National Wildlife Refuge System
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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.
An Aphrodite fritillary butterfly feeds on milkweed at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in West Virginia. Wildflowers such as milkweed will be the focus of a nature walk at the refuge on June 19.
Credit: Ken Sturm

Summer, glorious summer, ushers in a rush of family events on national wildlife refuges. Paddle trips, fishing rodeos, butterfly counts and scavenger hunts in the night sky are just some of the adventures planned. Come see why 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:


Family Canoe Tour
Wednesdays and Fridays in June, July and August, 10 a.m. to noon — Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Enjoy a kid-friendly exploration of the marshes, islands and creeks of Pamlico Sound via New Inlet. $25 per person; $15 for kids 12 and under. Reservations required. Call 252-216-9464. Learn about Pea Island Refuge.

Paddle Trips
Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Two-hour interpretive trips are a great way to experience the refuge by water. To reserve a spot, contact Lindsay Raber at 541-867-4550 or Lindsay_raber@fws.gov.
Monday June 20, 5 p.m.
Tuesday June 21, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 22, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, July 6, 5 p.m.
Thursday, July 7, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, July 8, 6 p.m.
Sunday, July 10, 9 a.m.
Learn about Siletz Bay 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.

Wild Rides
Wednesdays & Saturdays in June and July, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Experience the sights and sounds of the refuge on a guided, family‐friendly wildlife viewing
tour. Bring binoculars and cameras. Reservations are required. To reserve, call 303‐289‐0930.
Learn about Rocky Mountain Arsenal 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.

Dragonfly Walk and Talk
Sundays through June 19, noon to 1 p.m. — Arthur M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Learn about the exciting life of dragonflies. Learn about Loxahatchee Refuge.

Enjoy a Turtle Talk
Tuesdays in June, July and August, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. — Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC
What’s the difference between sea turtles and land turtles? What can you do to save these gentle giants? Learn about Pea Island Refuge.

Bear Necessities at Alligator River
Wednesdays in June, July and August, 5:30 to 7 p.m. — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Alligator River is home to one of the largest populations of black bears in the eastern United States. Learn why. Learn about Alligator River 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.

Sunset Hayride Photo Tour
Saturday, June 11, 6 to 8 p.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Hop aboard the refuge haymobile for a wild photography opportunity. Bug repellant recommended. Reservations: 303‐289‐0930. Learn about Rocky Mountain Arsenal 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. Learn about Deer Flat Refuge.

Duck Nest Adventures – Pontoon Tour
Wednesday, June 15, 9 to 10:30 a.m. — Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
Enjoy a pontoon ride to Lake Audubon’s “Pancake Island” for a close-up look at duck nests and young ducklings. Participants will have the opportunity to candle eggs and learn about incubation. Life jackets, binoculars, and field identification guides are provided. Boat tour will be cancelled if winds exceed 15 mph. Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to get your feet wet. Pre-registration is required. Call 701-442-5474 ext. 110.  (Backup day: June 17) Learn about Audubon 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 Marsh Wildflower Walk
Saturday, June 18, 1:30 to 3:30 pm — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Join a wildflower identification walk. Meet at Bluebird Parking Lot
Learn about Great Swamp 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.

Take a Wildflower Walk
Sunday, June 19, 1 p.m. — Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, WV
Explore early summer wildflowers on a walk with Master Naturalist volunteers.
Learn about Canaan Valley Refuge

Summer Solstice Kayak       
Monday, June 20, 7 to 9 p.m. — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
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.

Cormorant Colony Island Pontoon Tour
Wednesday, June 22, 9 to 11 a.m. — Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
A leisurely pontoon ride around Cormorant Colony Island offers visitors a great view of the double-crested cormorants that congregate on the island to build nests of sticks and raise their young. Along the way, participants will learn about refuge history and management; they will also view gulls, terns and pelicans. Life jackets and binoculars are provided. Boat tour will be cancelled if winds exceed 15 mph. Pre-registration is required. Call 701-442-5474 ext. 110.  (Back up day: June 24) Learn about Audubon Refuge.

Stolen Treasures: National Eagle & Wildlife Property Repository Tour
Thursday, June 23, 10 a.m. to noon — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
See stolen and illegally traded wildlife items that have been confiscated. Learn about the Native American Eagle Feather Program. Reservations: 303‐289‐0930. Learn about Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge.
 
“Trash to Treasure” Exhibit
Saturday, June 25 — Erie National Wildlife Refuge, PA
See contest entries, all of which turn discarded items into something useful or artistic, at the refuge’s June 25 Summer Fest. Contest entry deadline is June 13. For more information, contact the refuge at (814) 789-3585. Learn about Erie Refuge.

Roving Bird Naturalist on Marsh Trail
Wednesday, June 29, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. — Arthur M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, FL
A volunteer naturalist and expert birder will stroll the Marsh Trail, answering questions and pointing out birds along the way.
Learn about Loxahatchee Refuge.

Puffin Watch
Saturday, July 2 to Monday, July 4 — Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Take part in the Great Cannon Beach Puffin Watch, an annual seabird-watching event on the beach. Also see common murres, black oystercatchers and pelagic cormorants that use Haystack Rock, part of Oregon Islands Refuge, to raise their young. Visit www.ci.cannon-beach.or.us for more information. Learn about Oregon Islands Refuge.

Native Plant Garden
Saturday, July 9, 9 a.m. to noon — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Tend a native plant garden. Plan, plant, weed, mulch and transplant. Tools will be provided. No experience necessary. Optional brown bag lunch. Learn about Great Swamp Refuge.

Bike the Refuge
Sunday, July 24, 9 to 11 a.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Roll past the scenic wetlands and prairies with a naturalist. Reservations: 303‐289‐0930.
Helmets required. Fat, puncture proof tires recommended. Learn about Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge.

Hummingbird Banding Workshop
Saturday, July 30, 7 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.

Blue Goose Conservation Day
Friday, August 12, 5 to 8:30 p.m. — Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
Spend a family-oriented evening learning about hunting, fishing, wildlife conservation and outdoor skills. Kids receive door prizes and educational materials. A picnic dinner will be served. No pre-registration required. Learn about Audubon 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.

Shorebird Field Trip and Workshop
Saturday, August 13, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Join author and bird expert Kevin Karlson on a morning field trip to learn a simple approach to shorebird ID. Then take an indoor afternoon workshop to apply this approach to all bird families. Registration required. Call 302-653-6872.
Learn about Bombay Hook 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.

Take a Summer Bird Walk
Sunday, August 14, 1 p.m. — Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, WV
Learn about birds found on the refuge in summer.
Learn about Canaan Valley Refuge

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 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.

Bird Feeder Workshop (Ages 4-18)
Thursday, September 22, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
Use pre-cut lumber to build two types of bird feeders – a fruit feeder for orioles and a tray feeder for a variety of birds. Learn about different types of birds that use the feeders, as well as types of seed and fruit that will attract certain birds. Pre-registration is required. Call 701-442-5474 ext. 110. Learn about Audubon 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
Alligator 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.

Halloween Adventure: The Wild Night Life of the Refuge
Friday, October 28, listed times — Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
Pre-school through grade 4:  From 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Grades 5-7:  From 7 to 9 p.m.  
Kids are invited out for an evening of fun and learning about the animals that are active at night – bats, owls, coyotes and creepy crawlers. Bring a flashlight. Snacks provided. Pre-registration is required. Call 701-442-5474 ext. 110. Learn about Audubon 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 was open to students ages 5 to 18. Admission: $2; free for Friends of Shiawassee Refuge. Learn about Shiawassee Refuge.

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