October 11, 2012
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week October 14-20 and Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Joan Jewett, (503) 231-6211
Treat yourself with a visit to a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week October 14-20. Celebrate America’s wildlife heritage, and see what wildlife refuges are doing to conserve it.
“National wildlife refuges play a crucial role in conserving America’s wildlife legacy,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Refuges also play important roles in human communities. By providing healthy habitats for wildlife, refuges improve the air we breathe and the water we drink, improve soil quality and give protection against flooding in flood-prone areas. Jobs and businesses in local communities rely on refuges – and the visitors they attract. Refuges offer glorious and protected places to hunt, fish, hike and share the outdoors with a new generation.”
Visitors to refuges like what they find there, according to a study this year by the U.S. Geological Survey. About 90 percent of the survey’s 10,000 adult participants reported satisfaction with refuge recreation, information and education, public service and conservation. “Nowhere else do I feel such a deep sense of connection with the land, the plants, and the wildlife,” offered one respondent. “Visiting a refuge is truly a spiritual experience.”
Among the most popular activities for 45 million refuge visitors last year were wildlife viewing, bird watching, photography, hiking and auto-tour-route driving.
Since Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System has become the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing 150 million acres in 556 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
National wildlife refuges also offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation along 2,500 miles of land and water trails to photography and environmental education.
National Wildlife Refuge Week Highlights for the Pacific Region Include:
- Fall Planting Party at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, in Washington: Attendees will join FWS staff and plant violets at the Tarlatt Unit of the refuge on Saturday, October 13th, 9 a.m. to noon and Tuesday, October 16th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Early blue violets will be planted as part of an on-going habitat restoration project that will result in the return of the Oregon silverspot butterfly to the Long Beach Peninsula. www.fws.gov/willapa
- BirdFest at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge October 12-14: Join the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and FWS staff in a weekend full of events and activities. Walk on guided bird and plant tours. Learn about wildlife and natural and cultural history from experts. Reserve a spot on a tour to view a sandhill cranes roost. Kayak on a guided paddle tour. Shop at a birders marketplace. Visit an authentic replica of a plankhouse and see demonstrations on how Native Americans lived. Sample salmon at a traditional salmon bake. Watch your children have fun for free while learning about nature at the craft stations, storytelling tent, and children's bird walks. To learn more, go to http://www.ridgefieldfriends.org/index.php
- Night Walk at Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge, Friday October 19, 7 p.m. to9 p.m.: One of the best times to experience nature is when the sun goes down. Come learn about the adaptations animals have which allow them to be most active at night and discover the sights and sounds for yourself on a guided walk through one of the few urban refuges in the country. To learn more go to http://www.fws.gov/tualatinriver/specialevents.html
Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge: Sunday, October 14th - 10:00am - 4:00pm. Visitors can stroll through the history of the National Wildlife Refuge System while enjoying the sounds of surf and seabirds. Take in coastal views while looking for spinner dolphins, sea turtles, and Hawaiian monk seals. Explore additional work being done for wildlife by other conservation groups and take pictures with “Puddles” the Blue Goose, mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- Open House at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Big Island, HI, October 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: The public is invited to celebrate Refuge Week by visiting ancient rainforest habitat for guided bird hikes, viewing active forest restoration planting sites and touring the greenhouse where native koa,ohia,and rare lobeliads and mints are propagated for outplanting. This refuge is home to the endangered Akepa, Io (Hawaiian hawk), Nene, Akiapola'au, and Hawai'i Creeper.