Friends of Mid-Columbia River Refuges

The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources. Partnerships with the Refuge System bring innovative approaches to solving land management and water disputes in the most environmentally protective manner. Scientifically informed and technologically based stewardship of our public lands, waters, wildlife and special places must be collaborative efforts between the Refuge System, other government agencies and private organizations if conservation efforts are to succeed.

The Friends of Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges was organized in 2001 as a nonprofit organization to provide high-quality natural resource-oriented education programs free to the public, but they also do a myriad of things for our refuges, ranging from pulling weeds to filling bird feeders. But it the education programs they run that are the stars of the show. Held primarily at the McNary NWR, the Environmental Education program is a grassroots labor-of-love effort created in the 1990s by dedicated and caring volunteers interested in connecting children to nature. These volunteers continue to coordinate, organize and host an outdoor classroom at McNary NWR. Each year, approximately 2,000 students participate in hands-on experiential learning stations, including aquatic insects, shrub-steppe habitat, invertebrates, birds and more.

Over 60 local citizens belong to the Friends nonprofit group. If you are interested in joining, contact the Friends at (509) 546-8350 or via email at