National Wildlife Refuge System
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September 2012 Events

A hive of honeybees at John Heinz Refuge.

Honeybees cover a hive at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia. A Honey Harvest Festival at Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland on Saturday, September 15 will give visitors the chance to learn about bees and other pollinators while enjoying arts and crafts, honey tastings, candle-making demonstrations and refuge tram tours.

Credit: Gary M. Stolz/USFWS

Color Walk
Saturday, September 1, 5 to 6:30 p.m. — Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Make a color chart. Then join refuge staff for a nature walk along the Pacific View Trail, looking for plants or animals that match the colors on your chart.

Hidden Lake Outing
Saturday, September 1, 7 to 9 p.m. — Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, AK
Discover the fascinating glacial geology of Hidden Lake and the Kenai Peninsula. Later make a glacier ice cream sundae. Meet at the Hidden Lake Campground amphitheater.

Dragonfly Festival
Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 — Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Enjoy free guided tours, highlighting refuge dragonflies, wildlife and sinkholes. Try your hand at archery. See New Mexico reptiles. Sample a kids' firefighting demo, a treasure hunt, a wildlife arts and crafts fair, an aquatic lab, a photo workshop and more. Tour reservations (after August 6): 575-625-4011

Fall Shoreline Cleanup
Saturday, September 8, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ­— Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD 
Get outside and make a difference. Wear sturdy shoes. Bags, gloves, sunscreen, snacks and water are provided. Sign up:  410-639-7056.

Raccoon F.U.N. (Families Understanding Nature)
Saturday, September 8, 10:30 a.m. to noon — Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, IL
Enjoy a free program and learn all about these nocturnal creatures. See a live raccoon.

13th Annual Fall Festival
Saturday, September 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Enjoy guided walks, exhibits, free food and fun activities for kids. Photo contest winners will be announced. Activites will take place at the visitor center.

Bulls Island Sunrise Photography
Saturday, September 8, 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. — Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, IL
Experience and photograph a beautiful sunrise over Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island. Meet at Garris Landing. To reserve, contact Coastal Expeditions at 843-881-4582 or

Fall Wildflower Tour
Saturday, September 8, 10 a.m to noon — Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, MN
Join a naturalist on a tour of wildflowers and native tall grasses on the refuge. Meet at the Old School House on County Road 9, 5.5 miles west of Hwy. 169. Pre-register: 763-389-3323 ext. 13 or TTY 1-800-877-8339.

Celebrate the Outdoors
Saturday, September 15, 10 a.m to 3 p.m. — Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, AR
Encourage your youngsters to connect with nature through outdoor activities such as hiking, gardening and bird watching.

National Hunting and Fishing Day
Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, LA
Enjoy BB gun/archery/skeet ranges, live music, wildlife exhibits, bounce area, calling contest, demonstrations and children’s activities. Enter lottery for youth deer hunt in December. Youth must be present at drawing to win.

Coastal Cleanup Day
Saturday, September 15, 8:30 a.m to noon — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Help protect coastal wildlife habitats by picking up trash and removing invasive weeds. Gloves and trash bags provided. Bring sturdy shoes, sunscreen and clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Register: 510-792-0222 ext. 363.

Monarch Mania
Saturday, September 15 ─ Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, KS
Take in an introductory program on monarch biology. Then help net butterflies for tagging and release them. Butterflies also will be the theme of a children’s craft activity.

Honey Harvest Festival
Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Discover the busy world of bees and other pollinators while enjoying arts and crafts, honey tasting, candle-making demonstrations, refuge tram tours and more.

Beach Cleanup
Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m to 1 p.m. — Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Help protect the environment. Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. at the Herbert H. Bateman Education & Administrative parking lot. Bring water and sunscreen and wear comfortable footweat. Trash bags, gloves, and data sheets will be provided. Participants will receive a free t-shirt.

Birding Field Trip
Sunday, September 16, 8 a.m. to noon — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Join a naturalist on a free birding field trip. See songbirds, waaterfowl, waders, birds of prey and more. Bring binoculars and field guides. Meet at visitor center.

Grassland Tours, Grades 5-7
Monday, September 17 through Friday, September 21, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, MO
Learn what makes up a grassland, how animals live in the ecosystem, and how Swan Lake Refuge manages grasslands for those species. Take part in hands-on activities in the field and in the visitor center.

Weed Warriors
Thursday, September 20, 1 to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge – North Tract, MD
Help control non-native invasive plants on the refuge. Bring gloves, water, bug repellent (and hand tools if available). This event is free, but registration is required:  301-497-5887.

Tree Swallow Nest Box Workshop
Thursday, September 20, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, ND
Build a nesting box for tree swallows from pre-cut lumber. Learn about tree swallows and other birds that may use the box. Also learn about proper box placement and maintenance. Pre-registration is required: 701-442-5474 ext. 117.

Fall Leaf Walk
Saturday, September 22, 1 to 2 p.m. — Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, AK

Enjoy the crunch of dried leaves underfoot and discover what make those brilliant red, orange and gold fall colors. Discover what’s in store during the fall season for wildlife. Look for end-of-season berries and new mushrooms. Pre-register: Leah Eskelin, 907-260-2811. 

Families in Nature
Saturday, September 22, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Meet at Nature's Classroom area for scavenger hunt, crafts and ranger-led wildlife program. Registration required: 850-925-6121.

Beginning and Intermediate Bird Drawing
Saturday, September 22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Learn to draw birds. Beginners' level is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Intermedidate level is from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Appropriate for ages 8 to adult. All skill levels welcome. Register: 408-262-5513 ext. 102. Located at the Environmental Education Center in Alviso, CA.

National Public Lands Day
Many refuges will invite volunteers to mark this national day of service, on Saturday, September 29, by helping to clean and enhance refuge property. Here are some examples:

Buffalo Day/Public Lands Day – A buffalo chip throwing contest and a guided bus tour through the bison enclosure are just two activities at this all-day event. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to noon to help collect seed.  Learn more about the event.

Help Big Muddy Refuge plant trees and prairie grass at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in West Alton, MO. Wear work clothes and sturdy shoes. Gloves and shovels will be provided.

Take part in the refuge’s annual cleanup at the Prairie Creek Recreation Area.

Help refuge staff and volunteers remove invasive plants on the refuge. All ages welcome. Long pants, sturdy shoes and gloves are recommended. Refreshments are provided. Meet at the Egret Trail boardwalk parking lot along the auto tour route off Hwy 49.

Help clean up trash at the Hwy 105 Trinity River Bridge. Aluminum cans and metal will be recycled. Bring gloves. Trash bags provided.

Introduction to Fishing for Kids
Friday, September 28, 5 to 6:30 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Learn what types of fish are found in Puffer Pond and how to catch one. Fishing pole and equipment provided. RSVP. or 978-562-3527 ext 117 by 3 p.m.

Nisqually Watershed Festival
Saturday, September 29, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Celebrate the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Nisqually Watershed with music, food, guided walks, educational displays and more. All festival and refuge parking is at River Ridge High School, 320 River Ridge Dr. SE. A free shuttle will run beginning at 7 a.m.

Art in the Refuge
Sunday, September 30, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Artists of all skill levels are welcome to come out and work in the wild. A support shelter will be set up with water and art supplies. Bring your own portable art supplies as well for use on trails and road edges. Check in at the lower parking lot.

Full Moon Paddle
Sunday, September 30, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD 
Join Friends of Eastern Neck and the Center for Environment & Society of Washington College for a full moon paddle at the refuge. Bring your own kayak, lifejacket, paddle and flashlight. Meet at Bogles Wharf.  Group limit: 24 people. Register: 410-778-7295.

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Last updated: August 30, 2012