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

Friends Partnership Mentoring Program

The National Wildlife Refuge System is accepting applications through December 1, 2014. Mentoring sessions will begin being scheduled in early 2015. The purpose of this program is to help Friends partnerships flourish and increase the ability of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to carry out its mission effectively.

  • Program description here
  • Application information here
  • Friends Mentoring Action Plan here
Cover of the Friends Mentoring

Friends Forward

October 2014


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Putting Out the Welcome Mat

A national Ambassadors Program will debut throughout the Refuge System in 2015, offering additional skills to refuge Friends as well as all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees. Read more
Credit: USFWS
Last updated: October 31, 2014