The Friends of Blackwater is a nonprofit citizens support group for Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) near Cambridge, Maryland. Together with our partners, we provide vital fundraising, volunteer, and advocacy support to help make Blackwater NWR one of the best refuges in America's National Wildlife Refuge System. Learn more about how you can join, donate, or volunteer with us.


Marsh Edge Trail Closed

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff have closed the Marsh Edge Trail at the Refuge to minimize disturbance to nesting bald eagles in the area. The trail will most likely remain closed through July or August.

Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest

The public is invited to view judging of the Maryland entries in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest at the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center on February 18, 2017 (9 a.m.).

Refuge Closures for Hunting Season

A large section of the Wildlife Drive and the Key Wallace Trail will be closed on various days in the fall and winter for deer management activities. Visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Blackwater NWR website for a list of dates.

College Scholarships

The Friends of Blackwater offer three annual scholarships to Maryland students who are pursuing careers in fish and wildlife management, environmental education and science, and related fields. See our Scholarships page for an application.

Share your images!

Do you have a great image from Blackwater NWR? Be sure to visit our online gallery of images and videos from Blackwater NWR. You can submit a photo or video for inclusion in our gallery or you can share your photos and videos with us on our Friends of Blackwater Facebook page. Show us what you've got!

Blackwater NWR image gallery

What is a national wildlife refuge?

You might be surprised to learn that national wildlife refuges are different than national parks. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the only system of federal lands devoted specifically to wildlife. While national wildlife refuges provide recreational opportunities for people, they also provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species, and more than 1,000 species of fish. More than 380 threatened or endangered plants or animals are protected on wildlife refuges. Each year, millions of migrating birds use refuges as stepping stones while they fly thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes. Learn more about America's National Wildlife Refuge System at

red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed hawk on Refuge System "blue goose" sign. Credit: George Gentry/USFWS