National Wildlife Refuge System
Back to Index

Refuge Events Calendar

Bicyclists enjoy a ride along scenic San Francisco Bay. On May 14, cycling enthusiasts can join a nine-mile guided bike tour of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Bicyclists enjoy a ride along scenic San Francisco Bay. On May 14, cycling enthusiasts can join a nine-mile guided bike tour of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Credit: USFWS

It’s always a good time to visit a national wildlife refuge. The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants. There is a National Wildlife Refuge within an hour’s drive of most major U.S. cities. Here is a sampling of upcoming refuge events:

Attend an Ocelot Festival
Sunday, May 1, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Dean Porter Park, Brownsville, TX
The annual festival highlights efforts of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas to conserve ocelots and ocelot habitat. Learn more about the festival. Learn about Laguna Atascosa Refuge.

Birder’s Quest
Friday, May 6, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.  — Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, MO
How many birds can you spot in one afternoon from a species checklist?  Find out and compete for prizes.  Less competitive types can also enjoy hay rides; tower tours; nature walks; canoeing on the lake, beginning at 5 p.m.; caricatures, beginning at 5:30 p.m.; magic and a ventriloquist show beginning at 7:30 p.m. All events are free. Learn about Swan Lake Refuge.

Woodcock Walk
Friday, May 6, 7:30 to 9 p.m. — Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, VT
Join a park ranger in looking for woodcock in the Stephen Young Marsh area. Meet at the parking area on Tabor Road, one mile south of the refuge headquarters. Learn about Missisquoi Refuge.

Join the Pollinators Fan Club
Saturday, May 7, 1 to 3 p.m. — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, NY
Learn about birds, bees, beetles and other pollinators, and how you can help them. Make bee houses to take home. Learn about Iroquois Refuge.

Family Bird Walk
Saturday, May 7, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Let family walks become a shared time of nature learning. Help kids create their personal bird-watching field guides, and then head out onto the trails to find those birds. A limited number of binoculars are available to borrow. Recommended for children ages 5-10. Reservations are needed. To reserve, call 510-792-0222 ext. 363. Fremont Visitor Center. Learn about Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge.

Take a Guided Birding Hike in the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Listed dates at 8 a.m. (except as noted) — Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Sunday, May 8 — Kiwa Trail
Saturday, May 14 — Oaks to Wetlands Trail (3 p.m.)
Sunday, May 22 — Kiwa Trail
Listed dates at 8 a.m. (except as noted)  — Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, WA
All birding hikes are on the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail.
Saturday, May 7
Sunday, May 15 (3 p.m.)
Saturday, May 21
Listed dates at 8 a.m.  — Pierce National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Saturday, May 21
To reserve a place, contact Eric Anderson at 360-887-4106 or eric_anderson@fws.gov.
Learn about Ridgefield Refuge, Steigerwald Lake Refuge and Pierce Refuge.

Brunch with the Birds
Saturday, May 14, 11:30 a.m. — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Celebrate the arrival of migratory birds. Guided bird walks for all skill begin at 7 a.m. Brunch with the Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is $6 per person. Call 608-565-2551 to register. Learn about Necedah Refuge.

Help Count Birds
Saturday, May 14, all day — Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, KS
Take part in a county-wide North American Migration Count. All levels of expertise welcome. For more information, call 620-486-2393. Learn about Quivira Refuge.

Explore the Refuge by Bike
Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Take a nine-mile guided bike tour of the refuge’s salt pond landscape. The ride is moderately strenuous over unpaved but level levees. Bring helmets, water, binocs and camera. Reservations required at 408-262-5513 ext. 106. Rain cancels. Meet at Alviso Marina County Park. Learn about Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge.

All County Bird Count
Saturday, May 14— Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Join birders from Kent County Bird Club and the Maryland Ornithological Society in counting birds at the refuge. For details, contact Walter Ellison or Nancy Martin at 410-778-9568 or rossgull@baybroadband.net. Learn about Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

Spring Songbird Migration Lecture and Bird Walk
Saturday May 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Learn from a Harvard ecologist and photographer about some of the nearly 80 species of songbirds that can be found in eastern Massachusetts in spring. Some will breed in local woodlands and marshes; others will fly on to New England or Canada. Discuss the ecology of these flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, wood-warblers, tanagers and sparrows. Then hike in search of them. To register, call 978-562-3527 x116 or email Susan_J_Russo@fws.gov. Learn about Assabet River Refuge.

Bird ID Field Trip
Saturday, May 14, 7 a.m. to about 2 p.m. — Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, WA
The trip is open to Bird ID workshop participants and others. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, contact Gary Blevins at 509-533-3661 or garyb@spokanefalls.edu by May 5.
Learn about Turnbull Refuge.

Seasonal Photo Tours
Listed dates and times — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Sunday, May 15, 6 to 9 a.m.
Saturday, May 28, 5 to 8 p.m. 
Capture seasonal changes in the refuge landscape and wildlife. Free. Reservations are needed. To reserve, call 303-289-0930. Learn about Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge.

Take a Nighttime Marshbird Tour
Listed dates, 9 p.m. to midnight Seney National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Thursday, May 19, and
Thursday, May 26
Search for birds — including  the secretive yellow, Virginia and sora rails — by sounds as well as sight.  Chances are good you will hear their calls.  Meet at the visitor center. Come prepared to do battle with mosquitoes and black flies. Head nets, pants, long sleeves and closed shoes are recommended. Pre-registration is required. Call 906-586-9851 ext 16. Learn about Seney Refuge.

Endangered Species Day
Saturday, May 21, 10 a.m. to noon —Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
The bald eagle is an Endangered Species Act (ESA) success story.  Learn how the ESA has helped promote species recovery along the Chesapeake. Then head out to view bald eagles on the refuge. Learn about Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

Bird Photography Safari
Sunday, May 21, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Photograph shorebirds during their nesting season along the Ravenswood Trail. Expect travel by van and by foot. Be prepared to hike up to 3.5 miles. Reservations required. Rain cancels. Call 408-262-5513 ext. 106. Menlo Park. Learn about Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Refuge.

Go Wild, Go Birding, Go Hiking
Saturday, May 21, 7 a.m. to noon — Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, IA
Featured activities include bird banding, going on a bird hike and canoeing. Learn about Port Louisa Refuge.

What's Blooming on the Refuge: Spring Flowers
Saturday, May 21, 8 to 10 a.m. — Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Join a botanist in exploring spring blooms and learn how native plants are vital to healthy wildlife habitats. Bring cameras, binocs and plant identification guides if you have them. All ages are welcome.  To register, contact Sarah at 503.625.5944 x234. Learn about Tualatin River Refuge.

Attend a Grand Opening
Saturday, May 21, and Saturday, May 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Celebrate the opening of the refuge’s new 12,500-square-foot visitor center, with solar arrays, ground source heat pumps, beetle-kill wood, recycled asphalt and many other “green” features. Enjoy family activities, programs and interactive exhibits. Learn about Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge.

Guided Bald Eagle Tours 
Listed dates, 10:30 a.m. to noon — Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, OH
Monday, May 23
Sunday, June 5
Sunday, July 17
See bald eagles and learn about their history. Programs are free, but registration is required. To register, call 419-898-0014 ext 17. Learn about Ottawa Refuge.

Take Flight on a Bird Walk
Sunday, May 22, 8 a.m. to noon — Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Experience the thrill of seeing a peregrine falcon (the world’s fastest bird) or of hearing a woodpecker pecking away at up to 20 pecks per second. Join two experts for a bird walk full of sights and sounds. Learn about Nisqually Refuge.

Volunteer Skills Refresher  
Wednesday, May 25, 3:30  to 7 p.m. — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Join other volunteers and refuge staff in a workshop to refresh your skills and review refuge procedures. Enjoy an optional driving tour of the refuge from 3:30 pm until 4:45pm.  The Skills Refresher runs from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.  RSVP to colby_hawkinson@fws.gov or 410-708-1956. Learn about Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

Help Restore Refuge Habitat
Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28 — Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, LA
Help the National Wildlife Federation and the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge plant marsh grass on the refuge. Volunteers will meet at a boat launch on U.S. 11 and will be taken by airboat to the work sites. Volunteers must be 16 years old or older and must pre-register online at http://www.nwf.org/Volunteer.aspx. Learn about Bayou Sauvage Refuge.

Common Herps of Bosque del Apache
Saturday, June 4, 7:30 a.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Learn the life histories and survival strategies of some amphibians and reptiles. Improve your field ID skills. Then go into the field to observe species present at the refuge. Bring close-focusing binoculars, insect repellent and sunscreen. Space is limited. To reserve, call 575-835-1828. Learn about Bosque del Apache Refuge.

DeSoto Refuge Fest
Saturday, June 4 — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA
Enjoy an outdoor family-fun day with a carp fishing contest, boat tours, canoe and kayak rides, fishing and archery clinic. The event takes place at the South Gate Recreation Area of the refuge. Learn about DeSoto Refuge.

National Trails Day
Saturday, June 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD  
Enjoy guided walks on refuge trails and ‘behind the scenes’ looks at areas usually closed to the public. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring water, sunscreen, bug repellant and snack. Learn about Eastern Neck Refuge.

Take a Hike
Sunday, June 5, 9 a.m. to noon — Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Enjoy an easy-to-moderate 2.5-mile hike with refuge staff in honor of National Trails Day. Meet at the main auto route lot of off Hwy 49. Learn about Horicon Refuge.

Fishing & Crabbing Rodeo
Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to noon — Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Enjoy the once-a-year opening of the refuge’s North Pond for fishing and crabbing. Learn about Pea Island Refuge.

Take Part in a BioBlitz and Festival
Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, ID
Be a citizen scientist. Take part in a BioBlitz, a 24-hour biological survey that depends on public participation. Participants will find and identify as many different species of plants and animals as possible. Last year, more than 500 people attended the refuge’s BioBlitz festival. Learn about Deer Flat Refuge.

What's Blooming on the Refuge: Wetland Plants
Saturday, June 18, 8 to 10 a.m. — Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Join a botanist in exploring wetland plants and learn how native plants are vital to healthy wildlife habitats. Bring cameras, binocs and plant identification guides. To register, contact Sarah at 503.625.5944 x234. Learn about Tualatin River Refuge.

Take a Free Howling Safari
May 28, 7p.m. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
In honor of Memorial Day, the usual $7 event fee is waived and no registration is required. Hear endangered red wolves and learn about them at the only place in the world where they still exist in the wild. Meet at Creef Cut Wildlife Trail parking lot. Bring flashlights and insect repellent. Programs run about two hours. No pets allowed. Learn about Alligator River Refuge.

Take a Summer Howling Safari
June 1-August 31, Wednesdays 7:30 p.m. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Hear endangered red wolves and learn about them at the only place in the world where they still exist in the wild! Meet at Creef Cut Wildlife Trail parking lot. Bring flashlights and insect repellent. Registration required. To register, call 252-216-9464. Programs typically last about two hours. Cost: $7 per person; age 12 and under, free. No pets allowed. Learn about Alligator River Refuge.

Take a “Wildlife Wednesday” Tour
Wednesdays in June, July and August, 7 to 9:30 p.m. — Seney National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Join a guided auto tour along Marshland Wildlife Drive, the Fishing Loop and into the backcountry. Once refuge vehicle seating is full, participants drive their own vehicles (caravan style) and use a radio to communicate with guides. Learn about Seney Refuge.

Enjoy an Auto Tour
Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, OH
Take a self-guided drive on a seven-mile route that is normally closed to the public. At the entrance, pick up a guide that explains refuge habitat, management techniques and where to look for wildlife. Tours may be canceled in inclement weather.  Learn about Ottawa Refuge.

Summer Solstice Kayak       
Monday, June 20, 7 to 9 p.m. —Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Join Friends of Eastern Neck and the Center for Environment & Society of Washington College for a refuge kayak trip. Bring your own kayak, lifejacket and paddle. Meet at Bogles Wharf. Tailgate potluck 6:15 p.m. Group limit is 24 people. Register with jfairchild2@washcoll.edu or 410-778-7295. Learn about Eastern Neck Refuge.

Hummingbird Banding Workshop
Saturday, July 30, 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Help band hummingbirds and record their measurements, conditions, sex and age. Sharpen your hummingbird ID  skills. Call 575-835-1828 for reservations. Learn about Bosque del Apache Refuge.

Enjoy Greenwing Day
Saturday, August 13, 8 a.m. to noon — McNary National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Learn to band a duck, identify waterfowl, call geese and ducks and retrieve ducks with a Labrador. Members of Ducks Unlimited and the Richland Rod and Gun Club will teach youth about wildlife conservation in this popular annual event. Learn about McNary Refuge.

Prairie Fun Day
Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, MN
Collect prairie seed.  ID plants and waterfowl. Enjoy a GPS scavenger hunt; a nature photography workshop; demonstrations of prescribed fire equipment; dip netting for aquatic bugs; sweep netting for prairie insects; and games. A picnic lunch will be served at noon. Call the Wetland District office at 218-847-4431 for directions.
Learn about Hamden Slough Refuge and the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District.

Monarch Madness
Sunday, August 21, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Seney National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Help collect and tag monarch butterflies before they fly to their winter grounds in Mexico. After an orientation session, participants will be in the field for about three hours. Learn about Seney Refuge.

Little Things that Rule the World
Saturday, August 27, 7:30 a.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Insect species outnumber all other kinds of animals combined. Learn about the fascinating world of insects and some of their extraordinary survival strategies. Go into the field to observe several species present at the refuge. Bring close-focusing binoculars, as well as sunscreen and mosquito repellent. To reserve, call 575-835-1828. Learn about Bosque del Apache Refuge.

Amateur Photo Contest
Through Aug. 31 — Seney National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Adults and youth photographers may submit up to five photos meant to encourage refuge visitation. Winning photos will be displayed at the visitor center in September and October and on Seney Natural History Association’s Flickr page. See contest categories and rules. Learn about Seney Refuge.

Try Geocaching
Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m. to noon — McNary National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Learn to geocache with GPS units. Then walk the nature trail and find items on your list. Turn in your list for a prize. Learn about McNary Refuge.

A Scavenger Hunt in the Night Sky
Saturday, September 17, 7 p.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Look for a spiral arm, a globular cluster, a red giant, a swan, a dolphin, a teapot and a black hole on this unique scavenger hunt. Join amateur astronomers in using the naked eye, binoculars and telescopes to find wonders in the sky. Prizes will be awarded in three age groups. Call 575-835-1828 for reservations. Ages 8 and up. Limited to 35 people. Learn about Bosque del Apache Refuge.

Refuge Self Guided Auto Tour Drive
Saturday, September 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. —  Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. OH
Drive through seven miles that are normally closed to the public. At the refuge entrance, pick up a guide that explains refuge habitat, management techniques, and where to look for wildlife. Tours may be canceled in inclement weather. Learn about Ottawa Refuge.

Guided Bird Walk
Sunday, September 18, 8 a.m. —  Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Join an expert birder on a guided bird-watching expedition around Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. See the many species of birds that live in and migrate through the refuge. Bring binoculars, and dress for the weather. Walks may last two to four hours. Meet at visitor center. Learn about Blackwater Refuge.

National Public Lands Day
Many refuges will host public events on September 24 as part of a nationwide hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance our public lands. Here is an example:

Saturday, September 24 — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA
Volunteer projects will include seed collecting, invasive plant removing and trash collecting.  Learn more about National Public Lands Day. Learn about DeSoto Refuge.

Fall Color Float
Sunday, October 2, 11 a.m. — Seney National Wildlife Refuge, MI
Join refuge staff for a four- to five-hour canoe/kayak trip down the Manistique River as leaves are changing color. Pack a lunch, dress for the weather and pre-register. Bring your own boat or rent one from a local outfitter. Call Sara Hollerich for more details 906-586-9851 x16. Inclement weather date: October 9. Local outfitters in Germfask offer canoe and kayak rentals as well as shuttle service. Learn about Seney Refuge.

Take a Howling Safari
Listed dates and timesAlligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Free Saturday howlings ( no registration required)
October 15, 6 p.m.  Wolf Awareness Week
October 29, 6 p.m. - Howl-O-Ween
December 10, 4 p.m. - Holiday Howl
Hear endangered red wolves and learn about them at the only place in the world where they still exist in the wild! Meet at Creef Cut Wildlife Trail parking lot. Bring flashlights and insect repellent. Programs typically last about two hours. No pets allowed. Learn about Alligator River Refuge.

Michigan's Junior Duck Stamp Winners
Wednesday, November 2, 7 p.m. — Green Point Environmental Learning Center, Saginaw, MI
Becky Goche, visitor services manager at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and Michigan coordinator of the national Junior Duck Stamp competition, will showcase the 2011 winners. The competition is open to students ages 5 to 18. Admission: $2; free for Friends of Shiawassee Refuge. Learn about Shiawassee Refuge.

Back to Index

June 19, 2012m1 -->June 19, 2012
June 19, 2012m1 -->June 19, 2012