National Wildlife Refuge System
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A brother and sister show off the rainbow trout they caught, with dad's coaching, in West Virginia. Fall is a popular time for family fishing events on refuges
A brother and sister show off the rainbow trout they caught, with dad's coaching, in West Virginia. Fall is a popular time for family fishing events on refuges.
Credit: Cark Zitsman, USFWS

Relish Fall in the National Wildlife Refuge System

For flash and drama, it’s hard to beat fall for visiting a national wildlife refuge. As the days shorten and turning leaves carpet the forest floor, many species of birds start their long migratory journeys, filling the skies with synchronized wingbeats and signature calls. Closer to ground, opportunities abound for human recreation and exploration. Hiking, paddling, cycling, fishing and hunting all draw visitors to refuges this season; wildlife festivals are also popular. 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:

Submit a Photo
Wednesday, September 1 to Thursday, September 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 through the development of the refuge. Featured exhibits will include wild rice harvesting, horse logging demos, blacksmithing, story-telling and wagon rides.

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

Enjoy a Campfire
Saturday, September 4, 7:00 p.m. – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Join refuge rangers as they tell stories around a picturesque campfire.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or call 618-997-3344.

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 will start with an introduction to insects of the season. Participants will visit some black light collection sites and demonstrate 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, visit http://www.fws.gov/noxubee/ or call 662-323-5548.

Explore the Shore
Thursday, September 9, 5:00 p.m. – Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts
Walk slowly through the refuge with leaders Jason Forbes and Alan Bragg, looking for shorebirds and other things. Meet at the main entrance to the refuge. Latecomers, start down, we won’t be going far.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatmeadows/ or call 978- 443-4661.

Celebrate Family Fishing Night
Saturday, September 11, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. – Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge, Kentucky

As part of “Family Week” in Marshall County, families are invited to the refuge’s Environmental Education and Recreation Area (located off of Hwy 408, east of Benton) to fish and spend quality time together in the outdoors. If needed, poles and bait are provided. Light refreshments will be served by the Friends of Clarks River NWR.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/clarksriver/ or call 270-527-5770.

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. to 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.
For more information, visit http://midwest.fws.gov/nealsmith or call Hallie Rasmussen (hallie_rasmussen@fws.gov) at 515-994-3400. 
Attend the 11th Annual Fall Festival & Rummage Sale
Saturday, September 11, 10:00 a.m. to 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://greatswamp.fws.gov 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/.

Examine Prehistoric Artifacts
Sunday, September 12, noon to 4:00 p.m. – Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
Second Sunday Series: A series of presentations on Chinookan culture, archaeology, and natural history the second Sunday from April through October. Children’s activities are included. September Topic: Archaeology Day. Identification of prehistoric artifacts with Dennis Torresdal, vice president of the Oregon Archaeological Society.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/ridgefield/ or call 360-887-4106.

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://midwest.fws.gov/necedah or call 608-565-2551.

Take a Walk in the Woods
Saturday, September 18, 7:00 a.m. – Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts
Walk at a moderate pace for about three miles on woodland paths, searching for migrant songbirds such as warblers, vireos and thrushes. Meet at the parking lot near refuge gate at the end of Still River Depot Road (off Rte. 110).

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/oxbow/ or call 978-443-4661.

Help Tag Butterflies
Saturday, September 18, 10:00 a.m. to noon – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Monarch butterflies travel through this area each year en route to their winter home in Mexico. Help catch and tag these butterflies as they feed and rest at the refuge. Reservations recommended.

To make reservations, please call 618-988-5933. For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/.

Help Clean a Refuge
Saturday, September 18, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
The Friends of Crab Orchard Refuge will host the annual Crab Orchard Clean Up at the Prairie Creek Recreation Area. Spend the day outdoors and help keep Crab Orchard beautiful.

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

Pitch in to Help a Refuge
Saturday, September 18, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. — Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
Join one of the refuge’s fall volunteer workday projects, such as brush cutting, invasive plant control, trail maintenance or grounds maintenance. Scout groups are welcome.

To arrange for participation, contact Refuge Park Ranger Charlie Marshall at 660-442-3187 or Charlie_marshall@fws.gov. For more information, visit http://midwest.fws.gov/squawcreek.

Attend a Birding and Wildlife Festival
Wednesday, September 22 – Sunday September 26 – National Key Deer Refuge, Florida
Pete Dunne, director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, will speak Friday night and lead a birding field trip of the refuge on Saturday morning. Saturday also includes an environmental fair, family day and wildlife art show at Curry Hammock State Park, with free admission and tee-shirts. On Sunday, a birding field trip heads to the Dry Tortugas National Park. General registration fee of $10 covers a variety of field trips and programs.

For general information, contact Jim Bell at 305-872-0774 or james_bell@fws.gov. For fee information and to register, contact Bruce Horn at 305-872-4486 or bruce@fkwbc.org.  You can also visit http://keysbirdingfest.org.

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the National Landscape Conservation System
Friday, September 24, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Join U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management staff on a one-mile hike in the Sierra Ladrones. Learn what is being done to conserve the area. Wear sturdy shoes, bring plenty of water and don’t forget your lunch. Space is limited. Reservations are required.

For reservations, call 505-864-4021. For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/newmex/sevilleta/

Help a Refuge on National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 a.m. – noon – Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Volunteer on National Public Land Day. Get your hands dirty and participate in stewardship activities such as collecting or cleaning seed.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/nealsmith/ or call Al Murray at 515-994-3400.

Learn about Buffalo
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 a.m.to 3:00 p.m. – Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Enjoy fun activities for all ages. Compete in the annual buffalo chip throwing contest. Learn about the buffalo through scheduled interpretive programs or just come out for a leisurely day on the refuge.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/nealsmith/ or call Hallie Rasmussen at 515-994-3400.

Clean up a Refuge for National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  — Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana
Take part in one of many cleanup projects suitable for volunteers of all ages. Lunch is provided.

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

Take Part in a Refuge Clean-Up for National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. — Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Join Scouts and other volunteers in cleaning up trash at the Highway 105 Trinity River Bridge. Bring gloves if you have them. Aluminum cans and metal will be recycled.
For more information, visit http://southwest.fws.gov/refuges/texas/trinityriver or contact Stuart Marcus at 936-336-9786 or stuart_marcus@fws.gov.
Participate in Project Monarch Watch
Saturday, September 25, 9:00 a.m.  –   Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge/Cache River Wetlands Center, Illinois
Take part in this international effort by netting, tagging and releasing monarchs during their migration south to Mexico. Learn about the butterflies, their favorite native plants, how vitally important milkweed is to their survival, and what you can do to help.

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

Help Remove Invasive Plants
Saturday, September 25, 9:30 a.m. to noon – Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin
Celebrate National Public Lands Day by helping refuge staff and volunteers remove invasive plants on the refuge. Long pants, sturdy shoes and gloves are recommended. All ages are welcome. This is a great activity for Scout groups.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/horicon/ or call 920-387-2658 ext. 24.

Attend an Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, September 25, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
Join Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for a special event marking the 30th anniversary of Mystery Hills, Dave Spencer and Andy Simons wilderness areas. Learn the story behind the creation of these three federally designated wilderness areas and why the 1.35 million acres they cover are so important to wildlife, water quality and quality of life for local residents and visitors from around the world.

For more information, visit http://kenai.fws.gov/ or contact Candace Ward at 907-262-7021 or candace_ward@fws.gov.

Explore the Shore
Thursday, September 30, 5:00 p.m. – Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts
Walk slowly through the refuge with leaders Jason Forbes and Alan Bragg, looking for shorebirds and other things. Meet at the main entrance to the refuge.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatmeadows/ or call 978- 443-466.

Take a Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk
Saturday, October 2, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Enjoy a walk led by Rich Bailowitz, author and expert on butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. These insects are abundant in this beautiful stream drainage after the summer rains.

For more information, visit www.friendsofbanwr.org or contact Richard Conway at 520-405-5665 or r_conway@mac.com.
Attend the 15th Annual Open House
Saturday, October 2, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. —Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
Attend an open house in preparation for National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 10-16. 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.

Participate in Refuge 5K Run/Walk
Saturday, October 9, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. – Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with a morning 5K run/walk on the auto tour, sponsored by the Friends of Horicon Refuge. Enjoy activities, programs, nature crafts and more throughout the day.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Horicon/ or call 920-387-2658 ext. 24.

Celebrate the Tens
Sunday, October 10, 7:00 a.m. – Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge welcomes participants in “The Big Sit.” Bird watchers, refuge volunteers or anyone with an interest is invited to sit in a 17-foot diameter circle and identify all the birds they see or hear during all or part of a 24-hour period. Visitors can also celebrate wetlands in a day-long 10-10-10 event. Participants may: pick up 10 pounds of trash; pull 10 pounds of invasive plants; identify 10 birds; identify 10 plants; list 10 reasons why you love this place; name 10 different types of wetlands; spend 10 minutes admiring the landscape; learn 10 new facts about wetlands; catch 10 fish; meet 10 new people.  

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

Take a Trail Walk
Sunday, October 10, 7:30 a.m. – Assabet National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts
Walk the trails at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge in this event co-sponsored with the Friends of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/assabetriver/index.html or call 978-443-4661.

Celebrate the Wetlands
Sunday, October 10, 10:00 a.m. – McNally Landing National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Celebrate wetlands and the designation of the Upper Mississippi River Floodplain Wetlands of International Importance. At this 10-10-10 event, participants may: pick up 10 pounds of trash; pull 10 pounds of invasive plants; identify 10 birds;  identify 10 plants;  list 10 reasons why you love this place ; name 10 different types of wetlands;  spend 10 minutes admiring the landscape;  learn 10 new facts about wetlands; catch 10 fish; meet 10 new people.  

For more information, visit www.bit.ly/UpperMiss or contact Cindy Samples (cindy_samples@fws.gov) at 507-494-6216.

Participate in the “Big Sit”
Sunday October 10 – Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana
A “Big Sit” bird event will count all birds visible from a small circle on the refuge. Everyone is welcome. Staying the whole day is not required.

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

Tour a New Area
Monday, October 11, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Take a self-guided tour of a usually restricted portion of the refuge.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or call 812-522-4352.

Attend the Log Cabin Day Festival
Saturday, October 16, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  – Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana
The Log Cabin Day Festival at Myers Cabin features old-time crafts, music, a free ham-and-bean dinner, wildlife displays and horse-drawn wagon rides for youngsters.

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

Celebrate “Wild Things”
Saturday, October 16, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
Enjoy the annual Wild Things art exhibit, co-sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc. and held in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week. Admission, parking and all tours and programs are free. Event highlights include exciting speakers, live animals, demonstrations of pirogue building and wildlife crafts, live entertainment, gardens and grounds tours, youth wildlife art competition (more than 400 entries last year), children’s activities such as the Wildland Fire Academy and Bear Maze, and canoe and pontoon boat tours of Bayou Lacombe.
For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/southeastlouisiana/calendar.html or call Bryon Fortier (byron_fortier@fws.gov) at 985-882-2025.


Take a Behind-the-Scenes Tour
Saturday, October 16, 2010 – Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week and Earth Science Week! Enjoy live animals, kids’ crafts and behind-the-scenes research tours of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

For more information, visit http://patuxent.fws.gov or call 301-497-5630.

Participate in a Butterfly Count
Saturday, October 16, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Take part in the 12th Annual Trinity River Butterfly Count in northern Liberty County. Areas to be counted include the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Tarkington Prairie and Gaylor Lake area. Some folks will butterfly the “bottoms” so be sure to bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Butterfly enthusiasts of all levels are welcome.

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

Attend the 2nd Annual Grassland Fair
Saturday, October 23, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Arizona
Visit the sweeping landscape of this 118,000-acre refuge and enjoy guest speaker presentations about bats, plants and other refuge wildlife. See and hold friendly reptiles at the Snakes Alive! presentation. See new exhibits at the visitor center and a new outdoor interpretive trail. Enjoy live music, food and craft booth.

For more information, visit http://www.friendsofbanwr.org or call Bonnie Swarbrick (bonnie_swarbrick@fws.gov), 520-823-4251 extension 106 or Richard Conway at (r_conway@mac.com) 520-405-5665.

Take a Night Hike
Saturday, November 6, 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. 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://midwest.fws.gov/necedah or call 608-565-2551.

Go on a Bird Walk
Saturday, November 6, daylight hours – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Led by an expert birder, this walk starts in refuge grasslands and continues through the delightful sycamore-lined stream drainage in the foothills of the majestic Baboquivari Mountains.
For more information, visit www.friendsofbanswr.org or contact Richard Conway (r_conway@mac.com) at (520) 405-5665.

Take a Canoe Tour
Saturday, November 6, 9:00 a.m. – Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is offering canoe tours along the old Cache channel. This abandoned section of river is maintained by the Ohio River flood gates. The area provides habitat for diverse creatures and an opportunity to fish, hunt, canoe, and watch wildlife. Reservations are required for the canoe tour.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/cypresscreek/ or call 618-634-2231.

Learn about Turkeys
Saturday, November 13, 10:30 a.m. – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Turkeys can see in colors and their field of vision spans across about 270 degrees. Drop in the Visitor Center to discover more about our feathered friends.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/craborchard/ or call 618-997-3344.

Attend a Geology Presentation
Saturday, November 20, (daylight hours) – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Learn about shattered land masses, mega-volcanoes and vanished landscapes on a nature walk led by geology expert Richard Conway on the trails of Brown Canyon. Trails are located in the foothills of the Baboquivari mountains along a sycamore-lined stream flanked by oak woodland beneath volcanic dikes and pinnacles.

For more information, visit www.friendsofbanswr.org or contact Richard Conway (r_conway@mac.com) at (520) 405-5665.

Enjoy an Art Show
Saturday, November 20, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Annual event featuring artwork, photography, carvings, and more from on-site local artists. Event is sponsored by the Friends of Boyer Chute and DeSoto National Wildlife Refuges.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/midwest/desoto or call 712-642-4121.

Celebrate the Holiday Season
Thursday, December 9, 11:00 a.m. – Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Celebrate the holiday season at our open house. There will be lots of food and even more cheer.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/cypresscreek/ or call 618-634-2231.

Help Count Birds
Monday, December 13, 6:00 a.m. -- Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
The Christmas Bird Count is an all-day census of early winter bird populations. This conservation effort has been conducted throughout the entire country during mid-December for more than 100 years. The information gathered has resulted in the longest running database in ornithology. The data show trends of bird populations across America.

For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/cypresscreek/ or call 618-634-2231.

Take a Photograph
Tuesday, December 28, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Learn how to catch a perfect shot of winter wildlife and majestic landscapes. Space is limited. Reservations are required.

To reserve your spot, call 505-864-4021 or visit http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/newmex/sevilleta/ for more information.

Take Part in the 14th Annual Trinity River Christmas Bird Count
Tuesday, December 28, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. – Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Areas to be counted include the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Tarkington Prairie and Gaylor Lake. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Valero Gas station at the intersection of Hwy 105 and Hwy 321, about six miles southeast of Cleveland. Some folks will bird the “bottoms” so bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Birdwatchers of all levels are welcome.

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

 

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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