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 Academy Application (389 KB PDF)

Friends Academy is August 17 to 21 at NCTC in Shepherdstown, WV. Application deadline March 30.

Friends Partnership Mentoring Program

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 Right-click on this form to save it on your computer before filling it out. Only in Adobe Acrobat will you be able to save your work on this application.
  • Friends Mentoring Action Plan here

Friends Forward

April 2015


Cover of the Friends Mentoring
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Wiley "Dub" Lyon is the 2015 Refuge System Volunteer of the Year for his commitment to Balcones Canyonlands Refuge, TX, and its Friends group. More on all the awards here.The 2015 Molly Krival Friends Group of the Year Award goes to Friends of the Bosque del Apache Refuge, NM. More on all the awards here.

Last updated: April 15, 2015