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SAN DIEGO BAY NWR: Sweetwater Marsh does it again…a successful day to celebrate Refuge Week
California-Nevada Offices , October 15, 2011
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The Refuge System's mascot,
The Refuge System's mascot, "Puddles" the blue goose, shows off the day's exciting events at the Chula Vista Nature Center and the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex on Sweetwater Marsh. Please click on Flickr link below for many more photos! - Photo Credit: Lisa Cox/USFWS
Everyone can plant native plants!  Two sisters help each other out with their California fuschia plant.  Click on the Flickr link below for the rest of the day's photos!
Everyone can plant native plants! Two sisters help each other out with their California fuschia plant. Click on the Flickr link below for the rest of the day's photos! - Photo Credit: Lisa Cox/USFWS

By Lisa Cox, USFWS

Digging, drawing, and exploring, oh my! The National Wildlife Refuge Week celebration of 2011 at the Sweetwater Marsh on San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was a great success. Visitors enjoyed a wide array of activities all related to nature, wildlife, and getting outdoors.

This year, more than 750 people from around San Diego County came to enjoy the celebration of refuges and a free day at the Chula Vista Nature Center. The goal of this third annual event was to provide a variety of opportunities that connect people with nature, and increase knowledge about the rich biodiversity that San Diego has for both wildlife and people.

Volunteers and employees from the Chula Vista Nature Center and the refuge participated in the event and were kept busy at the various activities and booths. Park Ranger Debbie Good and Environmental Education Specialist Chantel Jimenez, had native butterfly garden plants to plant. San Diego Refuge Manager Jill Terp intrigued families with wildlife skulls, and practiced identifying native birds with binoculars out on the trails. Assistant San Diego Refuge Manager Jim Kelly helped kids explore plankton, and even brittle stars – straight from the bay’s waters in special magnifying containers.

Inside the Chula Vista Nature Center, families witnessed sea turtle and bald eagle feedings, listened to storytelling, and participated in nature arts and crafts. Outside the Nature Center, they explored the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fire truck with the San Diego NWR Complex fire crew, and tried on real firefighting gear. They had the opportunity to touch and feel exotic wildlife furs and skins at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Inspectors booth, where Special Agent Danielle Abernathy educated folks about illegal poaching. At the last stop, children were encouraged to draw, paint, and collage native animals in the Resource Room, at the new San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex Headquarters next door.

Puddles, the Refuge blue goose mascot, made a couple appearances throughout the day, posing for photo opportunities.

Visitors said they had a great time at the Sweetwater Marsh, and for many it was their first time visiting the refuge. Celebrating Refuge Week was a great success!



http://www.flickr.com/photos/58733621@N07/sets/72157627924672320/
Contact Info: Lisa Cox, 619.476.9150 ext. 106, lisa_cox@fws.gov



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