Training Programs for Friends

2016 Friends Academy August 8-12, 2016

The Refuge System is seeking competitive applications for the ninth annual FriendsAcademy at the National Conservation Training Center, August 8-12. Friends Academy is an advanced training program for board members of refuge Friends organizations. The week-long academy seeks to cultivate emerging Friends leaders by providing a broad understanding of the Refuge System and enhancing partnership and nonprofit management skills to increase the effectiveness of Friends/Service partnerships.

Friends Academy Application (369 KB PDF)

Friends Mentoring Program  
Refuge field stations and their Friends organization can now jointly apply for mentoring on a year-round basis.  The Friends Mentoring Program is a Refuge System support program which offers peer-to-peer coaching and information sharing between a trained mentor pair, refuge staff and their Friends board.  The program is designed to nurture and add vibrancy to Friends partnerships of all ages and sizes, from formative to mature.  The trained mentor pair includes an experienced Friends board member and Service employee who help the mentees assess and evaluate their Friends-Service partnership​, organizational effectiveness​, overall ​sustainability.

​In the past, mentors have assisted with strategic planning, board development, communications systems, life cycle assessment, prioritizing, and starting over.  If selected for mentoring through the application process, partnerships can have a pair of mentors travel to their station, at no cost to the station, for two days of peer-to-peer coaching.  Before completing the application, please contact your regional Friends coordinator ( for Region-specific information.  For more information about the program in general, please contact national Friends coordinator Joanna Webb (703-358-2392​)​  or email  


Friends Partnership Mentoring Program Action Plan (3.12MB PDF)

Friends Mentoring 2016 Application (139 KB PDF)

Friends Academy 2011
Friends Academy 2011
Credit: Joanna Webb


Webinars specific to Friends organizations are periodically hosted by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and are available for viewing online from NEEF's webinars page.


Reinvigorating Your Friends Partnership
Starting in April 2016 (dates to be announced soon)
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00pm – 5:30pm Eastern for seven weeks

Friends organizations are important partners for U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service field stations.  Like all non-profit organizations, they have
periods ​when they flourish and stagnate. During this online course, FWS staff and Friends board members can assess the “health” of their Friends organizational effectiveness and overall sustainability.
Course Leader: or 304-876-7651