Friends launches new website focused on discovery and accessibility

Friends website homepage screen shot showing lighthouse, island, lake

September 29, 2022

As part of our mission to inspire more people to fall in love with and help us support and protect the park, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore launched a new website. The new offers stunning visuals, a new way to discover the park before your next adventure and new tools designed to make the site more accessible to people of all abilities.

“The new website showcases the rugged beauty of the islands in a way that touches your heart,” said Executive Director Jeff Rennicke. “From there, our goal is to help everyone learn about this wonderful place and about the vital role the Friends plays in supporting the natural, historical and cultural treasures in it.”

“Our goal is to make a strong visual and emotional connection with our website readers and we’ll be keeping the site fresh all year around. We’re excited to share some exceptional photography from a number of talented creators as well as important news about the park and about how you can get involved.”

Jeff Rennicke

Executive Director, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

We surveyed Friends supporters about what they want most from a website. As part of our response, we’ve created a new Discover the Park section. It’s an easy, interactive way to explore and learn what each island and three mainland locations have to offer. We provide maps, images and basic information about each location, as well as links to the National Park Service website and to stories related to each location on our website. The goal is to make it fun to explore the park virtually before your next in-person visit.

Navigation tiles for park islands and mainland

Screen shot from the Discover the Park visual navigator

Another key goal for the new website was to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. When we have events, we will feature a calendar on the home page. The Our Work page features an explanation of our four pillars, Accessibility, Learning Stewardship and Service, and stories about each of those priorities. The Library features a searchable archive of stories as well as an easy way to get to our very popular series including the Resource Stewardship Symposium, Sense of Adventure and Where in the Park is Neil. Watch for additions to our online store coming soon.

Infinity symbol in green and orange Access for All

As the Friends launches the Access for All campaign to fund accessibility improvements at Meyers Beach and across the park, we’ve incorporated important accessibility features and tools in the new website.

These improvements are part of our effort to comply with current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We’re happy to say that this website is AA compliant.

The goal of these international standards is to make web content more accessible to people with different visual, aural and learning abilities. For example, the new website meets color and contrast standards to make text more readable to people with visual challenges.

We’ve also added a tool that lets users customize how they interact with our website and consume our content. Clicking on the circular blue accessibility icon you’ll see on every page will reveal a menu of items users can use to modify everything from type size to colors and contrast as well as how they navigate through the site, whether that’s through keyboards or screen readers.

Blue and white accessibility icon

Friends Board of Directors Chair Kelley Linehan has been a driving force behind the creation of the new website. “Our team, including Co-Executive Directors Jeff and Jill Rennicke, Board Member Jon Okerstrom, myself and website developer Tony Jeannette collaborated for many months on this effort,” she said. “We’re really proud of the end result and we think it will serve us well for years to come.”

As you explore the new website, know that it’s never finished. We are committed to adding fresh content as well as new features, in the weeks and months ahead. We want to know what you think about the new website and about how we can best help thepark we love. Please feel free to send us your comments below.

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Now in our 20th year, Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is the official philanthropic partner of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible within applicable laws. Support the Friends and the park now.

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