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.


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.

Free Bird Walks

Our free bird walks will be starting again in the fall and offer a wonderful chance to see the Refuge with a birding expert. See our Event Calendar for dates and times.

Raptor Cam Update

The two chicks on the Osprey Cam fledged, so we were able to visit the platform and repair our camera. Thanks for your patience during our downtime.

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