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Today there are over 200 groups who call themselves “Friends” of their local National Wildlife Refuge. As viewers will learn, these volunteers get involved in everything at ‘their’ refuge, from fundraising, teaching, and sponsoring projects like a desert arboretum at Bosque del Apache, to organizing festivals that raise local awareness about a refuge. They also help refuge staff with field work, running heavy equipment, manning entry gates, operating gift shops and visitor centers. There’s not much they aren’t willing to do.

Viewers wanting more information about this can contact a refuge of interest, or go to:
http://www.fws.gov/volunteers/

Our National Wildlife Refuges also have partners in government at all levels, and a wide range of non-profit organizations to help them achieve their goals. Where the Wild Things Live shows some of these partnerships in action.

National Audubon Society has worked with the refuge system from day one at refuge #1, tiny Pelican Island on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Audubon’s national project, Great Birding Trails, often showcases refuges. White River NWF in eastern Arkansas, also an Internationally Important Birding Area, is on the Great River Birding Trail, which runs along the Mississippi from Canada to the Gulf and also echoes the Great River Road, a Scenic Byway.

Ducks Unlimited [DU] was established in the 1930’s to help migratory waterfowl, whose populations had plummeted because of prolonged drought, loss of habitat, and over hunting. Ducks Unlimited plays a number of roles as refuge partner, for example; acquiring critical habitat in both the United States and Canada, providing necessary foods at different times of the year for migrating birds, and as viewers see at White River National Wildlife Refuge, updating water control systems that mimic the natural flooding which occurs in this 160,000 acre bottomland forest.