A Talk on the Wild Side.
By Heather Dewar, USFWS
You’re in on America’s best-kept secret. You know there’s a national wildlife refuge in just about every corner of America, embracing every kind of landscape -- from coral reefs to mountaintop glaciers.
You know the nation’s 560 wildlife refuges offer outdoor adventures and natural spectacles so extraordinary, you’ll remember them for life.
You know refuges are places where you can quietly let the peace of nature seep into your spirit, or take a challenging trek that brings you home dusty, tired, and elated.
Or you can join our work; experience the deep satisfaction of planting a tree, helping a baby turtle reach the sea, or teaching a child how to tag a butterfly and set it free.
Now that you know, you’ll want to get in the game. Here’s how:
Ready for something new? Find unique events – like winter sleigh rides and nighttime “howling safaris” with wild wolves – on our searchable special events page.
Want to get your hands dirty for nature? Visit our volunteering page. You’ll find ways to make a difference in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Some refuges even offer short-term living space to seasonal volunteers.
There’s a refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities. So there’s probably a refuge near you that could use your talents. When you join a Refuge Friends group, you get special opportunities to see behind the scenes, take part in conservation work and meet kindred spirits. And you know you’re doing your part to protect our natural heritage and share it with future generations.
Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana is the perfect place to see autumn colors. (Photo: Scott Whitlock, Creative Commons)
If your experiences inspire you to make conservation your life’s work, we’ve got career information that runs the gamut from summer jobs for high school students to fellowships for graduate students in law, business or science.
If you have a passion for nature … if you’re ready to follow Steve Jobs’ advice and “make a dent in the universe” … now is the time. And the National Wildlife Refuge System is the place. Join us in America’s Great Outdoors!
Heather Dewar is a writer-editor in the Visitor Services & Communications Division of the National Wildlife Refuge System