Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Week-long Festival Showcases the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges: Second Annual Outdoor Fest Set for March 11th – 18th

February 7, 2017


Kristie Killam (305) 304-9625
Park Ranger/Visitor Services
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex

The silhouette of a bird standing on a piling in front of calm water and a sunset.

A great white heron rests on a piling at sunset in the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Mickey Foster.

Big Pine, FL - For anyone wanting an up-close take on the great outdoors, a celebration of the National Wildlife Refuge system in the Florida Keys is just around the subtropical bend. US Fish and Wildlife Service's Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex and their Friends group FAVOR announce their second annual Outdoor Fest—a full week of action-packed days filled with family-friendly, mostly free outdoor adventures and hands-on activities—set for Saturday, March 11th through Saturday, March 18th.  

“The National Wildlife Refuge System is part of America's network of amazing public lands with refuges being “the "cousin" of America's National Parks,” says Ranger and Outreach Coordinator Kristie Killam. “We’re really fortunate to have these areas for people to visit and enjoy nature.”

The annual Outdoor Fest was created to remind people of the incredible natural resources we have available here in the Keys and encourage them to get outside while promoting an understanding and appreciation of the refuges—home to some of the world’s most endangered habitats, plants, and wildlife species, including the endangered Key Deer.

Eco-tourists, nature-lovers, birding enthusiasts, nature photographers, artists, runners, and outdoor adventure-inclined families will find much to explore in the week-long outdoor extravaganza. The event location spans the four national wildlife refuges established in the Florida Keys – National Key Deer, Crocodile Lake, Great White Heron, and Key West National Wildlife Refuges—and features expert-guided birding, nature walks, and backcounty boat trips; evening wildlife programs; nature sketching, nature photography workshops and a photo contest; two family-fun wildlife fairs; kayak excursions, a natural history bike ride, and the 3nd Annual Run With Deer 5K on Big Pine Key.  

This year’s fest kicks off in Key Largo at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge with a Saturday wildlife fair and nature-oriented field trips and presentations, progressing to the Lower Keys events later in the week, allowing those interested the option of enjoying all of the events offered.

“Although refuges have a "wildlife first" philosophy, we want people to know they are welcome to visit and enjoy these unique lands and waters in a wildlife-friendly manner,” says Killam.   

Killam is the lone ranger for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges but she is part of a team of managers, biologists, law enforcement officers, maintenance workers and volunteers who together with their friends group FAVOR- a group of volunteers that have supported the National Wildlife Refuges of the Florida Keys through education, advocacy, volunteerism, and fundraising for nearly twenty years, they hope to get locals and visitors alike to engage and pay attention.

“And hopefully we’ll gain new wildlife enthusiasts in the community in the process,” says Killam.   

The Outdoor Fest is brought to you in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.  For more information about the refuges, FAVOR, and the list of events, visit or contact Kristie Killam at 305.304.9625 or email Nancy or Jan at

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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