About Us

Mission and Vision

“To promote, protect, and provide resources for Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge.” 

The Friends support the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge through conservation on the Refuge and in the community. Our activities complement the work of the federal Fish and Wildlife program by focusing on the work that the federal side of the Refuge can’t do; Fund-Raising, Friend-Raising, and Advocacy.  

Publicly funded institutions are heavily restricted on certain activities that our Friends group is free to do. Activities like:

  • Soliciting donations of funds and resources
  • Purchasing food, beverages, or branded material
  • Selling goods in the Nature Store
  • Awarding funds for transportation 
  • Hosting public wifi and live-feed Nature Cam
  • Conducting a survey of 10 or more people
  • Covering unexpected costs, budget cuts, or funding delays
  • Hiring services or contractors quickly
  • Advocating to elected officials
  • Initiating contact with businesses or private residents to discuss conservation efforts, wildlife and habitat protection, and best management practices outside the Refuge

While public funding provides the largest portion of the Refuge’s budget, support from the Friends group elevates the Refuge’s ability to engage with the community.

Friends continue to:

  • Publish the Grebe Newsletter to inform others about projects and events (upcoming, ongoing, and completed), wildlife sightings, volunteers, and other refuge news.
  • Supports outreach programs to area schools, public markets, and other events.
  • Assist with bus funding to bring kids to the Refuge for the Discover Wildlife Journey and Students Exploring the Environment and Exploring Science education programs.
  • Support  lectures and programs at the refuge for adults and families.
  • Support refuge events like Kids Fish Day, Refuge Star Party and Creepy Critters.
  • Sponsor conservation projects on the refuge.
  • Support and sponsors environmental education.
  • Operate and maintains the Osprey Cam.
  • Build and maintain wildlife viewing blinds and platforms.
  • Support the native plant pollinator garden and interpretive area.
  • Support and take part in periodical litter pickup around the refuge.
  • Install and maintain wild bird feeders at the refuge headquarters and the viewing blind.
  • Identify, initiate, and support projects and actions, and cooperate with refuge personnel.

Future project include assisting the refuge in the creation of an environmental education center at the Refuge and an upgrade to the Kid’s Space in the Visitor Center.

Our Story

The Friends of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2006. The National Wildlife Refuge system has been chronically understaffed and underfunded. As a result, the Friend’s group has worn many hats over the years: hosting school groups for environmental education, habitat maintenance, event planning, advocacy to protect refuge lands from threats, fundraising for wildlife conservation projects, and much more.

What Makes Us Unique

Located in the greater Boise area known as the Treasure Valley, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge sits along an urban-rural interface in one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. We are uniquely situated to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with urbanization.

The Refuge

Established in 1909, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It is a significant resting and wintering area for migrating birds and protects a wide range of wildlife habitats. 

The Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge serves as an urban oasis for residents across the Treasure Valley, Idaho, and beyond.

Urban Wildlife Conservation Program

In 2023, DFNWR applied and was selected to become a Flagship Urban Refuge, meaning:

“They prioritize equitable opportunities to engage with nature through community engagement and welcoming access to public lands. “

The vision is that together with our neighbors as co-designers, we empower community members and foster collaborative conservation solutions that cultivate ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife, and people.