National Wildlife Refuge System
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Fall Stirs the Senses on National Wildlife Refuges

A mule deer buck displays an impressive rack at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Mule deer bucks are a common sight on the refuge during late summer and fall.

A mule deer buck displays an impressive rack at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Mule deer bucks are a common sight on the refuge during late summer and fall.

Credit: Barbara Wheeler / USFWS

Summer’s winding down, but not the excitement on national wildlife refuges. Fall is a season of color and drama as species prepare to migrate south or hunker down for the cold months ahead. Events on refuges capture that excitement.


Birding Hike
Saturday, September 10, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. — Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Join members of the Audubon Society of Lincoln City for a bird-watching
hike.  Learn about Nestucca Bay 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. For 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.

Valley Vibes: All About Bats
Saturday, September 17, 7 p.m. — Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, WV
Bats are among the creatures that inhabit the valley. Learn why they’re important. Learn about Canaan Valley 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. 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. 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: 701-442-5474 ext. 110. Learn about Audubon Refuge.

National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 24 — Many refuges
Many refuges will invite volunteers to help clean and enhance refuge property, as part of a national celebration of Public Lands Day. See what’s planned at a refuge near you by using the refuge finder tool or check event calendar listings as the date draws nearer.

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 ext. 16. Inclement weather date: October 9. Local outfitters in Germfask offer canoe and kayak rentals as well as shuttle service. Learn about Seney Refuge.

Attend a Birding Festival
October 16-22 — J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Attend “Ding” Darling Days birding and eco-festival. Learn about Ding Darling Refuge.

National Wildlife Refuge Week
October 10 through 16 — Many refuges will host special events to mark the occasion.
See what’s planned at a refuge near you by using the refuge finder tool or check event calendar listings as the date draws nearer.

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: 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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