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.


Academic Scholarships Available

The Friends of Blackwater NWR offer scholarships to Maryland students who are pursuing careers in fish and wildlife management, environmental education and science, and related fields. The application deadline is March 15. Visit our Scholarship page for an application and more information.

Register for the Wild Goose Chase Women's Bicycle Ride

Registration is now open for the 10th Anniversary Wild Goose Chase Women's Bicycle Ride on September 8 and 9. Visit the WGC page for schedule and registration information.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

If you'd like to receive monthly news from Blackwater NWR, be sure to sign up for the Friends' email newsletter. Visit our newsletter page to submit your email address and then be sure to reply to the confirmation email we send to your inbox.

View Winter Waterfowl Survey Results

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff at Blackwater NWR conduct regular waterfowl surveys during the winter months and posts the results online. Check out the latest report to see what types of birds you might find on your next visit.

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