Ways to Get Involved

Although much of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public due to the sensitive threatened and endangered wildlife that live there, there are still special opportunities to get involved!  


Become a "Friends" member
More than 200 nonprofit Refuge Friends organizations support national wildlife refuges, whether they work with a single refuge, a refuge complex or an entire state.  Friends members are crucial to conserving and protecting our nation’s wildlife and teaching millions of Americans that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow.  

More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century.  Become a volunteer or Refuge Friend to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources. 
Ready to volunteer? Join the South Bay Volunteers! 
•    Learn about South Bay nature and history.
•    Lead nature walks and/or perform habitat maintenance. 
•    Non-technical, hands-on classes and field work. 
•    Great way to make new friends!

View an example of a past training schedule

Our Partners

We are committed to building partnerships that encourage conservation of our natural and cultural resources. Scientifically-informed and technologically-based stewardship of our public lands, waters, and wildlife must be collaborative efforts between the Refuge System, other government agencies, and private organizations if conservation efforts are to succeed. The partners in which the refuge works together with are listed below.

View a list of our partners.

Education Programs

One of the top priorities of the San Diego Bay NWR is educating the local children of Imperial Beach, San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City, about the amazing wildlife in their backyard. The unique plants, animals, and the habitats that support them provide important learning opportunities for kids who do not usually have the privilege to go on field trips. To connect these children with nature, two environmental education programs are in place to support outdoor learning experiences and satisfy the innate sense of wonder children have.  

Sweetwater Marsh is a great place to start connecting with the nature of San Diego Bay. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had a wonderful partnership with the Living Coast Discovery Center (formerly known as the Chula Vista Nature Center) to provide environmental education programs to students near and far to the refuge. The Discovery Center is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing environmental education on coastal resource conservation, and instilling a respect for nature and wildlife in people of all ages. They host thousands of school children every year for field trips, science classes, scout events and other kid-friendly opportunities.

Please visit their website for more information or to book a tour.

South San Diego Bay Unit – “Habitat Heroes” 
Habitat Heroes is an education/restoration program that targets invasive plant species and pollution at the South Bay refuge. The Habitat Heroes Education Project, sponsored by the Friends of the San Diego Wildlife Refuges, brings together young students and volunteer groups to understand and address the growing threat of invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
to the South San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Students work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and environmental educators to remove non-native species and cultivate and plant native species. 

The Habitat Heroes restoration site is located on an upland portion of the refuge, at the north end of 13th Street in Imperial Beach. There you will find an outdoor space for people to stop and enjoy the wildlife surrounding the south bay, called the Charlie Keever and Jonathan Sellers Outdoor Education Center. There is a viewing scope, benches, and climbing rocks for kids to play on, while enjoying the newly restored Habitat Heroes site.

For more information, contact Environmental Education Specialist, Chantel Jimenez at Chantel_Jimenez@fws.gov

Junior Duck Stamp Contest
Calling all teachers or students K-12! Did you know you can participate on a nation wide art contest by drawing North American ducks? Use your skills to compete at the local level and possibly receive national recognition. Learn how you can get involved by visiting the official Junior Duck Stamp page