Refuge Notebook 05/20/2011


Summer Fun at the Kenai Refuge
by Michelle Ostrowski

The kids have a few days left of school, giant mosquitoes are already being sighted, and RVs will soon flood the Kenai Peninsula. Summer is on its way. There are so many inexpensive ways to explore nature right outside your doorstep. Despite the poor economy and government budget cuts, the Kenai Refuge will still be offering many engaging programs for kids and families, visitors and locals alike. In addition to the normal recreational opportunities on the 1.92 million acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, here is our schedule full of fun and educational summer activities geared towards all ages:

Programs at the Refuge Visitor Center in Soldotna on Ski Hill Road

Family Fun Days: Come celebrate Wildflower Fun Day (Friday, June 17), Butterfly and Moth Fun Day (Friday, July 8) and Wild Berry Fun Day (Saturday, August 27): These community special events take place at the Environmental Education Center and will be from 11am to 3pm. They will include displays, games, craft activities, theme inspired snacks, and guided ½ mile walks on the Keen-Eye trail. Pre-registration is required only for the guided walks.

Centennial Trail Fitness Hikes: Get some exercise while learning about plants and animals along the trail. Join us on this 2 mile guided hike through the Headquarters area forest and wetland habitats. These hikes occur Mondays at noon from June 13-August15. Pre-registration is requested.

Keen-Eye Trail Guided Nature Walks: Join interpretive staff on a ¼ mile walk at our Headquarters area each Tuesday at 3pm from June 14-July 26. Discover how the Refuge came to be and explore the Keen-Eye trail with interpreter Candace Ward. No pre-registration required.

Junior Explorer and Trail Explorer programs: For ages four and older starting in June. Kids use a worksheet to explore visitor center displays or use a booklet to discover along the Keen-Eye Nature Trail. Once completed, kids receive a Junior Explorer button or a Trail Explorer magnifying glass.

Films for all ages: Alaskan wildlife films are shown daily June through August on the hour from noon until 4:00 p.m. These films are a great orientation to the Refuge, its history, and the fascinating wildlife of our great state.

Programs at Hidden Lake Campground (located about an hour drive east of Soldotna on Skilak Lake Road). None of these programs require pre-registration.

Family Activity Nights: Join Refuge Park Rangers on Saturdays at 8pm from June 25-July 30 at the campground amphitheater. These 45 minute programs will involve ranger talks and hands on crafts and/or activities on a variety of topics including, bears, moose, tracks, and birds.