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Artist: Chris Vest

Hello! We're glad you're here! 

To Sign-up, select your preferred event below and click "Register".

Please note: Events are popular and fill quickly! If an event is full, we encourage you to add yourself to the waitlist.

Traveling from out of town? Or want to plan a local staycation? Friends of Balcones event attendees are eligible for 10% off at the Mustard Seed Bed and Breakfast in Llano, Texas. Promo code: BALCONESVIP


    • Saturday, January 14, 2023
    • Saturday, December 09, 2023
    • 11 sessions
    • Various Trailheads

    If you love hiking the trails, here's a chance to roll up your sleeves and make a difference.  Trail workdays are scheduled from 9:00-noon on the 2nd Saturday of each month, rotating among the trails. Come join this fun, energetic group of dedicated trail builders and tamers.  Please contact Ryan Beach at if you are interested in participating and would like additional information. Listed below are the monthly trail maintenance workdays at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge scheduled for 2023.  (The ones in the summer months are at Warbler Vista where we have lots of shade!)

     14 January  13 May (weather cancellation)
     9 September
     11 February  10 June  14 October
     11 March  8 July  11 November
     15 April  12 August  9 December

    The team is always pleased to welcome new volunteers, who don’t mind getting a bit sweaty or dirty while performing rewarding work in the great outdoors often immersed in some of the refuge’s most majestic settings.




Feb 3, 2024 

SparrowFest is an annual event that celebrates the nearly 20 species of sparrows that spend their winters in Texas. Guided by experienced birding guides, local bird lovers flock to the refuge to see how many different sparrows they can spot and to celebrate the diversity of the little brown birds.

Bird list from 2023.

Songbird on a branch


April 26-27, 2024

The Balcones Canyonlands Songbird Festival is an annual celebration of nature through a collection of interpretive events designed to help you experience both bird species and their habitat. Experienced guides host bird walks on closed portions of the refuge and help birders from around the world add to their life lists. See you next Spring! 


Pre-K to 2nd Grade  (Downloadable PDF)

3rd Grade + Older (Downloadable PDF)


Here’s some examples from previous events.  

Keep an eye on the calendar as many of these previous events and activities were so popular that we will be scheduling them again!

Opt Outside Hike: Where would you rather be on Black Friday, fighting the crowds or enjoying the peace and quiet of nature on a lovely guided hike. We started with an easy-to-moderate hike through grasslands, and along the north end of the creek. We saw lots of diverse habitat and plants, and heard lots of birds. Then we continued the hike along the creek, up the hill, circled the ridge along the Rim Rock Trail for some amazing, long-range views. A much better place to be on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Native Plants: Are you ready to go native? What makes a plant a “native”? Why should we care? If I buy Lantana at a box store, isn’t it a native? If I want to attract birds, bees and butterflies, what should I plant? Are cedars and mesquite native? Are their good and bad natives? What's wrong with St. Augustine? Presenters from the Native Plant Society of Texas, Linda O’Nan and Jan Warren, answered these questions and so many more. Their talk was followed by a plant walk along two of our most popular tails.
Reptiles: Daniel Carter talked about native reptiles. A great activity for kids. Daniel shared some of his turtles, snakes, salamanders and lizards, and discussed their unique characteristics and explained their importance to our habitat.
Science Mill: From their bio lab to exploring the human body, a slice at a time, from the story of water to the mystery of fractals in nature, our tour guide helped us experience how nature, science and art intersect to create a world of curiosity and beauty in their creative and interactive exhibits. By igniting the curiosity of students, it inspires them to pursue post-secondary education, the Science Mill experience starts students on the path to a life-long career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Olive Oil: We took a field trip to the Texas Hill Country Olive Company is family-owned and they are passionate about what they do, and the most awarded olive oil company in Texas, located in the beautiful and beloved "Texas Hill Country" of Dripping Springs Texas. Since day one the focus has been on preserving the natural beauty of the area while providing fresh locally produced extra virgin olive oil and other premium quality products. We had a private tour in the olive grove and went into the Mill to see (and taste) some of their award-winning olive oils. It was a fascinating education on olive tree growing and producing extra virgin olive oil with a wide range of flavors.


We welcome your ideas for future events! 


About Us

The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to support the mission of the Refuge in restoring and protecting the habitat. The Friends are committed to building a diverse, vibrant community that appreciates, supports, and connects with nature in a meaningful way.

Become a Member

Join the Friends in protecting the wildlife and habitat, and supporting the mission of the Refuge. Start by taking a hike or  attending an event, by watching the seasons change through what’s blooming, or by just watching a hawk soar, or even just sitting still and listening to the songbirds sing. You can have a positive impact. Come find your refuge at the Refuge and join the fun!

Find Us

Mailing Address:

PO Box 4678

Lago Vista, TX 78645

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