Press Release
Explore Your National Wildlife Refuges: October 13-19, 2013

September 10, 2013

Contacts:
Vanessa Kauffman
Vanessa_Kauffman@fws.gov
(703) 358-2138

Martha Nudel
703-358-1858
martha_nudel@fws.gov

Explore your world. Visit a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week (October 13-19). See what refuges are doing to conserve your wildlife heritage.
 
Even if you’ve never been to a refuge before, refuges enrich your life. These precious places help protect wildlife, generate jobs, clean our air and water, reduce flooding, teach children about nature and offer protected places to fish and hike and be outdoors.
 
“From the Everglades in Florida to the wilderness of northern Alaska, our national wildlife refuges include many of America's most treasured landscapes,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to discover these untamed lands: to hike, to fish, to kayak, or to simply enjoy wild places and wild creatures. I encourage all Americans to visit a refuge in their state, especially those with children who have an opportunity to open up young eyes and hearts to the wonders of the great outdoors.”
 
This year’s Refuge Week celebrations share a wilderness theme as refuges look ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014. The 1964 law created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness nationwide. Twenty million of those acres are on refuge land. Wilderness is wild land – largely undeveloped and unmanaged – that can offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, wildlife observation and non-motorized recreation.
 
“With the establishment of Pelican Island in 1903 by Theodore Roosevelt – the first national wildlife refuge – the simple promise of wildlife protection was born,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “It is my hope that citizens across the country will take advantage of this weeklong celebration to experience wildlife in their natural habitats, and play a firsthand role in conservation by participating in special events and programs.”
 
More than 45 million people visit a refuge each year, with refuge visitors reporting high satisfaction, found a 2012 study by the U.S. Geological Survey. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” offered one respondent.
 
The National Wildlife Refuge System has become the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 561 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
 
Refuges also offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation along 2,500 miles of land and water trails to photography and environmental education.
 
National Wildlife Refuge Week Highlights
Check the special events calendar for Refuge Week events. Among events planned:
 
Saturday, October 12:
 
Habitat Restoration Display, Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Jameson Island Unit, MO
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See a model of the shallow-water habitat restoration project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Jameson Island adjacent to Arrow Rock, MO. Enjoy the 45th annual Arrow Rock Heritage Craft Festival Saturday and Sunday.
 
Ding Darling Day, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, IA
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Help collect prairie plant seeds. Then enjoy a lunch provided by the Friends of Neal Smith Refuge. After lunch, see the documentary film “America’s Darling,” about the late conservation activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Ding Darling, who worked for many years at the Des Moines Register. Hear from the producer about the making of the film, some scenes from which were shot on Neal Smith Refuge.
 
Log Cabin Day Festival, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy a festival at Myers Cabin, sponsored by Muscatatuck Wildlife Society, featuring a free ham-and-bean dinner, old-time crafts, music, wildlife exhibits and children's activities.
 
14th Annual Trinity River Butterfly Count, Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Take part in a butterfly count covering northern Liberty County, including the refuge. Meet at the Valero Gas station at the intersection of Hwys 105 and 321, six miles south of Cleveland. Some folks will butterfly the “bottoms” so bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Butterfly enthusiasts of all levels are welcome.
 
5K Run/Walk for Wildlife, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Mayville, WI
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Celebrate Refuge Week with a race on the refuge auto tour route. Register at 9 a.m. Event starts at 10 a.m. Pre-register at http://www.fonddulacrunningclub.com Family activities will follow.
 
Jr. Duck Waterfowl Hike, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
9 to 11 a.m.
Learn to identify and sketch waterfowl. Children in grades K-12 can also enter the Junior Duck Stamp Contest.
 
Volunteer Work Day, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy a relaxed visit or take part in the refuge’s 26th annual Fall Volunteer Workday.
 
Halloween Adventure, Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy a free supper and a Halloween craft, followed by a hayride along the scenic shoreline of Lake Audubon. Pre-registration is required by Oct. 9: 701-442-5474 ext. 117. Space is limited. Meet at visitor center
 
The Big Sit!, Scores of refuges will host this annual birding event in which teams count and report bird species seen or heard from a 17-foot-diameter circle. Refuges participating on October 12 include: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lighthouse observation deck

Sunrise to sunset
 
Sunday, October 13:
 
The Big Sit!, Scores of refuges will host this annual birding event in which teams count and report bird species seen or heard from a 17-foot-diameter circle. Refuges participating on October 13 include:

Sunrise to sunset, Observation deck
Contact Information: Steve Whitson, 660-856-3323 ext. 13, steve_whitson@fws.gov

7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Champion Lake pier

Sunrise to sunset, Endicott Observation structure
Donna Stanley, 812-522-4352, muscatatuck@fws.gov

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lookout tower
 
Open House, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
“Go Wild,” Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, VA
1 to 5 p.m.
Enjoy events including bluebird house building, a guided kayak tour, natur mpliments of Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Friends. Event is on the Hutchinson Tract.
 
Habitat Restoration Display, Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, Jameson Island Unit, MO
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See description for Saturday, October 12.
 
Saturday, October 19
 
Wildlife Festival, Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy live animals, children’s crafts, tram tours, scientific demonstrations and behind-the-scenes research tours of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center located on the refuge. See where endangered whooping cranes and sea ducks are raised and studied. National Wildlife Visitor Center
 
River Paddle Ride, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, MO
8 a.m. to 12 (noon)
Enjoy a guided paddle ride down the Mingo River. A limited number of canoes and kayaks will be available for use. Participants are also welcome to bring their own canoe or kayak. Pre-registration is required: 573-222-3589, peter_rea@fws.gov
 
Open House, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Open House, Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, IL
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Meet refuge staff. Learn about the National Wildlife Refuge System and local conservation partners. Take an auto tour of the refuge. See a program with live birds.
 
Sunday, October 20
 
Open House, Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Sunday, October 13 through Saturday, October 19:
 
Open House, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
All week
The normally closed “waterfowl sanctuary” area will be open to walk-in visitors during Refuge Week.
 
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The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our homepage at www.fws.gov/refuges. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
 


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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