In October, more than two dozen Friends’ leaders will gather for the 4th annual Friends Academy at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

The idea of a Friends Academy germinated during the regional Friends workshops in 2006–2007, when Friends expressed a strong desire to learn more about refuge management and how to contribute nationally to conservation. The resulting course agenda includes training on Refuge System priorities, challenges and programs.

We are excited to announce that we are working with the Association of Partners for Public Lands to include almost two full days of organizational management training in this year’s Academy.

Another exciting development is a joint training session with more than 30 refuge staff participating in Refuge Management Academy at NCTC during the same week. Bringing Friends and staff together is a huge opportunity for building the strength of this unique partnership.

For more information about Friends Academy, please contact or call 703–358–2392. Friends Academy updates, agenda and presentations will be made available at the Refuge System’s Friends website at

Joanna Webb is national Friends and partnership coordinator for the National Wildlife Refuge System.