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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Endangered Species Spotlight: Coho Salmon

Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day sets aside the third Friday in May to recognize the importance of endangered species and is an occasion to educate the public on how to protect them. This year, Endangered Species Day falls on May 18th.  In the weeks leading up to Endangered Species Day, we'll be putting a spotlight on a few endangered and threatened species for you to learn more about what makes them unique. And there's still time to enter the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! The submission deadline is March 15.

Gordon Li Coho SalmonCoho Salmon by Gordon Li

The Coho salmon in the United States ranges from the central California coast to northern Alaska and weighs from 7 to 12 pounds. 

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Endangered Species Spotlight: Polar Bear

Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day sets aside the third Friday in May to recognize the importance of endangered species and is an occasion to educate the public on how to protect them. This year, Endangered Species Day falls on May 18th.  In the weeks leading up to Endangered Species Day, we're putting a spotlight on a few endangered and threatened species for you to learn more about what makes them unique. And there's still time to enter the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest!

Today is International Polar Bear Day! Join us in celebrating this unique symbol of the Arctic.

Polar bear with cubPhoto: Scott Schliebe/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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Get Involved: Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest

Know any budding Picassos or Georgia O’Keeffes?

Tell them to grab their art supplies and enter the 2012 Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! They’ll need to use their creativity to visually portray one or more land- and/or ocean-dwelling endangered species—animal or plant—found in the United States.

The contest is open to ­­­all K-12 students and entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2012.

A prestigious panel of artists, photographers, and conservationists will judge the entries. Winners will be chosen in four categories: K-Grade 2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12, along with one overall national winner. Complete rules for the contest can be found on the Endangered Species Day website.

Some of last year’s semi-finalists include: 

Coho Salmon[Coho Salmon] by Gordon Li of California

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Wisdom, Dr. Sylvia Earle, And a New Addition to Midway Atoll

In December, we brought you the story of Wisdom.  She's the over 60 year-old Laysan Abatross that returned to Midway Atoll to incubate an egg.

Albatross at MidwayA Laysan Albatross colony on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument number over a million and cover nearly every square foot of open space during breeding and nesting season. Photo:Andy Collins/NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

But Wisdom's return isn't the only cool thing happening at Midway these days.  Dr. Sylvia Earle, former chief scientist of NOAA, recently visted and met Wisdom, and also got to meet a very special newly-hatched chick.

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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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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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Looking Back: Howard Zahniser

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.

Howard Zahniser was known in Washington, DC, for his genial personality, his poetic prose, and his coat.

Zahniser PortraitCourtesy of Wilderness.net

The coat, tailor-made for Zahnhiser, had multiple oversize pockets to hold handouts and drafts of legislation while Zahniser made his rounds on Capitol Hill in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of December 12th

Is holiday shopping, cooking, and preparing making you say "Bah-Humbug" more than "Happy Holidays!"?  Take a break from all the running around and head outside to get a breath of fresh air. Even though the temperature is dropping there are still things to do and see.

Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country this week, some in the spirit of the season.  Check out this link for more events happening in December on our refuges.

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!

SnowshoeingGuests snowshoe at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in the Mountain-Praire Region, Photo: Jennifer Jewett

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