The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge was born in May 2001 with a sign-up sheet at the Lago Vista Chamber of Commerce's Texas Songbird Festival. A small group of committed individuals has been meeting monthly ever since. The Friends incorporated in July 2002 and applied for 501(c)(3) status in August.
The mission of the Friends organization is to support, complete, and enhance the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and its diverse ecology and promote its use for recreational, educational, and scientific purposes. The goals of the Friends organization are to:
- Serve in a cooperative relationship with Refuge management to provide funds, volunteer labor, and in-kind resources to help meet the needs and goals of the Refuge.
- Serve as an advocate for the fair acquisition of lands and associated habitats within the Refuge.
- Provide assistance to Refuge personnel on projects to develop and improve visitor programs and public use facilities.
- Promote public awareness of, support, and participation in eco-tourism, recreation, and pursuit of nature studies in the Refuge through educational, scientific, civic, and charitable programs.