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.


Ospreys Have Returned

Our osprey couple has returned to the Friends of Blackwater Osprey Cam. We're excited to see that the pair has one egg in the nest. Hatching is expected around June 3.

Women's Cycling Event

The Potomac Pedalers Women's Group is organizing a women's ride through Blackwater NWR on May 20. Visit their website for more information and to register.

Youth Fishing Fun Day

Our Youth Fishing Fun Day will be held on June 3, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This fishing event is for youths 15 and under, and includes gifts, food, photos, fishing help, and lots of fun! Learn how to register for the event.

Free Bird Walks

Blackwater NWR offers free bird walks on select weekends throughout the year. Visit our Events 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