Connect, Share, Learn

Welcome! The Refuge Friends Connect website is a place for Friends to:

  • Connect with each other,
  • Share your experiences, and
  • Learn from each other by providing support and encouragement.

This is your website to help you and your group find inspiration, motivate others, and have the knowledge and skills to meet the challenges you face as you support wildlife conservation, your community, the local refuge, and the Refuge System.

On this site you’ll find resources to expand your knowledge, a directory of all Friends, forums to pose questions and get advice, a calendar to share what you’re planning and see what others are doing, and news of what’s happening around the Refuge System — a place to do a bit of bragging.

Your participation will make this site a valuable tool. So become a member, join in the discussions, and add content. Within the Friends community there is a vast amount of knowledge that when shared strengthens every individual, groups, and our collective effort to support wildlife conservation.

This site represents the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) and the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) ongoing commitment to work together to ensure Friends have the tools and knowledge to support refuge and engage their communities. Go to About to learn more about this partnership.

Conservation Leaders Recognized with 2017 Refuge System Awards

The National Wildlife Refuge Association announced the 2017 National Wildlife Refuge System Awards exemplifying the outstanding conservation management skills and volunteer leadership found throughout the Refuge System. The annual awards honor the Refuge Manager, Refuge Employee, Refuge Volunteer and Friends Group of the Year.
“We are extremely proud to honor these individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to enhancing and protecting America’s national wildlife refuges, said Geoffrey L. Haskett, Acting President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “They are an inspiration to all of us to remain positive and continue promoting the Refuge System.”
The 2017 award winners are:
  • Kevin Godsea: The Paul Kroegel Refuge System Manager of the Year
  • Dale Pittman: Refuge System Employee of the Year
  • Richard Esker: Refuge System Volunteer of the Year
  • Friends of Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: The Molly Krival Refuge System Friends Group of the Year
To learn more about the 2017 Refuge System Award winners, click here to read the Refuge Association’s official press release. 


Refuge Friends Organizations

Refuge Friends Groups are independent, nonprofit organizations run by citizens that support the purposes and objectives of national wildlife refuges. Many groups are well established and provide extensive assistance to their refuges; others have just gotten started. This website is a resource for all Refuge Friends.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association

National Wildlife Refuge Association LOGOThis website is managed by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and a group of volunteers. The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge Association is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect, enhance, and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries that secure its ecological integrity. NWRA is the only national non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to protecting the National Wildlife Refuge System. For more information, visit

The National Wildlife Refuge System

The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s premier system of public lands set aside for the protection of wildlife, fish and plants. There are more than 550 national wildlife refuges across the country, with at least one in every U.S. state and territory. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manage the NWRS.