National Wildlife Refuge System

Refuge Friends – Your Place to Connect with Wildlife and People

From its start in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System has owed its very existence to concerned citizens eager to protect America's natural resources. There are now more than 200 Friends groups, with about 10 new organizations created each year. Some support a single refuge while others are connected to a refuge complex or an entire state.

Friends organizations are crucial to the collective mission of the Refuge System to conserve and protect the wildlife of this great nation. Friends organizations are essential to helping millions of Americans understand that their actions today determine the legacy we leave for tomorrow. Click "Find a Friend" on the left to locate a Friends organization near you.

Friends Policy

A new Friends policy is now available to assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees in achieving the Service mission more efficiently through partnerships with nonprofit Friends organizations. Details here.

News and Information

The National Environmental Education Fund (NEEF) is providing “Every Day Capacity Building Grants” with an application deadline of April 30, 2014. Details here.


Information about writing grants is available at in the Calendar and Resource Center. 

Friends Partnerships; Understanding and Managing through the Life Cycles (305 KB)


Friends Academy Application (387 KB PDF)

Friends Forward

April 2014



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Specialized groups of friends within Friends can be a novel way to give people a stake in the refuge mission, projects and events. Roxy Jungwirth learned to use a circular saw as a founding member of Women in Preservation, Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge, WI.  Read more in Friends Forward.
Last updated: April 18, 2014