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

    • Monday, December 18, 2017
    • 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • The Balcones NWR Circle

    Seaon GreetingsThe Balcones
    Christmas Bird Count

    Monday December 18th, 2017

    Join us on Monday, December 18th, for the annual Balcones Christmas Bird Count (CBC). This count has enjoyed steady growth in participation over the past few years, and as a result our species total has continued to climb as well. We would love to continue this trend - more eyes in the field gives a better view of the birds life there.

    The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running wildlife census in the world and provides critical data on bird population trends and movements. The Balcones CBC is sponsored by the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR. The circle includes all the tracts of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding area (see the map on our website). We need many birders of all skill levels to adequately survey the birds in the circle area to find all of the expected species and the rare species visiting the area. We would especially like to have some feeder watchers this year, so if you live within the circle and have bird feeders, please participate.

    Thank you for participating in this important citizen-science project!

    For more information about CBC’s in general, see http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count
    Email balconescbc@gmail.com with questions or to register. Exisitng team leaders and member should email us to confirm you are returning.

    Not on an established Balcones CBC team yet? Please read the NEWCOMERS FAQ.
    • Monday, January 01, 2018
    • 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    • Doeskin Ranch, 10654 South FM 1174, Bertram TX 78605

    Third Annual 1st Day Hike 

    Please join us for our 3rd annual hike celebrating the New Year. Due to the popularilty of the 1st Day hikes we are holding it at Doeskin Ranch this year.

    Hike up the hill on the Rimrock Trail and take in the expansive views. This has been called the "one of the best trails in the Hill Country". Opt for a lower hike along the Pond & Prairie and the Creek Trails. The contrast of open grassland and following a sparkling clear stream allows a hiker to experience the variety of the Texas Hill Country.

    Our hike leaders will talk about birding, plant identification and photography.  Bring your binoculars, cameras and questions.

    After the hike join us for hot chocolate (or lemonade, depending on the weather).

    • Saturday, February 03, 2018
    • 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Flying X Ranch, 8339 S. FM 1174, Bertram TX 78605
    • 8

    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: $6,665.00


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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