The Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1993 as a self-sustaining 501(c)3 non-profit organization. An all-volunteer group, led by local citizens, the Friends promote public awareness of the Refuge and participation in the learning and growing that occurs every day. We also provide for projects beyond the reach of federally appropriated dollars and augment educational programs offered to the community.
The Friends support the overarching goals of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in their quest to reconstruct a part of Iowa’s long-lost prairie ecosystem. With the partnership that exists between the Friends and the USFWS staff, greater opportunities are created for enhanced learning about the inherent value of wild lands.Internships are an integral part of the work accomplished at the Refuge and are a cornerstone of our support.
The Friends provide funds enabling students to engage in biology research, invasive species control, fire management and visitor services. Their energy and passion greatly enhance the restoration and research carried out by the Refuge staff.The Friends’ mission is to bring together the public and a thriving wildlife Refuge valued by all. We represent a variety of interests, talents and financial support allowing the Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge to meet its mission and goals.
Prairie Point Nature Store
The Friends also manage and staff the Prairie Point Nature Store in the Refuge’s Visitor Center. All proceeds from the bookstore support the many vital projects and events at the refuge. Visit often to see the wide variety of books – many titles often not seen in larger stores. There is a vast array of children’s books, non-fiction works and field guides. Enjoy shopping for the perfect gift for you and nature lovers of all ages. You will find unique educational toys, apparel, art and photographs of the Refuge from local artists, in addition to many new specialty items. The Friends are also an authorized dealer for Opticron binoculars.