National Wildlife Refuge System
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April 2013 Events

Exploring by bicycle can be a treat at national wildlife refuges that permit the activity. On April 20, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware will host a guided six-mile bike ride with stops to identify birds and discuss habitats and management techniques.

Credit: Charles Slate

Scenic Tour
Monday, April 1, through Sunday, April 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA

Take a scenic ride through the refuge into False Cape State Park while observing spring wildlife. Tours include a one mile hike to the Wash Woods cemetery. Bring binoculars and cameras.


Nature on Film
Thursday, April 4, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. — Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Watch City Dark: The Definitive Story of Light Pollution and the Disappearing Stars. Bring a bag lunch. Beverages and dessert provided.


Othello Sandhill Crane Festival
Friday, April 5 to Sunday, April 7 — Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, WA
Experience the beauty and wonder of wildlife, highlighted by the return of sandhill cranes to the Channeled Scablands. Enjoy wildlife tours, talks on the area’s natural and cultural heritage and children’s activities. More information: 709-546-8300


Mesquite Tree Planting
Saturday, April 6, 8:30 a.m. to noon — Desert National Wildlife Refuge, NV
Plant native mesquite trees at Corn Creek to help prevent erosion, reduce dust, deter invasive plants and improve habitat for wildlife. Bring a hat and sunscreen. Work gloves, water and snacks will be provided. Register at the visitor contact station parking lot. More information: 702-515-5494.


Bird Walk
Friday, April 5, 9 to 11 a.m. — Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, NJ
Take a leisurely two-hour walk to look for and learn about refuge birds, wildlife, plants and habitats. All experience levels welcome. Loaner binoculars are available.


Fishing Frenzy
Saturday, April 6, 8 a.m. to noon — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Calling all youth anglers! Grab your fishing pole or borrow one from the refuge, and join a fishing derby. Learn about fish identification, fly typing and more. Register: 303-289-3689


Cold Blooded Critters
Saturday, April 6, 1 to 2 p.m. — Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, NY
Beaver Meadow Audubon naturalist Mark Carra uses a collection of live animals to show how we differ from our cold-blooded cousins and how these animals live.


Bird Identification Tour with John and Becky Hargrove
Sunday, April 7, 1 to 4 p.m. — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE   
Walk a trail looking for early migrating songbirds, identifying waterfowl and herons in the impoundments, watching for eagles and looking for shorebirds in the tidal salt marsh.  Meet at the visitor center. All levels of experience welcome.


Spring Cleaning
Sunday, April 7, 1 p.m. — Erie National Wildlife Refuge, PA
Help clean the refuge. Meet at the headquarters building in Guys Mills. Contact: 814-789-3585


“Green Fire” Movie Showing
Thursday, April 11, 6:30 p.m.  — Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, WA
See the Emmy Award-winning documentary film about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold.


Thursday, April 11- Saturday, April 14 — Galveston, TX
The festival includes field trips to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.


Earth Day
Many national wildlife refuges will host Earth Day events in mid-April. See the Earth Day event listings page.


Discovery Center Open House
Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, VA
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the James River Association will host a grand opening celebration of the Menenak Discovery Center and James River Ecology School. The day-long event will include nature hikes and birding tours, guided canoe trips on the refuge’s tidal creeks, a lunch reception, hands-on education programs and green building tours.


Prairie Chicken Festival 
Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 14, 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.


Spring Hike ‘n’ Bird
Saturday, April 13, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. — Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
Enjoy a guided hike to look for spring migrants. This hike explores woodland, wetland and prairie habitats. Bring your binoculars or borrow a pair from the refuge. Recommended for adults. All levels of birding experience welcome.


Pollinator Event
Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, ME
The Maine Cooperative Extension Service will offer a free workshop on how to build a pollinator garden.


Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Washita National Wildlife Refuge, OK
Celebrate the refuge’s anniversary with activities such as animal track identification, archery and shotgun education for all ages.


Archery 101
Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Sullys Hill National Game Preserve, ND
Learn the basics of shooting a bow and arrow. Great fun for all ages. Sign up: 701-766-4272


Tram Tour
Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. to noon — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Ride with staff on the refuge’s open-air tram in search of wildlife. During the three-hour tour, learn about management of the refuge and the wildlife found there. The tram is universally accessible.


Exploring the Night Sky
Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m. — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
April is Global Astronomy Month. Amateur astronomers will help visitors of all ages identify spring constellations, distinguish planets from stars and observe galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Visitors will make a chart and play Astro-Jeopardy.


Leave No Trace Training
Friday, April 19, 2 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Join the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Team and learn about protecting outdoor recreational areas and protecting public lands for future generations. Participants will explore the principles of Leave No Trace through hands-on, engaging activities. Registration is required: 978-562-3527 ext. 117.


Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival
Friday, April 19 - Sunday, April 21— Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, LA
Celebrate species found in North America’s largest river swamp, such as white pelicans and roseate spoonbills. Enjoy guided boat tours and paddling trips into the refuge, along with a photo show, music and fireworks.


Hike with a Ranger
Saturday, April 20, 9 to 11 a.m. — San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Learn about the refuge’s unique habitats. Hike on the Old Steel Bridge Trail in East County, Jamul. All ages welcome.


Training for Naturalist Educators
Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, MA
Take part in the second session of a four-part Naturalist Educators training seminar. The remaining dates are June 29 and November 2. This hands-on training program is suitable for teachers and adults working with children. More information: 978-562-3527 ext. 117.


Carp Rodeo
Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m. to noon — Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, NV
Help the Fish and Wildlife Service remove invasive carp from refuge waters. Join Nevada Department of Wildlife for a day of fishing and fun. Rods and reels provided for those who do not have any. Anglers age 12 and up must have a Nevada fishing license. See information about licenses here.


Bicycle Tour
Saturday, April 20, 2 to 4 p.m. — Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE   
Take a guided six-mile ride, stopping to identify birds and discuss habitats and management techniques. Continue further on your own. Roads are packed dirt. A bicycle with hybrid tires is suggested.  Bring your helmet. Meet at the visitor center. 


Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival
Thursday, April 25 to Saturday, April 27 — Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, VA
Celebrate spring migration. Enjoy guided bird walks, bus tours, nature photography workshops, bird banding, owl prowls, canoeing and children’s activities.


Santee Birding and Nature Festival
Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC
Join birders and naturalists at one of the state’s only nature festivals. Take field trips throughout the midlands of South Carolina.


Balcones Songbird Festival
Friday, April 26 – Monday, April 29 — Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Enjoy refuge tours and workshops.


Birding and Crystal Festival
Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 — Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, OK
The annual festival features guided tours, workshops, decoy-carving demonstrations and selenite crystal digging contests.


Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 — Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, WA
The festival, which coincides with the peak of spring shorebird migration on the Washington coast, includes field trips to Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and other birding hot spots.


Nature Yoga
Sunday, April 28, 10 to 11:30 a.m. — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Enjoy the benefits of yoga outdoors with great views of the salt marsh. Through story and postures, learn what attracted people and wildlife to the bay. Hike to the site from the Fremont Visitor Center. Bring a yoga mat. Reservations (required): 510-792-0222 ext. 363.


Balcones Songbird Festival
Sunday, April 28, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Come out for a family-day of bird tours to see endangered and common Hill Country birds. There will be a raptor show, archery range and children’s activities.


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Last updated: March 27, 2013