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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Planting Trees Promotes Pollinators

By Tana Nulph, USFWS

The pollinators are buzzing happily at Ennis National Fish Hatchery as they enjoy the much-anticipated arrival of summer. And thanks to more than 250 new pollinator-friendly trees and shrubs we recently planted at the hatchery, they have plenty to buzz about!

This tree project has been a cooperative effort involving the hatchery's permanent staff, the Youth Conservation Corps members, and local elementary school students, who planted several of the trees for Earth Day 2011. The goal of the project is to add habitat for pollinators, inform students of the importance of pollinators and the challenges they face, and to improve the landscape of the hatchery using native vegetation. This project has reached many students, from the 2nd to 5th graders who planted the trees to their older siblings who tend them as YCC's.

plantingWorking hard to place the plants properly! (Photo: USFWS)

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Reasons to Celebrate: The Refuge System's 109th Birthday

How do you mark a 109th birthday?  

In style.  

All the more so when the honoree is an American icon, respected the world-over as a conservation force and national treasure.   

Ducks in Flight, ChincoteagueDucks take off at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Steve Hillebrand

The birth of the National Wildlife Refuge System on March 14, 1903, ensured that our children and our children’s children will inherit an America that still has natural spaces and the wild creatures.

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Photo Tour: Refuge Skies

What do we miss when we're looking down?  This photo tour is here to answer that question.  Enjoy these views of refuge skies, and if you'd like to see even more, head over to Flickr for the full set!

Snow Geese in FlightSnow geese and Ross' geese in flight at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in California.  Photo: USFWS

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Love All Around: Nature's Courtship Rituals

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to share some of the more fascinating shows species put on to attract a mate. These colorful, noisy rituals can be seen firsthand at many national wildlife refuges.

Take the male Attwater’s praire chicken. He’ll dance a jig and make a “booming” sound by filling orange air sacks on the sides of his neck. The spectacle can be seen in March and April at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, which has its annual festival April 14-15.

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Photo Tour: Camera Traps

Have you ever heard of camera traps?  

They're cameras triggered by a combination of motion and heat to capture images of wildlife.  The following images were part of a four-camera project involving students from New Mexico's Rio Rancho High School who worked with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the staff of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to record mammal life on the refuge.  

About 200 students sorted through the resulting 16,000 photographs to document the presence and behavior of 11 mammal species, including some that were previously not known to inhabit the refuge!

Here's what the camera looks like to take the pictures - scent post were placed near the cameras.

The Camera Trap cameraCamera used in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM camera trap project by Matthew Farley, Jennifer Miyashiro and James Stuart.  Photo made available by J.N. Stuart, Creative Commons

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Photo Tour: Relating to Snow

Each week, the National Wildlife Refuge System puts together a slideshow on flickr for people to see some amazing shots of wildlife from across the country.  Check it out here!

Can you guess what all these images have in common?  

Okay, it's not that hard if you read the blog title.  They all have to do with snow - from snowfalls to animals with "snow" in their names!

What's your favorite thing related to snow? 

Snowy OwlThis snowy owl sits adjacent to Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon.  Photo: Roy W. Lowe/USFWS

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Looking Back: Elizabeth "Betty" Losey

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a new series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

In 1947, Elizabeth “Betty” Losey – fresh from the University of Michigan with a master of science degree in wildlife management and conservation – said she couldn’t get a job with the Michigan State Game Division because no one wanted a woman out in the field overnight. 

Fortunately, a fellow Michigan graduate offered her a job. 

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Photo Tour: The Weather Outside

Snow can be beautiful - especially when flakes are slowly falling from the sky, covering us in a soft white blanket.  It's a time to curl up on the sofa, maybe a fire crackling in the background, and sip on something warm.  Let us take you on a snow-filled tour, including some cute critters and some great scenery.  

Cardinal in SnowA Cardinal sits on a Pine tree branch in New Jersy.  Photo: Laura Perlick

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Looking Back: Forrest Carpenter

Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.

When Forrest Carpenter retired in 1973 after 36 years of federal government service, he became the founding president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the nonprofit organization that supports the Refuge System.

Forrest Carpenter

“When he realized he could do something that would help refuge managers and the Refuge System that he believed in so strongly,” says his daughter Susan Evans, “he felt he had to do it. He worked harder on that than anything in his life for 13 years.” 

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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 19th

Well, it's here - the end of the year is upon us.  Looking for something to do to celebrate a new year? Ring in the holidays with events at a refuge!  

Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country through the end of December. Check out this link for even more events happening in December on our refuges, including the nearly century old tradition sponsored by the Audobon Society - the Christmas bird count!

As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find events at a Wildlife Refuge near you.

Let's go outside!

Christmas bird count, Nevada 2009Birders participating in the 2009 Christmas Bird Count at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

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