Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Senator Amy Klobuchar and Regional Director Tom Melius. Photo by Alejandro Morales/USFWS.

Senator Amy Klobuchar and Regional Director Tom Melius. Photo by Alejandro Morales/USFWS.

Celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week in the Twin Cities:
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge turns 40

October’s autumn colors were the perfect backdrop at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge as staff and supporters came out to celebrate the refuge’s 40th birthday on October 8, 2016. Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius and Senator Amy Klobuchar were joined by refuge staff and supporters to welcome folks from across the Twin Cities.

Longtime refuge supporter Congresswoman Betty McCollum and staff. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

Longtime refuge supporter Congresswoman Betty McCollum and staff. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

People come to the refuge to watch birds and other wildlife, to go hiking and walking for fitness, to practice their photography, or simply to escape the rush of city life. Named as one of the 12 key national wildlife refuges in the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program, Minnesota Valley is a great example of how we are staying relevant to urban communities across the country.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the surrounding suburbs, are different than many other metropolitan areas, because of the huge amount of protected public spaces. The 3.5 million people that live and work here are 10 minutes or less from reaching parks, trails and other green spaces. This makes Minnesota Valley a natural place for urbanites to get outside and get connected.

“In recent years, refuge staff have been working to grow their base in the community. Working with students, with their teachers, and with their families. I’m very pleased to know that more than 250,000 people visited the refuge last year,” said Regional Director Tom Melius.

“I’m not surprised to hear that so many value the refuge, it’s part of a network of public green space that is unmatched nationally,” continued Melius.

Saturday’s celebration also kicked off National Wildlife Refuge Week, an annual celebration of the benefits that the world’s largest network of conservation-focused public lands and waters bring to all Americans. Folks from all walks of life came out to enjoy family-friendly activities like live raptor and reptiles programs, Pokestop tours with staff, and to take part in an oral history story booth.

Even though the party is over, the fun at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge continues year-round as partner schools use it as their outdoor classroom, people go hiking and snowshoeing and staff host public events. All for free!

Learn more about Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and plan your visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Minnesota_Valley/

By Tina Shaw
Regional Office - External Affairs

Celebrating with cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Gage.

Celebrating with cupcakes. Photo courtesy of Gage.

 

Last updated: November 14, 2016