The first national wildlife refuge was established in 1903 as a result of concerned citizens. Volunteers continue to create major impacts on refuges around the country 110 years later. Whether working directly with refuge staff or as a member of the over 200 refuge Friends organizations, supportive citizens keep refuges running.
At Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, volunteers help with biological programs such as “nest-sitting” with loggerhead sea turtle nests, waiting for hatchlings to emerge. Volunteers also form an important part of the Refuge Visitor Services program, greeting the public and providing information in our Visitor Contact Station. Trail maintenance and construction projects would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers who keep weeds, poison ivy and branches away from the walkways. Several special volunteer days are also held throughout the year to clean up refuge beach and trail areas. If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Visitor Services Manager at (757)301-7329. Opportunities are often seasonal in nature.
Back Bay Restoration Foundation (BBRF) has supported Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge since its inception in 1986. The mission of BBRF is to preserve, protect and improve Back Bay and its watershed through stewardship, education and outreach. The Blue Goose Tram, a guided tour through the Refuge and False Cape State Park, is run by BBRF volunteers. A variety of educational programs are co-hosted by BBRF and Back Bay NWR. Many volunteers participate in activities for both organizations, striving to improve and protect the Refuge and the Back Bay watershed as a whole. Please visit www.bbrf.org for more information.
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The American black duck is a priority species and indicator for the fall-winter migration. While their plumage is actually a very dark brown the birds appear black from any distance. Look for a small iridescent purple speculum (wing patch) when the duck is in flight to help identify these winter visitors. The best time to spot black ducks is from November to February out on Back Bay or in the impoundments on a winter tour with the Blue Goose Tram.