National Wildlife Refuge System
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February 2012 Events

Ella Berge (right) takes a break from outdoor winter activities to pose with Tom Melius, Midwest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the 2011 Winterfest celebration at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota.

Ella Berge (right) takes a break from outdoor winter activities to pose with Tom Melius, Midwest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the 2011 Winterfest celebration at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota.

Credit: Tina Shaw/USFWS

Florida Scrub-Jay Festival
Saturday, February 4   — Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey, FL
The festival celebrates the only bird species unique to Florida. Scrub-jays are found at Hobe Sound, Lake Wales Ridge and Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuges. Enjoy live music, guided nature walks, live animal displays, children’s crafts and environmental exhibits.

Birding Tour
Saturday, February 4, 10 a.m. to noon — Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, CA
A refuge van will transport beginning birders and nature enthusiasts along the auto tour while a guide assists with bird viewing and identification. Sign up early. Seating is limited. Sign up: 530-934-2801.

Wildlife Heritage and Outdoors Festival
Saturday, February 4, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ­— St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Enjoy wild animal exhibits and fun outdoor activities from the past and present, including a Youth Turkey Calling Contest at 1 p.m. No pets please.

Winterfest
Saturday, February 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, MN
Enjoy a day of outdoor winter activities — including horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing, a scavenger hunt and a bonfire  — and learn how wildlife and people thrive in Minnesota’s months of snow and cold. Visit exhibits on animal tracking, invasive earthworms, winter survival, bird feeding and the Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Program. See live owls. Check out the gift shop and silent auction. Winterfest celebrates the 109th birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The birthday will be celebrated nationwide on March 14.

Duck Walk
Sunday, February 5, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Thousands of ducks winter in the San Francisco Bay every year. Hear a short talk on duck identification. Then head out on the trail to try your new skills. A limited number of binoculars are available to borrow. Visitor Center, Fremont

Wichita Mountains Eagle Watch  
February 5, 6, 12, 13, 1:30 p.m. — Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, OK
An interpretive program at refuge headquarters is followed by a bus tour of the refuge’s special use area to search for bald and golden eagles. $5 fee. Children must be 8 or older. Wheelchair accommodations by request. Tours last about two and a half hours and include a short walk. Reservations: 580-429-2151. Dress warmly and bring binoculars if possible.

Refuge Ramble
Sunday, February 5, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Enjoy a winter wildlife walk on the refuge.

San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival        
Friday, February 10 – Sunday, February 12  — Mare Island, CA  
The 16th annual festival includes field trips to San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Bald Eagle Day
Saturday, February 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
Enjoy family festivities here — part of celebrations taking place around the state. The refuge will offer eagle-viewing guides, maps to other eagle locations and eagle education.

13th Annual Everglades Day Festival
Saturday, February 11— Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, FL 
The annual festival uses science, art, music and interactive programs to promote understanding of the importance of the fragile Everglades ecosystem. This year’s theme is “Mysteries of the Everglades.” 

All About Owls
Saturday, February 11, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Where do owls eat? Why don’t we hear them flap their wings? Are owls the brainiacs of the bird world? Find out through an interactive presentation and owl pellet dissection. Sign up: 408-262-5513 ext. 102.  Environmental Education Center, Alviso

Sweetheart Snowshoe
Saturday, February 11, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Take your Valentine on a naturalist-led snowshoe hike. Join an optional poetry reading.

Fall in Love with Nature
Saturday, February 11, 9 a.m. to noon — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
This Valentine’s Day weekend, take the tram around the refuge to explore all the wonders of winter and discover why wildlife love this place!

Macroinvertebrates!
Saturday, February 11, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 25, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. — Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Macro-what? Take part in a hands-on look at the tiny organisms that live in the wetlands. Great for all ages. Sign up: 530-934-2801.

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Sunday, February 12, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Come learn an important and exciting refuge management tool: Geographic Information Systems.

South Bay Salt Works Guided Nature Tour
Sunday, February 12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  — San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, South Bay Unit, CA
On this Audubon-led tour, see the birds and other wildlife in an area of the salt ponds normally closed to the public. Learn the history of the south bay and plans for restoring the refuge. Meet in the South Bay Salt Works Parking lot at 1470 Bay Blvd. in Chula Vista, CA. No restrooms. Recent rain cancels, so please call the “Salt Pond Tour Hotline” to check at (858) 273-7800 X 107.

Klamath Falls Winter Wings Festival        
February 17 – 19, 2012 — Klamath Basin, OR and CA   
The 32nd annual festival celebrates the waterfowl-rich Klamath Basin, a major migratory stop on the Pacific Flyway. More than 80 percent of birds that use the flyway stop over in the Klamath Basin. The basin’s six national wildlife refuges attract a wide variety of waterfowl and raptors, many in astounding numbers. Popular festival events include an “owl prowl” at Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and field trips to other Klamath Basin refuges.

Great Backyard Bird Count
Friday, February 17, all day — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Great Swamp Refuge welcomes bird watchers of all ages and skill levels to take part in this 15th annual event, designed to give a picture of where birds are across the continent. Participants in the event count birds wherever they see them, then record the highest count of each species seen together at one time in an online checklist. Contact your local refuge to see if it plans to take part, too.

Waterfowl Day
Saturday, February 18, 9 a.m. to noon —McNary National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Discover the abundance of ducks, swans, geese and other migrating birds. Binoculars, spotting scopes, and bird guides will be provided. Results will be entered at www.ebird.org.

Sneak Peek of the Refuge in Winter
Saturday, February 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, MO
Weeks before the refuge’s season opening on March 3, take part in this special event. Tour the refuge, then report sightings of eagles, snow geese and other species. Enter your photos of eagles or snow geese in a photo contest. Climb the refuge tower and explore the refuge nature trail.

Paddling Through Time: People and Louisiana’s Wetlands
Saturday, February 18, 9 a.m. to noon — Big Branch Marsh Refuge, LA
Sign up in advance for a canoe tour along southeast Louisiana’s scenic Cane Bayou, bordering Big Branch Marsh Refuge, while learning how humans have changed the land over time. Trips will include the natural and cultural history of the area and an introduction to canoeing techniques. The trip is geared for adults, but children five and older may take part. Only children 10 and older will be allowed to paddle. All equipment and canoes are provided. Trip fee: Paddlers: $10. Ages 5-9: $5. Register here.
Other canoe tour dates: Saturday, March 3; Saturday, March 24; Saturday, March 31

Cabin Fever
Saturday, February 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, WI
Join in indoor and outdoor activities to beat the winter blues.

“Bird Jackson County” Weekend
Saturday, February 25, all day — Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
Enjoy special bird programs at Muscatatuck Refuge and other public lands. Large numbers of sandhill cranes are normally seen in Jackson County at this time, and a bald eagle nest may be viewed. 

Family Bird Walk
Saturday, February 25, 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
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 required. Call 510-792-0222 ext. 363. Visitor Center, Fremont

“Bird Jackson County” Weekend
Saturday, February 25, all day — Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
Enjoy birding events at the refuge, Starve Hollow State Recreation Area and the Jackson-Washington State Forest. Look for large numbers of sandhill cranes, normally seen at this time. See a bald eagle nest.


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