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A Talk on the Wild Side.

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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Let's Go Outside! Featured Refuge Events for the Week of November 28th

The weather may be getting colder, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to do outside! Here are some of the events happening at refuges across the country this week.  As always, make sure you head over to the Refuge System's homepage and use their searchable map to find a Wildlife Refuge near you!

Let's go outside!

First Snow at SunsetThe season's first snow at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, ND on Nov. 7, 2011

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New Service Voices: Social Media at the Upper Miss Refuge

Cortney White

Cortney White, 
Park Ranger, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Today we’re continuing our series "New Service Voices" with guest blogger Cortney White.  Cortney has been with the service since 2009 at Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, first as a clerk, now as a Park Ranger in the Student Career Employment Program (SCEP).  Cortney completed her B.A. in Public Relations from Winona State University in 2010 and is finishing her M.S. in Outdoor Education.  She has concentrated her work at WSU on how to promote positive environmental attitudes in young children.

When I started working with the Service, my job description as a clerk at the Upper Miss Refuge included helping the new refuge Friends group start using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. When I learned I would be able to communicate the mission of conservation using social media I was excited to help display the refuge in a new spotlight.

At that time social media was new to the Service, and providing a resource for the Friends group to advertise the refuge online helped expand the refuge to a new audience. Like many organizations, the refuge traditionally depended on print or television media to promote a refuge story and communicate to viewers.  Social media however, allows the refuge the ability to communicate directly with those interested in its mission.

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Minnesota: Warmer Temperatures Take a Toll on Minnesota Moose

A bull moose emerging from a freshwater bath
Video iconVideo: To determine how warming temperatures impact moose populations, scientists capture and study the animals, which can reach 7 feet and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Watch this video to see one of the ways this data is collected.

Minnesota’s iconic moose might be the seven-foot-tall, 1,000 pound version of the canary in the coal mine. The large antlered animal appears on the verge of being pushed out of its southernmost historic range by climate change and other stressors.

Biologists at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources say rising temperatures are at least partly to blame for a sharp drop in moose numbers in northwest Minnesota since the early 1990s.  Warming appears to make moose more susceptible to deer-borne parasites and ticks, which often lead to malnutrition and death.

According to aerial winter surveys conducted by the state, northwestern Minnesota’s moose population has dropped from a high of about 4,000 in the early 1980s to fewer than 100 in 2007.  Agassiz Refuge used to boast more than 430 moose; now, it has fewer than 50. 

“For years, Agassiz Refuge was the place to go if you wanted to see moose year-round,” says Agassiz Refuge Manager Maggie Anderson. “Our entrance signs and all of our brochures featured the moose as the emblem of the refuge.” Then, she laments, “in 1995, that all started to change.” These days, moose are rarely seen.

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