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. Unfortunately the egg they laid did not hatch. We'll leave the cam on throughout the summer to see the birds that visit the nest.

Butterfly Garden in Bloom

If you visit the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center while you're at the Refuge, be sure to check out the wonderful butterfly garden behind the building. It's a great place to learn about native plants that you can use to attract butterflies. You might also see a hummingbird! Learn more on our Butterfly Garden page.

No Entrance Fee Days

On special occasions throughout the year, the Department of Interior offers "no fee" days at national wildlife refuges, including Blackwater NWR. See our Event Calendar to find out what days are "no fee" days.

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