bonnie joined the staff of BANWR in July 1999 as the refuge Outdoor Recreation Planner.  Bonnie has a Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology and is a very talented and accomplished artist.  She is responsible for our fantastic logo and you will see her touch all over the refuge Visitor Center.

Jeff Buchella:  Jeff also goes way back in our Friends history.  He is a past President of Friends of BANWR, he knows and cares about the refuge and is a practicing attorney.  We are thrilled he has joined our team.

Please note:  The work of the Friends of BANWR is not funded by regular membership dues.  Other than the grant funds we apply for and receive for specific projects, we have no regular income.  We rely on your generosity!! Your donations allow us to support unfunded expenses at the Refuge, show appreciation to volunteers, support Christmas Bird Count with maps, coffee and printing, and many more items that are not included in a grant.  Your support makes all the difference.

To make a donation, visit our new website and make a donation or send us donations anytime by US mail.  Our mailing address is PO Box 81, Green Valley, AZ 85622.
Board of Directors
Reta Rutledge, President
Evelyn Kelley, Vice-President & Treasurer
Sarah King, Secretary
Jered Ellingson, Director
Robert Farrell, Director
Craig Kelley, Director
Ken Langton, Director
Jeff Buchella, Director
Bonnie Swarbrick, Director
Donate online or send a check to:

Friends of BANWR
PO Box 81
Green Valley, AZ 85622

Phone: (317) 354-7352
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Green Valley, AZ 85622

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Lush Cosmetics Invests in Southern Arizona Wildlife Refuge

Lush Cosmetics, owner of the Lush bath products and skincare boutique at La Encantada Mall in Tucson, has awarded a grant to the Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. The Friends is an all-volunteer, nonprofit
organization which supports the 118,000 acre U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge near Arivaca along the US/Mexico Border.

Quote from Lush Charitable Giving Communication Liaison and Regional Ambassador West, Hilary Pickles:

“I saw a brochure for Friends of the BANWR and got on the phone with Reta Rutledge to learn more. I was
impressed with their projects and the drive of the community to address the safety of wildlife in the area. It was
clear to me that Friends operates with passion, commitment and scientific facts; they are implementing real
solutions and we are thrilled to be supporting them.

When we encounter organizations that are addressing the root causes of the issues at hand, it gets our

The Refuge is home to over 50 mammals and 300 bird species. Their key work includes reintroduction of the endangered Masked Bobwhite Quail plus protecting other endangered and threatened species including the
Pronghorn Antelope. Replacing barbed wire fences with wildlife friendly fence allows deer and pronghorn to move safely through the fence instead of being caught or cut by it. Additional work involves removing invasive
grasses and restoring water to the landscape by repairing eroded washes.

Funds from Lush will be used by the Friends group to purchase and install three miles of wildlife friendly fence, survey the habitat of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo Bird for protection and improvement and hire a consultant to identify rapidly eroding washes and how they can be repaired.