Friends Conferences and Workshops

Refuge Friends at the 2009 National Wildlife Refuge System Friends Conference | Todd Harless/USFWS

The National Wildlife Refuge Association and the National Wildlife Refuge System have hosted dozens of national conferences and regional workshops that provide Friends group members and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff with skills-building resources, capacity-building training and networking opportunities.

The first National Refuge Friends Conference, held in 2002, represented a milestone in the refuge Friends movement and an important moment for our country’s national wildlife refuges. The conference marked the first time in the history of refuge Friends groups that so many volunteers gathered in a national forum to build their capacity to support the Refuge System.

Subsequent conferences and workshops have provided invaluable training to refuge Friends groups on topics as diverse as board development, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, communications and marketing, reaching diverse communities and environmental education. Paired with the team spirit generated from gathering Friends representatives from all over the country, the results have been extraordinary.

Past conferences:

  • 2009 Friends Unite
  • 2008 Friends for the Future
  • 2005 Friends in Action
  • 2003 Centennial Refuge Friends Conference
  • 2002 National Friends Conference

To see more about events our Friends groups participate in, visit and see the calendars page.

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