National Wildlife Refuge System
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At Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington state, a demonstration on flintnapping — the art of making stone implements such as arrowheads or axe heads by striking a stone with another stone or tool — draws visitors. The demo is part of a regular series of presentations on Chinookan culture at the refuge's Cathlapotle Plankhouse.
At Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington state, a demonstration on flintnapping — the art of making stone implements such as arrowheads or axe heads by striking a stone with another stone or tool — draws visitors. The demo is part of a regular series of presentations on Chinookan culture at the refuge's Cathlapotle Plankhouse.
Credit: USFWS

Escape the Summer Crowds and Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System

When the beach scene jangles your nerves, try a more contemplative summer retreat: a visit to a national wildlife refuge. The scenery can be lush and the wildlife startling. You won't lack for things to do: Opportunities to hike, bike and paddle abound. Special events often include education about wildlife conservation. 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 a sampling of upcoming refuge events:

Enjoy a Whooping Crane Tour
Friday, August 6-8, 5:00 - 10:00 a.m. — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin
Watch from a blind as the whooping crane chicks of 2010 train to fly behind an ultra-light airplane. The event includes a refuge tour and an opportunity to meet with partners in the whooping crane conservation program. Reservations are required and go fast. To reserve, call 608-565-2551.

For more information, visit: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/necedah/ or call 608-565-2551.

Learn About Reptiles and Amphibians
Saturday, August 7, 10:00 a.m. — Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama
Hear how important snakes, lizards and frogs are to the environment. You will also have opportunity to see and touch these wonderful creatures!

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/wheeler/ or call 256-350-6639.

See the Milky Way
Saturday, August 7, 7:00 p.m. — Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi
If you've never seen the Milky Way because of urban light pollution, it's time to remedy that. James Hill, director of the Rainwater Observatory, will discuss our solar system; then show visitors how to view objects in the spiral arms of the galaxy with telescopes. The talk will range from ancient cultures' view of the Milky Way to the black hole three million times the mass of our sun in the center of our universe.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/noxubee/ or call 662-323-5548.

Watch a Weaving and Carving Demonstration
Saturday, August 8, 12:00 p.m. (noon) - 4:00 p.m. — Cathlapotle Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
Participate in this edition of the Second Sunday Series: A series of presentations on Chinookan culture, archaeology, and natural history, taking place every second Sunday from April through October. This session's title is “Traditional Technology” and includes demonstrations on ravenstail weaving, flintnapping, Chinookan carving, atlatl throwing and textile arts. Children's activities will be included.

For more information, visit http://www.ridgefieldfriends.org/plankhouse-lifeways.php.
For more information on the refuge, visit http://www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/ridgefield/index.html or call 360-887-4106.

Meet a Live Vulture
Saturday, August 14, 10:30 a.m. — Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Vultures are fascinating birds, capable of digesting meat at any stage of decay and withstanding disease. Come see this remarkable scavenger when Free Again Wildlife Rehabilitation presents a live vulture. Family activities will follow.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or call 618-988-5933.

Attend Wild Berry Fun Day
Friday, August 20, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. — Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Join refuge staff and volunteers for a fun-filled day learning about Alaska's wild berries and how they benefit wildlife and people. Enjoy displays, activities, identification walks, crafts for kids, and “berry” delicious refreshments.

For more information, visit http://kenai.fws.gov/ or call 907-260-2839.

Enjoy Fee-Free Days
Saturday August 14 and Sunday August 15 — St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Enjoy free admission to the refuge in celebration of “America's Great Outdoors.”

For more information, please visit http://www.fws.gov/saintmarks or call 850-925-6121.

Learn to Identify Shorebirds
Saturday, August 21 — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware
Shorebird ID Workshop teaches how to identify shorebirds, based on size, structure, habits and plumage. Half-day trip includes classroom and field work. Reservations are required. To reserve, call Andy Urquhart at 302-239-2471 before August 19.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/bombayhook/ or call 302-653-9345.

Discover Cold-Blooded Creatures
Saturday, August 28, 1:00 p.m. — Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge/Cache River Wetlands Center, Illinois
How can you tell a male box turtle from a female?  If you step on a cottonmouth snake, will it bite?  How can you tell a venomous copperhead from a harmless prairie king snake? What kind of skunk has a blue-tipped tail?  Discover some of the unique characteristics of “Cold-Blooded Creatures of the Cache” and experience an up-close and personal interaction with reptiles native to southern Illinois. The program concludes with a hike to look for cold-blooded creatures at Heron Pond.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/cypresscreek/ or call 618-657-2064.

Submit a Photo
September 1-30 — Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
The Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge will be accepting entries to their annual photo contest throughout the month of September. Categories include: Scenic, Wildlife and Plants. Awards will be announced in October.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or call 618-988-5933.

Celebrate Rice Lake Refuge's 75th Anniversary
Friday, September 3, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. — Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Take a family-friendly historic journey to learn about the development of the refuge. Featured exhibits will include wild rice harvesting, horse logging demos, blacksmithing, story-telling and wagon rides.

For more information, please visit http://midwest.fws.gov/ricelake or call 218-768-2402.

Get Your Bugs On
Saturday, September 4, 3:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. — Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi
Join in “Bugs, Day And Night,” a day and night of bug collecting and identification. The day starts with an introduction to insects of the season. Participants visit some black light collection sites and learn how to collect and classify. Developing an insect collection is a fundamental exercise in learning about the diversity of the region's unique fauna. Meet at the visitor center.

For more information, please visit http://www.fws.gov/noxubee/ or call 662-323-5548.

Learn About Reptiles and Amphibians
Saturday, September 11, 10:30 a.m. — Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
As part of the Reptile and Amphibian F.U.N. Program, come out to the Crab Orchard Visitor Center to learn all about these cool creatures.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or call 618-988-5933.

Help Tag Butterflies
Saturday, September 11, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (noon) — Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Grab a net and celebrate the Monarch Migration by helping refuge staff capture, tag and release monarch butterflies.

Contact: Hallie Rasmussen at hallie_rasmussen@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.
For more information on the refuge, visit: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/nealsmith/.

Attend the 11th Annual Fall Festival & Rummage Sale
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey
Enjoy a day-long celebration for all ages at the Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center. The event includes interpretive walks, activities, music, food and crafts for kids.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatswamp/ or call 973-425-1222.

Attend the 16th Annual Cache River Days
Saturday, September 11, 8:00 a.m. — Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Savor food, music, exhibits and family activities. Enjoy guided canoe tours through the wetlands, courtesy of Cypress Creek Refuge. Participants will get an intimate look at ancient bald cypress trees while experiencing the sights and sounds of one of the largest remaining wetland resources in Illinois.

To reserve your space on a canoe tour, call 618-634-2231.
For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/cypresscreek/.

Attend a Whooping Crane & Wildlife Festival
Saturday, September 18 — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin
Take in a major wildlife celebration, complete with educational presentations, refuge bus tours, children's activities and a 10K and 5K Run/Walk. Check out the festival website: http://www.whooping-crane-festival.com/.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/necedah/ or call 608-565-2551.

Clean up a Refuge for National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. — Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana
A National Public Lands Day volunteer cleanup/work day on the refuge will involve many different projects suitable for all ages of volunteers. Lunch is provided.

Contact: Donna Stanley at muscatatuck@fws.gov or call 812-522-4352.
For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/muscatatuck/.

Clean-Up for National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. — Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Join Scouts and other volunteers in cleaning up trash at the Hwy 105 Trinity River Bridge. Bring gloves if you have them. Aluminum cans and metal will be recycled.

Contact: Stuart Marcus at stuart_marcus@fws.gov or call 936-336-9786.
For more information, visit: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/trinityriver/.

Attend the 15th Annual Open House
Saturday, October 2, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
The open house is held in conjunction with National Wildlife Refuge Week. Activities include bird walks, demonstrations, wildlife and refuge management programs, wildlife exhibits, live animal exhibits and programs and tours. For kids, there will be a Junior Refuge Ranger program, a puppet show and other activities.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/blackwater/ or call 410-228-2677.

Celebrate the Tens
Sunday, October 10 — Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Minnesota
Attend a 10/10/10 event at any one of the 10 locations on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Celebrate the 10s by participating in an event that celebrates our nation's wetlands. Participants will do any one of these things: identify 10 birds or plants, pull 10 pounds of invasive plants or pick up 10 pounds of trash.

Check out the list of 10 events at: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/UpperMississippiRiver/index.html.

Take a Night Hike
Saturday, November 6, beginning at 5:30 p.m. — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin
Join the Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge for an evening of activities that include a popular night hike into the refuge. A dinner with the Friends group begins at 5:30 p.m. (adults: $7.50; 6 to 12-year-olds: $5; children 5 and under are free) at the Ellen Allan Learning Center. The guided walk begins at the same place at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/necedah/ or call 608-565-2551.

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

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