April 2014 Events
|In a spring mating ritual, an Attwater’s prairie chicken inflates the orange air sacks on its neck to make a booming sound. At Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, the popular Prairie Chicken Festival is April 12 and 13.|
|Credit: George Lavendowski|
April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 10 a.m. to noon — Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Look for Santa Ana’s amazing and unique butterfly species on this guided walk. Explore different refuge trails and habitats in search of different species. Please wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes and bring protection from the heat and insects. The refuge has binoculars you can borrow.
Early Spring Birding
April 5, 9 a.m. to noon — John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, PA
Join a free, volunteer-guided bird walk to see and learn about avian species at Heinz Refuge. Bring binoculars or borrow them from the visitor center.
April 5 — Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Be a Plankhouse interpreter. Help introduce visitors to Chinookan culture and lifestyle while eagles soar overhead and osprey fly in from the river. The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a life-size replica of one of the Northwest Coast Native American structures that once made up the Village of Cathlapotle. The Plankhouse is open to the public on weekends from noon to 4 p.m. from April to October, and for pre-arranged group visits during the week. RSVP: Josie Finley 360-887-4106
Spring Fling Wildlife Tour
April 5, 10 a.m. — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA
Spring Fling Wildlife Tour
Join a tour of the refuge highlighting migratory bird habitat restoration. Look for ducks, eagles, swans and more. Reservations are encouraged: 712-388-4800
April 10, 7 to 9 p.m. — Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Enjoy a free presentation by the Sussex Astronomy Society, including photos of Jupiter, galaxies and the moon. Then peer at space through telescopes. Seating is first-come, first-served in the refuge auditorium. Come at 6:30 p.m. for light refreshments.
Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival
April 11 to 13 — Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, LA
The annual festival in Franklin, Louisiana celebrates species such as white pelicans and roseate spoonbills that are found in North America’s largest river swamp. Guided boat tours and paddling trips into the refuge are featured attractions, along with a photo show, music and fireworks.
John Scharff Migratory Bird Festival
April 11 to 13 — Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, OR
The festival includes birding trips to the refuge from Harney County, Oregon. On the llama birding trip, you can have your gear carried by a llama.
Spring Roadside Cleanup
April 12, 9 a.m. to noon — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Help pick up litter along refuge roads. Meet at refuge headquarters on 241 Pleasant Plains Road.
April 12, 16, 26, 30, 1 p.m. — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA
Hear a talk about curiosities of the Steamboat Bertrand collection – the refuge’s display of Civil War-era artifacts from a boat that sank in the Missouri River in 1864 en route to the gold fields of Montana. Learn about the boat’s passengers and what they left behind.
April 12, 7 to 9 a.m. — Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Hummingbirds hover, fly backwards, build their nests from spider webs and lichens, and grow no larger than your thumb. Learn about these fascinating birds and how feeders play an important role in their survival. No reservations required.
Prairie Chicken Festival
April 12 to 13, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Enjoy tours of the refuge, native plants and Attwater prairie chickens on their “booming grounds.”
Upcycle Art Festival
April 16 — J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL
This inaugural refuge event will showcase fine arts and crafts made from recycled and repurposed material. Admire artists’ inventiveness while learning the importance of recycling and protecting wildlife.
Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival
April 16 to 22 — Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
This weeklong birding and nature festival in northern California’s coastal redwoods includes a field trip to Humboldt Bay Refuge. The festival also includes more than 100 eco-tours and workshops, an art show, live birds of prey and a keynote lecture.
Refuge Bicycle Tour
April 19, 1 to 3 p.m. — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Enjoy a guided bicycle tour of the refuge, with stops to identify birds and discuss habitats, wildlife management techniques and history. The ride will be about 6 miles along the unpaved wildlife drive.
April 19, 1 p.m. — Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, NE
Hike a refuge trail with a ranger or volunteer and learn about the history and wildlife of this special place. Meet at the kiosk in the main parking lot.
Puddlestompers Vacation-Week Kids Program
April 22 to 25 — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Enroll children ages 3-6 in a drop-off nature exploration program during school break. Sign up for 1, 2, 3 or all 4 days. Activities will feature hands-on exploration, active movement and play, crafts, stories and songs. Among activities:
- learning how plants grow and looking for rainbows after April showers;
- searching for signs of animals and their food sources;
- investigating birds building their new nests;
- discovering worms and other exciting life in the soil.
Cost: $60/day per child. Friends members receive a 10 percent discount.
Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival
April 24 to 26 — Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Experience birding in the Great Dismal Swamp during the height of the spring neotropical songbird migration. You might catch a glimpse of the Swainson’s warbler and the Wayne’s warbler, two of North America’s most secretive birds. The festival is part of International Migratory Bird Day, which celebrates the journeys of migratory birds between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America.
An Evening with Moths
April 25, 8 to 11:30 p.m. — Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, MN
Gather around a light at dusk for a fascinating encounter with moths. These ‘fly-by-night’ creatures are largely overlooked in our environment. We’ll discuss their life styles, behaviors, and ecological importance. Bring a headlamp or flashlight.
Balcones Songbird Festival
April 25 to 28 — Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, TX
The 14th annual event in Marble Falls, TX, includes guided tours of the refuge. See the endangered golden-checked warbler, black-capped vireo and many more.
Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
April 25 to 27 — Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, WA
The Hoquiam, WA, festival, which coincides with the peak of spring shorebird migration on the Washington Coast, includes field trips to Grays Harbor Refuge and other birding spots.
Birding and Crystal Festival
April 25 to 27 — Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, OK
The annual festival typically features guided tours, workshops, decoy-carving demonstrations and selenite crystal digging contests.
Santee Birding and Nature Festival
April 25 to 27 — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC
This festival celebrates the natural beauty of South Carolina by providing wildlife watching and natural history opportunities in the state’s midlands and beyond. The event includes field trips to Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Outdoor events on or about April 22 mark the birth of the modern environmental movement on this day in 1970. Many national wildlife refuges will host Earth Day events in mid-April. Among them:
- April 12, 1 to 3 p.m. — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Come out and clean up the roads leading to the refuge. Bring work gloves and wear shoes that can get wet. Refreshments will be served after the cleanup.
- April 19, all day — J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Special Earth Day events will include plein air painting – painting nature in the outdoors.
- April 26, all day — Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Help the refuge restore prairie and oak savanna ecosystems. The Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge will provide a free lunch to participants. Pre-register: 515-994-3400.
- April 26, 9 a.m. to noon — John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, PA
Bring your family and friends and help us clean up the refuge. Register: 215-365-3118
- April 26, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Enjoy an afternoon of outdoor activities at the Champion Lake public use area. Activities will include refuge boat tours, canoeing, kayaking, bird and butterfly viewing, walking the levee trail, dip netting and fishing lessons in the lake for the kids.
Hike with a Ranger
April 26, 8 to 10 a.m. — San Diego National Wildlife Refuges, CA
Learn about San Diego’s biologically diverse native habitats and what the refuge is doing to protect them on a guided interpretive hike. This hike is along the Sweetwater Interpretive Loop Trail, and focuses on springtime migratory birds. Please bring water, sturdy hiking shoes, binoculars and a sketchbook if you have them. Some binoculars can be borrowed for the hike.
Nature Hike: Birds, Botany and Habitat
April 26, 9 a.m. to noon — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE
Take a guided hike to learn about refuge plants and animals and how the refuge’s habitats and management techniques sustain them. Hike leaders will identify birds by sight and sound, and point out plants and fungi. Participants should be able to hike three or more miles and stand for long periods of time. Registration is required: 302-653-9345. Appropriate for adults (16 years and older).
April 27, all day — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC
The Santee Birding Festival offers an array of wildlife-oriented field trips and workshops throughout the weekend. The festival celebrates the natural beauty of South Carolina by providing wildlife watching and natural history opportunities throughout the midlands of the state.
Bird Sketching 101
April 27, 1 to 4 p.m. — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Learn to sketch birds with an expert at the visitor center. Reservations are required: 973-425-9510.