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Friends of Patuxent

Supporting Research, Wildlife Conservation, and Education at the Patuxent Research Refuge
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Who We Are

FRIENDS OF PATUXENT (Friends) is a group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers who share a passion, and work hard to support and promote the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Patuxent Research Refuge and the US Geological Survey's Eastern Ecological Science Center in Laurel, Maryland. Friends was originally formed in the late 1980s at the request of the Refuge Director to raise funds for a wildlife visitor center at Patuxent Research Refuge. Friends of Patuxent was incorporated in 1992 as a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. With support from Friends, Congress, and local governments, organizations, and private donors, the National Wildlife Visitor Center was built and opened in 1994.

Friends of Patuxent operates the Wildlife Images Bookstore and Nature Shop at the National Wildlife Visitor Center, and holds seasonal fundraisers at North or South Tract as a means of generating funds to support the Refuge. The money raised is used to support the missions and programs at Patuxent Research Refuge and the Eastern Ecological Science Center.

Mission & Vision

FRIENDS OF PATUXENT’S mission is to support the research, wildlife conservation and education missions and programs of the Refuge and Science Center. We raise funds for educational programs, exhibits, and research, as well as other Refuge and Science Center projects.

The vision of Friends of Patuxent is that the ecology, habitat, missions and programs of the PRR and EESC are protected, promoted, widely-known, valued and appreciated.

Board of Directors


  • Rich Dolesh, Vice President for Conservation and Parks, National Recreation and Park Association (retired); Chair
  • Lowell W. Adams, Wildlife Biologist; Vice Chair
  • Stephanie Kaufman, Refuge Volunteer; Treasurer
  • Helen Lowe Metzman, Refuge Volunteer; Secretary


  • Karen H. Atwood, Bookstore/Refuge Volunteer
  • Mike Burke
  • Ross Feldner
  • Liz Humes, Refuge Volunteer
  • Courtnye Koivisto
  • Debbie Phillips, Refuge Volunteer
  • Rebekka Thompson, Refuge Volunteer

General Counsel:

  • Benjamin R. Carter, Carter Law, LLC, Beltsville, MD

Agency liaison representatives:

  • Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Partner and Employee Engagement Team Chief, Eastern Ecological Science Center; USGS Representative to Friends Board
  • Diana Ogilvie, Park Ranger/Volunteer Coordinator, National Wildlife Visitor Center, Patuxent Research Refuge; USFWS Representative to Friends Board

Friends of Patuxent Board meetings are held every two months at the National Wildlife Visitor Center on the third Tuesday of the month.

In-person board meetings are usually scheduled for 5 PM.

At present and until further notice, Board meetings are being held at 4 PM via Zoom.

The meetings for fiscal year (2023) are:
January 17, March 21, May 16, July 18, September 19

October 17, 2023 - Annual Membership Meeting

Friends of Patuxent Research Refuge, Inc.

Contact Us:
Office: (301) 497-5789
Fax: (301) 497-5765


10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop

Laurel, Maryland 20708-4011

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