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.


Friends' Annual Meeting

The Friends will hold their Annual Meeting from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on October 14 at the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center. Senator Addie Eckhardt will be presenting a proclamation celebrating FOB’s 30th Anniversary. The program highlight will be a presentation by guest speakers Bill and Mike Giese on the "History of Blackwater NWR." The meeting will conclude with the Election of Officers/Board Members for FY18-19. The meeting is open to the public and light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to Rick Abend at 443-521-2201 or

Volunteer Awards

In April, Blackwater NWR recognized our wonderful volunteers at the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Volunteers (192 volunteers to be exact!) donated 10,003 hours of their time to the Refuge in 2016, which is equivalent to nearly 5 full-time staff. Learn more about the awards on our Volunteer Awards page.

Scholarships Awarded

The Friends of Blackwater NWR recently awarded scholarships to three students who are pursuing careers in environment-related fields. Read more about the winners on our Scholarship page.

Free Bird Walks

Blackwater NWR offers free bird walks on select weekends throughout the year. Visit our Event Calendar to find dates for upcoming bird walks and come join our bird expert for an intimate look at our local bird life.

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