National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge Week

Tule Elk

Tule Elk San Luis NWR_Lee Eastman USFWS Native Tule elk thrive at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in California. The species almost died out in the 20th century because of overhunting and habitat loss. National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 14-20, celebrates refuges’ achievements in conserving wildlife habitat.

Credit: Lee Eastman/USFWS

Many refuges will host public events in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 14-20. The nation’s 560 national wildlife refuges protect wildlife habitat while cleaning our air, filtering our water and pollinating our crops. They also provide world-class hunting and fishing and hiking. Check the special events calendar for Refuge Week events. Among the events planned:

Saturday, October 13:

  • Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND, 2:30 to 7 p.m.

    Halloween Adventure: The Wild Night Life of the Refuge. Enjoy an afternoon and evening of family fun and learning about animals that are active at night, including bats, owls and coyotes. Pre-registration is required: 701/442-5474 ext. 117

  • Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, TX, 8 a.m. to noon 

    Join the thousands of volunteers from across the Valley who help plant trees and shrubs on the Garza-Cavazos tract. Please bring your own shovel, work clothes, gloves and sun screen. Food and refreshments will be provided. More information on Rio Reforestation XXI can be found here.

  • Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, IL, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Take a guided canoe tour along the Old Cache Channel. Meet: Cache Levee Access.
    For reservations, call (618) 634-2231, beginning September 13.

  • Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, TX, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • See live birds of prey. Enjoy a day of family events including guided hikes, fishing and hands-on nature program for youth.

  • Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, IL, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
  • Enjoy a “Ride the Refuge” tour. The eight-mile auto tour begins at Eagle Bluff Access Area and finishes at refuge headquarters.

  • Patuxent Research Refuge, MD, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
  • Enjoy live animals, kids’ crafts, tram tours ($3), scientific demonstrations and behind-the-scenes research tours of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. See where endangered whooping cranes and sea ducks are raised and studied.

  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Meet your “wild” neighbors at this free event celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week. Enjoy a variety of wildlife activities and booths, arts and crafts, and nature films for all ages. Preview the new nine-mile Wildlife Drive, a self-guided auto tour route.

  • Southeast Louisiana Refuges, LA, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Enjoy the annual “Wild Things in Lacombe” festival. This large annual event at the Bayou Lacombe Centre celebrates all things wild.

  • Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, GA, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  
  • Visit the Chesser Island Homestead to discover how people lived in Southeast Georgia when the Refuge System was established. See the refuge website for more information.

Sunday, October 14:
Scores of refuges will once again host The Big Sit!, an annual event in which teams count and report bird species seen or heard from a 17-foot-diameter circle. Participating refuges include:  

Saturday, October 20:

  • Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, HI, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
  • Attend an open house at the refuge on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Take a guided bird hike in ancient rainforest habitat. View forest restoration planting sites. Take a tour of the greenhouse where native koa, ohia and rare lobeliads and mints are being propagated.

Sunday, October 14 through Saturday, October 20:

  • Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ, Daily, 5:45 p.m. to dark
  • Sunset Nature Walks: In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, join refuge staff in watching the spectacular fall migration of ducks and other birds. Easy guided walk on service roads. Bluebird Parking Lot, Pleasant Plains Road.


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Last updated: October 11, 2012