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

Proposals for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grants are due April 14. Grant funding is available in the following categories: start-up, capacity building, project specific, peer-to-peer coaching. Details here.


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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Friends of Tualatin River Refuge in Oregon:  Friends Group of the Year for its environmental education programs, bird monitoring and coordination of the Tualatin River Bird Festival. Read more in Friends Forward here.
Last updated: April 16, 2014