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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week

a wetland at sunset at Blackwater Refuge

The scenic beauty of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS

This week we celebrate National Wildlife Refuge week and the world-class outdoor recreation opportunities the more than 550 units of the Refuge System offer throughout the country. Celebrated annually during the second week of October, National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to connect with your local refuge as I plan to do on Columbus Day when I visit Blackwater, NWR on Maryland’s Eastern shore.

I have been fortunate to visit a number of refuges across the country and look forward to seeing many more. While each is unique, they all share a quality of wildness, and a sense of serenity and peace. They offer an escape from our busy lives, and often times an escape that is close to home or within a short drive. Whether you are a hunter or an angler, a birder or hiker, or simply enjoy being outside, the National Wildlife Refuge System offers an opportunity to experience nature in its purest and simplest form.

All of us can be proud of the role we play as the stewards of these special places. We are joined in that by the many volunteers and supporters of the System that help us in our mission to protect these wild places.

I hope each of you take time this week to enjoy the magnificent resources that are our National Wildlife Refuge System.

Learn more about this year’s celebration by visiting: https://www.fws.gov/refuges/visitors/RefugeWeek2017.html

Greg Sheehan is the Service's Principal Deputy Director.

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