Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region
2145 Key Wallace Dr
Cambridge, MD 21613
(410) 228-2677
Refuge volunteers. Credit: USFWS
Refuge volunteers. Credit: USFWS
Refuge volunteers. Credit: USFWS
Refuge Volunteers. Credit: USFWS
Refuge volunteer. Credit: USFWS

Friends of Blackwater

Have you been looking for a new hobby? Do you enjoy the great outdoors? Do you like working with people? Are you a hiker, biker, or birder? How about an educator? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, then we're looking for you!

The Friends of Blackwater, founded in 1987 by concerned local citizens, is a nonprofit organization interested in assisting Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System in carrying out their public-use missions, which include education, interpretation, and wildlife-compatible recreation (visit the Friends of Blackwater website). In 2003, the Friends of Blackwater were named the Refuge System "Friends Group of the Year."

There are approximately 180,000 visitors per year to the Refuge. During their visit, most people make use of the Visitor Center where there are exhibits and the Friends operated store, "The Eagle's Nest Book and Gift Shop" The sales and related functions at the store are carried out by unpaid U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers, most of whom are also members of the Friends. All funds derived from sales at "The Eagle's Nest" are used to finance various educational, interpretive, and wildlife-oriented recreational projects and programs at Blackwater. These programs cannot be funded by the federal government due to shrinking federal budgets.

Volunteer opportunities at Blackwater include:

  • Lead nature walks
  • Conduct tours on the Wildlife Drive
  • Staff the Visitor Center and "The Eagle's Nest" store
  • Assist with environmental education programs
  • Give talks to school groups, scouts, and clubs
  • Staff mobile exhibits at various events
  • Take photographs or catalog slides
  • Help with litter clean-ups
  • Conduct biological surveys
  • Maintain trails and facilities
  • Build and install nest boxes
  • Monitor water quality
  • Help staff at Headquarters with phones and filing
  • Perform data entry
  • Help with the January Eagle Survey and more..........!

Would you like to serve on a Friends Committee?

  • Budget and Finance
  • Education and Training
  • Bookstore Operations
  • Publications
  • Member Relations
  • Public Relations
  • Wildlife-Oriented Recreation
  • Project Committee
  • Hospitality

Training is provided for all volunteers, and each year the Friends thank their volunteers with special events, volunteer recognition dinners, field trips, and other activities because the Friends and staff value the dedicated individuals who give their time unselfishly to make Blackwater the very best national wildlife refuge it can be!

If you are interested in any or all of the opportunities above, visit the Friends of Blackwater Membership page for information about joining, or contact us using the form on our website.

Several of the Friends volunteers and members have been nationally recognized for their efforts in the field of environmental conservation -- you could be next, so please join!

And be sure to visit the Friends of Blackwater Cam Central page to see the
Live Osprey and Eagle Cams!


Last updated: April 16, 2011