When you see a sign for a National Wildlife Refuge, what comes to mind?
Many may not have realized that the National Wildlife Refuge System is a group of over 560 actual places across the country, varying in the type of landscapes, plants, and animals that they protect.
These places are selected and set aside for various reasons, such as for vanishing species, for the complex network of wildlife they support, and even for public use. In fact, our connection to the areas that make up the National Wildlife Refuge System can be as hopeful and healthy for us as they can be for wildlife.
Mike Carlo, USFWS
Refuges offer us an opportunity to connect to wild places near our homes or while we travel. They provide habitat for species, but they also give us an opportunity to take beautiful photographs, to hunt, to fish and to learn more about the world in which we live.
Wildlife Observation - Refuges provide opportunities for activities such as birding and and most of the refuges provide habitat for hundreds of species.
Wildlife Photography - aside from photography tips a number of refuges even have contests for people to enter.
Hunting - A number of refuges allow hunting in order to responsibly manage populations and some refuges were even created for hunting. Recent regulations open up hunting on a number of wildlife refuges for the first time, making the land more accessible to the public.
Fishing - Many wildlife refuges also provide an excellent opportunity to go fishing. With recent changes in regulations, a total of 275 wildlife refuges allow fishing.
Environmental Education - There are educational activities for school and community groups, families and individuals and special events are posted online.
Interpretation: The visitor centers and trails at the wildlife refuges allow people to explore and interpret information about the refuge or take a closer look at wildlife and how they interact in their ecosystem.
All of these activities are meant to help people understand the value of having wild places and the animals they protect.
-- Danielle Brigida, National Social Media Manager