National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge System Birthday 2013 Events

Prairie Cornflower
For 110 years, the National Wildlife Refuge System has protected wildlife, such as these light-footed clapper rails being released in California.  The Refuge System celebrates its birthday March 14 with festivals and other events.
Credit: Jonathan Snapp-Cook/USFWS


Happy Birthday, National Wildlife Refuge System!
Scores of national wildlife refuges will host open houses and public celebrations in honor of the Refuge System’s 110th birthday on Thursday, March 14.

On this date in 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island to protect wild birds from bounty hunters. Today, the Refuge System’s 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts provide vital habitat for thousands of animal and plant species.

Use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage to see if your local refuge has an event scheduled. Or check the special events listings. Refuge celebrations will include:

  • Refuge System Birthday Bash!

Saturday, March 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. —Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Enjoy a free festival complete with refuge tram tours, live animals, children’s crafts, music and entertainment at the National Wildlife Visitor Center, on Powder Mill Road between Route 197 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Laurel.

  • Happy Birthday Times Two

Saturday, March 10, 9 a.m. to noon — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC 
Take a free tram tour to celebrate the 29th birthday of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the 110th birthday of the Refuge System. Learn about the history of the area before the establishment of the refuge. Look for black bear, bald eagles and other wildlife.

  • 20th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival

Saturday, March 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Riverview Park, Sebastian, FL
Celebrate the 110th birthday of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System. Enjoy exhibits, live wildlife shows, a photo contest, pontoon boat tours to Pelican Island, live music and kids’ activities. All events are free except for kayaking and boat tours. Learn more about the festival


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Last updated: January 30, 2013