ABQ Backyard Refuge Program


We share our backyards with hundreds, even thousands of different plants and animals, but as cities grow, places for wildlife become fewer and farther between.  Fortunately, in Albuquerque, our backyard is home to a multitude of public lands, like Valle de Oro Urban National Wildlife Refuge, where both wildlife and human communities benefit from ecologically rich habitat that exists within the city and its immediate surroundings.

So as important as public lands, are to the conservation of wildlife, it is also essential that we do not think of protecting wildlife as something that only happens on the public lands we visit on the weekends. The Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and our partners in this ABQ Backyard Refuge program want to support Burquenos to create a system where our public lands are not island refugia, but rather part of a larger system of private and public, rural and urban lands that can all contribute to helping our wildlife and community thrive.

All species are in constant need of suitable habitat in which to dwell and give the next generation a chance to thrive. With wildlife gardening, we can enhance our own outdoor spaces while providing resources for our wild neighbors to make their homes. Even in urban areas, we can make changes that allow other species to flourish with us. Wildlife gardening provides a means of cooperating with our wild neighbors by being aware of their needs and deliberately creating spaces that embrace the presence of more-than-human life.

From a large, one acre lot that can host numerous different trees, shrubs and flowers to a deck or balcony large enough for just a small container garden, everyone can contribute by making an effort to garden for wildlife and landscape for conservation.

The ABQ Backyard Refuge Program has been official launched!

Interested in learning more?

You can download our ABQ Backyard Refuge Program introductory guide, regionally-specific plant list, and certification workbook.  Be sure to join our network to be the first to access the full Education Guide, learn about upcoming ABQ Backyard Refuge workshops and events, and when ABQ Backyard Refuge Certification is launched!

Learn how to Garden for Wildlife and Landscape for Conservation

You can download sections of our growing ABQ Backyard Refuge Program Education Guide, including our Introductory Guide, Plant List and Certification Workbook. We also promote resources from our partners in this program. All program and partner resources are regionally specific to support Burquenos building their own backyard refuge for your family and wildlife. Please check back over the next few months as we will continue to populate this website with additional resources as they become available as well as launch the opportunity to certify your ABQ Backyard Refuge, in early 2021! Be sure to join our network by signing-up above in order to get notified about new resources, opportunities, workshops and event. 

Learning Tools and Partner Resources

Check out these resources, including kids activities, from our partners and the ABQ Backyard Refuge Program to help you design, build and engage with your Backyard Refuge!

Designing and Building Habitat Areas

Reading and Resources to support you in building habitat areas in your yards in the urban landsacpe. 

Native Plants of the Middle Rio Grande Valley

Reading and Resources to learn about Native Plants for our area to support wildlife and save water in your habitat area.  

Green Infrastructure and Soil

Learning Tools and lesson plans for designing and building infrastructor projects on your site to capture and move stormwater to native plants and other areas of your Backyard Refuge and test Soil.

iNaturalist and City Nature Challenge ABQ

A community science platform to help you identify and track wildlife species in your backyard. The City Nature Challenge is an effort to make wildlife observations in Bernalillo County from April 24th - 27th. 

Integrated Monarch Monitoring Program (IMMP)

A national program to collect plant and monarch data to better understand monarch populations and habitat changes over time.  

Bumble Bee Watch

A community science effort to track and conserve North America's Bumble Bees.

The Benefits of Creating Backyard Refuges

Articles about the benefits of planting tress and developing habitat areas in the urban landscape and how people can benefit from building a refuge in their backyard! 

Kids Activites and Curriculum

Resources to learn about our our local ecosystem and mini-lessons for children that you can do at home.

Newsletter and Blog

Each season, the ABQ Backyard Refuge Program sends out a newsletter of seasonal tips to support your efforts to build an ABQ Backyard Refuge! Sign-up for our contact list to get them straight to your email!  

Program Partners

The ABQ Backyard Refuge Program is managed by the Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge with the support of organizations throughout the Middle Rio Grande who value the wildlife and people in our community

Contact us

Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
7851 2nd St. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87105

Open M-F, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Please call or email to make an appointment



Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is open every day, one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset


Due to construction and restoration activites at Valle de Oro, please visit the Valle de Oro website for the most up-to-date information on closures

About this Site

The ABQ Backyard Refuge Program is a program of the Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit conservation organization based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

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