What the Refuge does

The Refuge

Though the Balcones Refuge was created to protect the nesting habitat of two endangered birds, the Golden-cheeked warbler and the Black-capped vireo, it has become so much more.

In 2017 over 3200 students participated in nature-based Environmental Education events.

Recreation is important too. The trails at the Refuge have been called "the best in the Hill Country". The dove and deer hunting programs bring hunters out to enjoy a day in the Hill Country and keep wildlife populations in check. The Firearms Safety Program introduces new and experienced hunters to best practices.

Keeping the Hill Country wild is paramount. Balcones has been designated a Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. Working with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Balcones Refuge collected tens of thousands of milkweed seeds to help save the declining Monarch population. In 2017 Balcones, along with its partners, outfitted 100 Golden-cheeked warblers with geolocators in order to study their migration patterns. Currently the Refuge is partnering with others to insure the water quality of the Cow Creek watershed.

we need you

A wildlife refuge is not just a place, it is people; people who love the Texas Hill Country, people who want following generations to appreciate and love the land and the wildlife on it, people who want to keep our water pure, people who want to keep the Hill Country wild instead of wall to wall suburbs. 

We need people like YOU!

YOU can join us as a member of the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so your dues go to direct support of the Refuge, some administrative costs (we are 100% volunteer run) and bringing others out to the Hill Country.

YOU can donate in a variety of ways to keep our programs going, put a roof over the Doeskin amphitheater, build more trails and help us preserve more of the Texas Hill Country.

You can volunteer. Refuge volunteers do everything from activity planning to website administration. We raise funds, lead hikes, collect seed, build and maintain trails and yes, clean bathrooms.

Upcoming events

    • Saturday, January 20, 2018
    • 4:30 PM - 6:45 PM
    • Flying X Ranch, 8339 South FM 114, Bertram TX 78605
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    Sunset Photography WorkshopKeesnap Photography

    It’s no secret that here in Central Texas we have some of the most beautiful sunsets around. Most of us are so eager to snap that sunset shot as soon as we pull out our cameras we forget to take the time to set the photo up properly. Take a few minutes to properly set up your your own slice of the Texas Hill Country through photography.

    Through this unique opportunity you will have the chance to access the Flying X Ranch (8339 South FM 1174, Bertram, TX 78605) which is a non-public part of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

    The Flying X Ranch is a high ground elevation with sweeping fields of wildlife and native grasses. This will be an optimum location for catching that breathtaking sunset photograph. Through the guidance of Chris Keeran (one of Lago Vista’s cherished professional photographers) of KeeSnap Photography you will learn proper camera setup, lighting techniques and “tricks of the trade” to capture photograph can make the difference between a good shot and a breathtaking shot.

    This is a free class, but space is limited to 20 attendees. You are encouraged to bring your camera and tripod but not required.

    This workshop will take place on Saturday, January 20th. We are asking that everybody be there by 4:45 pm as the workshop will start promptly at 5:00 pm. The time between 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm will be for instruction, Q & A and camera setup. The sun is scheduled to set at 5:42 pm, so we want to have time to cover everything and be setup ready for the sun to set. This class is for beginners to intermediate photographers.

    Chris will also have some examples of his beautiful photography set up at the workshop. In the event of inclement weather class cancellation will be announced 48 hours prior to the start time.

    Registration is limited and offered first to Friends members.

    Dress WARMLY. Bring water, snacks and your photography equipment. Phone based GPS will not work in this area. Here is a link to a printable map. Look for the banner at the entrance.

    *If you do attend and find value in what you have learned please consider making a donation to the Friends of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge so we can continue programming just like this for the public.

    • Saturday, February 03, 2018
    • 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Flying X Ranch, 8339 S. FM 1174, Bertram TX 78605
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    14th Annual SparrowFest 2018

    Join Dr. Byron Stone, past president of the Texas Ornithological Society, and experienced guides in the Texas Hill Country home to over 20 overwintering native sparrows.  How many can you identify?

    Birders of all levels will meet before dawn for a light breakfast then break into groups and disperse to usually off-limit areas of the Refuge with experienced leaders.

    Birders will meet back at the Flying X Ranch for lunch and a talk by Dr. Byron Stone. The afternoon will be another series of field trips. The day will end with dinner at the Flying X while birders exchange their day's experiences.

    Local housing may be found here.

Donation goal

Donations 2017
Goal: $25,000.00
Collected: $13,465.00


Call- (512)466-6813

Email- friends@friendsofbalcones.org

Mail- Friends of Balcones

  PO Box 4678

Lago Vista TX 78645

2017 © Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR

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