National Wildlife Refuge System
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A barred owl gives a stare at Noxubee Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi
A barred owl gives a stare at Noxubee Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi.
Credit: D. Scott Lipsey

Savor Spring in the National Wildlife Refuge System

What better place than a National Wildlife Refuge to witness spring’s renewal — whether through a tadpole chorus, songbirds’ flight or the greening of the land. The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s 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 cities.

Here is list of more events at refuges across the nation:

Go on a Birding Adventure
Saturday, April 10, 9:00 a.m. — Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama.
Walk the trails and discover some of the many bird and wildlife species on the refuge.

For more information: Contact Teresa Adams at teresa_adams@fws.gov or 256-350-6639.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/wheeler/ or 256-353-7243.

Enjoy a Family Nature Activity 
Saturday, April 10, 12:00 (noon) to 4:30 p.m. — Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska 
From 12:00 (noon) to 1:30 p.m., the children’s activity hour will focus on animal migration. A short play and a game will look at why animals migrate. From 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., explore the plant kingdom through breathtaking time-lapse photography in an episode of Sir David Attenborough’s six-part series, "The Private Life of Plants."  From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., teens 13 to 18 can learn the basics of outdoor digital photography. Bring your own camera or borrow one from the refuge.

For more information: Contact Christine McCaffery at christine_mccaffery@fws.gov or 907-543-1018.
For more information on the refuge: http://yukondelta.fws.gov/ or 907-543-3151.

Go on an Eagle Watch
Saturday, April 10, 17, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, New York
Meet at Cayuga Pool Overlook, Route 77. View an active bald eagle’s nest and many migratory birds such as ruddy ducks, pied billed grebes, northern shovelers, American coots, Canada geese and great blue herons. Spotting scopes are staffed by a team of experienced birdwatchers as visitors. The event is meant for families, new birders and seasoned birders alike. Bring binoculars or borrow one from the refuge.

For more information: http://iroquoisnwr.fws.gov/ or 585-948-5445.

Explore Nature’s Night Life
Tuesday, April 13, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. — Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Take a guided hike under dark along the Minnesota River in the Wilkie Unit of the refuge and learn about nocturnal animals.

For more information: http://midwest.fws.gov/minnesotavalley/ or 952-854-5900.

See the Wild Dance of the Timberdoodle
April 15, 22, 17, 24, 26
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge – Cliff Fen Park, Burnsville
April 20, 22, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge – Rapids Lake Unit, Carver Highlands parking lot

Watch the spectacular spring aerial displays of the American woodcock (sometimes called the timberdoodle) and a close relative, the common snipe. The dance begins at dusk. Call for specific times. Space is limited and reservations are required. No cameras or flashlights allowed. Wear sturdy footwear and dark, quiet clothing to avoid disturbing the birds.

To make a reservation: call 952-858-0715.
For more information on the refuge: http://midwest.fws.gov/minnesotavalley/ or 952-854-5900.

Take a Birding Trip with a Pro
Saturday, April 24, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Wassaw Island National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia.
Join local birding expert Diana Churchill on an exploration of the old growth maritime forest and pristine beach of Wassaw Island. The birding trip is timed to coincide with the height of spring migration. Fee: $50/person.

To make a reservation, visit http://www.wildernesssoutheast.org or call 912-236-8115.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/wassaw/ or 912-652-4415.

Spring into Nature
Saturday, April 24, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, New York
The Annual "Spring into Nature" celebration offers more than 20 nature-related exhibits, activities, and games for the entire family. Programs will include a bald eagle watch, live kestrel cam, guest speakers, nature walks, musical entertainment and Refuge System mascot – the Blue Goose. Free admission and parking for visitors.

For more information: Contact Dorothy Gerhart at dorothy_gerhart@fws.gov or 585-948-5445.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/iroquois/ or 585-948-5445.

Stalk the Spring Ephemerals
Saturday, April 24, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., Friday April 30, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. – Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Meet in the Carver Highlands parking lot at the Rapids Lake Unit. Explore the woodlands with a naturalist and admire ephemerals; flowers that bloom for a short time before the trees grow leaves.

For more information: http://midwest.fws.gov/minnesotavalley/ or 952-854-5900.

Head to a Youth Fishing Rodeo
Saturday, May 1, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. — Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama
Children ages 5 to 12 can compete for trophies awarded for the heaviest-weight fish caught in each age group.

For more information: Contact Teresa Adams at teresa_adams@fws.gov or 256-350-6639.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/wheeler/ or 256-353-7243.

Take Part in River Cleanup Day
Saturday, May 1, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (noon) — Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
River Cleanup Day, or "May Day for the Mississippi," will take place at two of the refuge’s district offices — Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and McGregor, Iowa. A complementary lunch will be provided after the event. For more details, visit http://friendsofpool9.org/cleanup.htm.

For more information: Contact Tim Loose at tim_loose@fws.gov or 563-873-3423 ext 11.
For more information on the refuge: http://midwest.fws.gov/UpperMississippiRiver/ or 507-452-4232.

Go on an Owl Prowl
Saturday, May 1, 8:30 - 10:30 p.m. — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, New York
Join in a nocturnal search for owls. Pre-registration is required.

To make a reservation and for more information: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/iroquois/ or 585-948-5445.

Attend "Barns and Bluegrass"
Saturday, May 8, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon
Step back in time with staff and volunteers while touring some of the refuge’s historic lodges and barns. Learn about early settlers to this area and how they shaped the land. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy while listening to old-time blue grass music.

For more information: Contact Sallie Gentry at sallie_gentry@fws.gov or 541-757-7236.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/willamettevalley/finley/ or 541-757-7236.

Enjoy Step Outside Day
Saturday, May 8, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. — Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
Kids can enjoy a variety of hands-on outdoor activities, including target range shooting, decoy painting, archery, educational wildlife games, boat tours and more. The event is presented through a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge/Sherburne Wildlife Management Area.

For more information: Contact Jody Demeyere at jody_demeyere@fws.gov or 985-882-2024.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/atchafalaya/ or 985-882-2000.

Attend Birds and Butterflies
Saturday, May 15, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon
Learn about some of our native pollinators, including the federally endangered Fender’s blue butterfly. Discover how the refuge is managing this unique habitat for the rare butterfly and other resident wildlife. Guided walks and activities will emphasize the importance of conserving habitat for wildlife and plants.

For more information: Contact Sallie Gentry at sallie_gentry@fws.gov or 541-757-7236.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/WillametteValley/baskett/ or 503-623-2749.

Try Birding for the Blind
Saturday, May 15, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland
A free program will introduce visually impaired people, ages 8 and up, and their families or friends to nature and birding through hands-on activities and exploration of outdoor habitats. Participants will learn how to identify birds by sound. The program will take place at the National Wildlife Visitor Center. Registration is required.

To register: Contact Michelle Donlan at michelle_donlan@fws.gov or 301-497-5630.
For general refuge information: http://patuxent.fws.gov or 301-497-5510.

Enjoy a Frog Frolic
Saturday, May 15, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. — Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Enjoy the sounds of the true harbingers of spring. Learn about frogs and toads found on the refuge at the Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center then hike to areas frequented by these creatures.

For more information: http://midwest.fws.gov/minnesotavalley/ or 952-854-5900.

A complete list of National Wildlife Refuge activities and special events is available at: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/SpecialEvents/FWS_SpecialEvents_Search.cfm.


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