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Incorporated in 1993, the Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is an all-volunteer organization with nearly 600 members. Our purpose is to promote the refuge and support its environmental education, interpretation, and conservation programs; provide funding for free public events at the refuge and improved visitor experiences and facilities; assist with transportation costs so that area student groups can visit to participate in hands-on, standards-based lessons; and act as ambassadors for the refuge in the many surrounding communities.
We welcome individuals of all ages and abilities, families, student/civic organizations, and corporations as members, and we are active in 6 area chambers of commerce (Elk River, Zimmerman, Princeton, Big Lake, Becker, and Monticello). The Friends of Sherburne was named the National Friends Group of the Year in 2008 by the National Wildlife Refuge Association. We feel that this honor acknowledged our ability to set and achieve goals that serve our members, our refuge partners, and refuge visitors as well.
In November 2016 the Friends successfully completed their Be Wild Campaign for Youth Nature Education, which raised $250,000 in funds, goods, and services to furnish the refuge's Oak Savanna Learning Center and enhance the adjacent outside learning spaces with trails, signage, landscaping, a floating wetland education station, and more.
Our organization operates the Eagle's Nest Nature Store, with special open hours on Thursdays and Saturdays at the Oak Savanna Learning Center.