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 of NSNWR 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.

In 2001, the Bird Conservation Area (BCA) program was established by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources. By 2005, Jasper County saw the dedication of the 77,000 acre Chichaqua-Neal Smith Grassland BCA.

With stretches of Skunk River oxbow channels, marshes & wetlands connecting with the 6,000 acre tallgrass prairie & oak savanna at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, a grand diversity of habitat is created for an array of species, especially rare or declining birds.

Grassland birds, such as Henslow’s sparrows & meadowlarks have dramatically increased in numbers on the refuge, despite long-term declines nationally.

With the partnership that exists between the Friends nd the USFWS staff, greater opportunities are created for enhanced learning about the inherent value of wild lands.

Through the support of the Friends of NSNWR, the sharing of that learning is broadened and more people become aware of the refuge and its benefits to their own lives and the health of their environment.

Internships are an integral part of the work accomplished at the refuge and are a cornerstone of our support. The Friends provide funds that enable 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.

As a member of the Friends , you can be an important part of this grand undertaking to restore what’s been lost.As a member of the Friends , you can be an important part of this grand undertaking to restore what’s been lost.

The power of a Friend’s group is its members. Our 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. Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is a nonprofit organization and all donations may be tax deductible. Members receive Prairie Wind, the Friends newsletter.




P.O. Box 399
9981 Pacific St.
Prairie City, IA 50228
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The refuge roads and trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.

The Prairie Learning and Visitor Center is open year-round.
Regular Hours:
Sunday-Saturday from 9am-4pm

Winter hours:
December 1-February 28
Monday-Saturday from 9am-4pm; closed Sunday.

We are open on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day; we are closed on all other Federal holidays.