Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge is the premier location in southern New York state for nesting grassland birds. By early May, many of the nesting birds have already arrived and more are expected over the next couple of weeks. Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks are the most obvious. The musical song of the Meadowlarks can be heard almost anywhere along the trails as well as the courtship flights and songs of the Bobolinks. Less obvious are the songs of the Grasshopper and Savannah Sparrows but you are also likely to see or hear them. If you are really lucky, you may catch the flight and calls of the much less common Upland Sandpiper. Many other species of songbirds will nest here including Song Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow Warbler and Eastern Bluebird to name just a few.
About the Complex
This complex also includes Wallkill River and Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuges.
Shawangunk Grasslands is managed as part of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Learn more about the complex
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Important Things to Know
The story of Mr. John B. Blenninger and his volunteer career at Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge is truly inspiring. Starting in 1997, Mr. Blenninger dedicated 18 years to litter patrol and cleanup at the refuge’s parking area and along its roadsides. In fact, the first 2 years of his 18 year cleanup effort began before the land was officially established as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1999. Since then, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR has benefitted greatly from Mr. Blenninger’s declared role as “Litter Patrol Volunteer”.
Mr. Blenninger’s love for natural areas is contagious and his work demonstrates his passion. Cleaning up after the occasional dumping of trash at the refuge parking area and along the roadsides goes way beyond preserving the aesthetics of the refuge. Removing garbage also protects wildlife and the habitat they depend on.
Mr. Blenninger hopes the refuge remains as it should, pristine and free of litter, as he hangs up his volunteer cap to enjoy the next of life’s adventures. The staff who administers Shawangunk Grasslands NWR is incredibly thankful for his time and dedication.
If you are interested in volunteering to make a difference please contact, Fran_Stephenson@fws.gov or 973-702-7266 x 10.
Shawangunk Grasslands NWR is a natural area without restroom facilities or potable water sources. Please plan accordingly before visiting.Information to plan your visit.
Shawangunk Grasslands offers a variety of ways to enjoy the refuge including wildlife viewing, photography and hunting.Learn about activities on the refuge
Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge was established to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. The refuge has been identified as a Biodiversity Focus Area and an Important Bird Area (Audubon New York), a designation given only to places that support significant abundance and diversity of birds.
Page Photo Credits Shawangunk Grasslands - Steven Brooks., All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Shawangunk grasslands in winter - Steven Brooks, Winter at Shawangunk - Steven Brooks, Spring meadow - Steven Brooks, Short-eared owl - Ed Frampton
Last Updated: May 07, 2015