Best Kept Secret: Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges

Since my husband is now in the National Wildlife Refuge system, I’ve been learning a little more about refuges and particularly those in Alaska. I recently learned about the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. Their mission statement as published on their web site is:

Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of the natural resources of all the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. The Friends promote understanding and appreciation of these refuges and assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in meeting its mandates.

The goals of FOANWR include:

  • Educate the public and decision makers on local, national, and international levels about Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges.
  • Assist the refuges in accomplishing their missions through wildlife management and habitat improvement projects.
  • Fund refuge-oriented projects through grants, memberships, donations, and other activities.

Basically, FOANWR gives everyday citizens the opportunity to volunteer for a variety of activities.

On activity described on the site was:

Connecting the Public and Biologists with Dragonflies.

This project is funded through a Fish and Wildlife Service Challenge Cost-Share Grant. It involves numerous cooperators and several locations. Volunteer opportunities are: Helping with outreach/education and Citizen Science: Learning to identify, collect, and preserve dragonfly and damselfly specimens to increase our knowledge about their diversity and distribution.

Some unfortunate things about FOANWR is that their web site seems to be very out of date, listing 2008 volunteer opportunities and filled positions. Also, this organization seems like an incredibly well-kept secret and after nearly four years in the state with a wildlife biologist husband, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of the organization and opportunities.

Leave it to living in Tok to keep me better informed about programs in our state!

Tok is next to Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. And of course, I’m signing up for FOANWR and am looking forward to see what summertime opportunities they’ll have for us!

Leave a comment


  1. Darren M

     /  February 15, 2009

    I’m a member of FOANWRWSDOOTSAET = Friends Of Alaska National Wildlife Rufuges Who Shoot Ducks Out Of The Sky And Eat Them

  2. carl

     /  February 20, 2009

    I enjoy reading all the comments on this site…I was in Tok one year ago…I wish i had stayed longer………….carl

  3. It’s not really that much of a secret! My name is Michelle Stout and I am the “Friends” representative for Tetlin Nat’l. Wildlife Refuge here in Tok. Anyone who is interested in joining this organiization, or just wants to find out more, is welcome to contact me anytime, either by e-mail, or you can call me at home at 883-3745. We also have a very friendly local, albeit “unofficial”, Friends of Tetlin Wildlife Refuge group that meets for a book club during the winter, helps with the “Canned” Film Festival, Migratory Bird Festival in May, and various other projects. Mary Timm, or anyone else at the refuge office could probably also provide one with more info as well. P.S. I also have lots and lots of extra brochures, so I would be more than happy to send one (or several, if you want to share!) to anyone who is interested — just let me know!


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