By Cody Enterprise
March 9, 2016
To help expand and diversify its base of supporters, Friends of a Legacy recently received a $5,000 grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation and sponsored by Toyota.
Friends of a Legacy, an advocacy group for the wild horses of the McCullough Peaks, is a nonprofit organization that works cooperatively with the Cody Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Their partnership benefits the 150 or so horses that roam the 110,000 BLM acres designated as a Herd Management Area 20 miles east of Cody.
“The ‘capacity-building’ grant from NEEF will help FOAL reach new audiences through local, state and national media by sharing the stories about our successful partnerships to protect and preserve the mustang, a symbol of the American West,” said Warren Murphy, president of the FOAL board. “We’re dedicated to keeping the McCullough mustangs wild and free and hope to enlist others of like mind to support us in this cause.”
The National Environmental Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization formed to foster environmental education for all ages and in all segments of the American public. Among various projects, it awards capacity-building grants to groups like FOAL to expand its base.
“Portions of the NEEF grant will be spent locally for media preparations, with the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce and with Wyoming Public Media,” added Marion Morrison, FOAL executive director.
To fulfill the grant, a FOAL task force is assembling a marketing and communications plan comprising traditional as well as social media. The messages will highlight cooperative efforts such as a water augmentation project that benefits all wildlife in the HMA.
“Marathon Oil Co. has been an invaluable partner in this water project, supplemented with funds from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust,” Murphy noted.
FOAL also contributes to BLM’s successful fertility control program, to the maintenance of the reservoirs that are vital to the mustangs and other wildlife such as sage grouse, and to the projects for managing invasive species along Dry Creek, especially the Russian olive and tamarisk.
“When reports of conflict between federal managers and public land users dominate the media, FOAL’s stories exemplify successful public-private partnerships that benefit the public, wild spaces and wildlife,” Murphy said.
Those stories will be related in the Cowboy & Indians summer travel special edition, on Wyoming Public Radio and at the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce visitor center.
Morrison said FOAL seeks to expand its reach – and the group already is seeing results.
“We’d like to reach those who aren’t aware that there are wild horses in McCullough Peaks or of the work that FOAL does,” she said. “We’ve had tourists already on their way out of town turn around to go out to see the horses in McCullough Peaks after seeing one of our brochures. This translates into more dollars staying in town, which I think we can all agree, is a good thing.”
She also touted the importance of cooperation between groups.
“The partnership between FOAL, the BLM and Marathon is a new paradigm offering a very functional, economic solution to a national issue,” Morrison said “We’d like to get the word out that local horse people, outfitters and photographers already understand.”