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Climate Change

Snowfall/Aaron MizeSigns of a rapidly changing climate are evident in the Southwest region. We see many flowers blooming earlier, lakes freezing later, and birds altering migration patterns.

We also experience unprecedented weather, such as out-of-season heat waves, tornadoes and tropical storms.  These effects of climate change can transform our environments by changing closely linked associations, such as the timing of hatching insects with the arrival of migratory birds.  It also changes the vegetation in an area affecting the species that have evolved to depend on a specific plant community.  These changes can threaten many of the species we manage.

This is why the National Wildlife Refuge System is focused on trying to predict changes to ecosystems so that action can be taken to help wildlife adjust.

You can also help!  Small changes in our everyday lives can make a big difference.  Here are a few ways you can help our climate and support wildlife conservation where you live.

  • Plant native trees and shrubs that absorb carbon dioxide and slow the spread of invasive species
  • Recycle paper, plastics, glass 
  • Use recycled products that use less energy to manufacture 
  • Change to energy efficient light bulbs and appliances 
  • Reduce gasoline consumption; walk or bike whenever you can 
  • Program your thermostat

Helpful Links:
Conservation in a Changing Climate (USFWS)
Climate Change - What You Can Do (EPA)
Cool It! Tips for Going Green (National Wildlife Federation)
Climate Change - Nature + People = Solutions  (The Nature Conservancy)
U.S.A. National Phenology Network 

Page Photo Credits — Snowfall on the refuge/Aaron Mize, Grasshopper sparrow/Robert Shantz ©, All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: May 20, 2013
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