Programs available in March at National Elk Refuge

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The Refuge is offering a variety of programs this month, ranging from a wildlife contest, short daytime walks, and an evening stroll.


March 13, 2018 (NER 18-05)

The Refuge is offering a variety of programs this month, ranging from a wildlife contest, short daytime walks, and an evening stroll. The programs are free of charge and give visitors an opportunity to learn more about one of America's premier wildlife refuges.

The brackets have been announced for this year's March Mania Wildlife Tournament, a fun wildlife popularity poll that parallels the NCAA's March Madness by using brackets and playoffs similar to those used for the Division 1 basketball tournament. Now in its fourth year, the competition encourages wildlife fans of all ages to vote for their favorite animals by casting daily ballots at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson. TheĀ Swell Sixteen single elimination tournament bracket is posted on the Refuge's web site and will be updated prior to the start of the Extraordinary Eight and Fabulous Four playoffs so on-line viewers can follow along as the competition progresses. The bracket display inside the Visitor Center will include fun facts about each animal in the tournament. The voting begins on Thursday, March 15 with the winner announced on Friday, March 30.

Later in the month, winter naturalists will lead a series of short walks in the Miller Butte area to view wildlife and birds. The walks will take participants to the Nowlin Pond area north of Miller Butte where public access is very limited. Visitors will have the unique experience to view the Refuge from a different vantage point and enjoy the waterfowl that frequents the area. The first walk is scheduled for 1:00-2:00 pm on Sunday, March 18 and will be offered again at 1:00-2:00 pm on Tuesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 22. Those interested in participating should plan to meet at the Nowlin Parking Area at the east end of Miller Butte, approximately 2.5 miles from the Refuge Road entrance at the end of East Broadway Avenue. Binoculars, a spotting scope, and guide books will be available for use.

To celebrate March's Blue Moon, or second full moon of the month, naturalists will also lead an evening walk on Saturday, March 31 from 7:00-9:00 pm. The program will focus on the importance of dark sky conservation and the effects light can have on birds and other animals. Reservations are required; instructions on where to meet will be provided during the reservation process. Participants are asked to bring a flashlight or headlamp if available and to wear waterproof, sturdy footwear. Reservations can be made by calling the Refuge naturalist office at (307) 201-5406.