Community Partnership Spotlight: Deer Flat Refuge

Since 1909, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge has managed habitat for a wide variety of mammals, birds and other animals that call the Lake Lowell urban oasis home. Now U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees who work at the refuge are expanding that care to the Nampa School District’s Family and Community Resource Centers. FCRCs foster student success by eliminating the barriers that prevent optimal learning and connecting families with community resources. 


Refuge employees teamed up with the Treasure Valley Urban Conservation Partnership (TVUCP) and volunteers from the Friends of Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge to provide $25,000 to the district’s five FCRCs. The group’s efforts were recently acknowledged with a New Partner award from the Nampa School District. 


Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FCRC coordinator Jasmine Flores are active in the TVUCP, a coalition of local organizations that support opportunities to engage the community. A partnership was born after Refuge Manager Eddie Owens heard Flores speak at a local networking event about the impact the centers have locally.  


“The school district’s FCRCs are already an asset in the community, so we wanted to find a way to support them,” said Devyn Hallamore, Urban Park Ranger at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge.  


In Their Own Words 

When Hallamore learned that a community garden managed by the Central Elementary FCRC needed volunteer assistance, she helped to organize a work crew in honor of Urban Wildlife Conservation Day. That crew included Patricia Matthews, a garden expert involved with Friends of Deer Flat. She has continued to work with the FCRC to organize a spring garden club. 


The crew brought all the materials needed to revitalize the garden and spent hours pulling weeds, ripping up old weed cloth, and spreading new bark. 


“This has been my experience with Deer Flat,” Flores said. “Genuinely good people who are putting in the hard work to show up for their community.” 


In addition, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of environmental education and urban conservation programs. Youth and adult groups visit every year to learn about wildlife, habitat and ecology. 


How to get involved 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is supported by a robust volunteer program and is always looking for additional volunteers. In addition, the Treasure Valley Urban Conservation Partnership is open to both individual members and organizations. For more information, email [email protected]