Refuge Events

Children at a fishing event on the refuge - Matt Poole/USFWS

January, 2019

All refuge programs are FREE, but space may be limited. Preregistration is required for all programs, unless otherwise indicated. Please call (978) 465-5753. Please Note: If a program requires preregistration, your registration is not confirmed unless and until you receive a phone call or voice mail message from a member of the refuge staff.
Programs conducted in the auditorium are limited to 85 attendees. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission of additional attendees will stop when capacity has been reached.
Please note that outdoor programs may be cancelled if there is inclement weather and/or insufficient registration. Visit us on the web for more information call Refuge Headquarters. The refuge visitor center is located at 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA.

**Behind the Scenes Refuge Tour of Parker River Wildlife Refuge 

Held on the following days:

  • Saturday, January 12th @ 9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, January 18th @ 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 19th @ 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, January 26th @ 9:30 a.m.
  •  Monday, January 28th @ 9:30 a.m.
Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Tour will be conducted via refuge van, with several brief “drive by” stops along the way. The tour will present an “up close and personal” look at the refuge through the multiple lenses of the cultural history of Plum Island and the Great Marsh, native wildlife and their habitats, and the role of refuge management in the conservation of these precious natural resources. Participants may be driven along areas on the refuge otherwise closed to the public. This guided two hour program is most appropriate for older teens and adults. Binoculars and/or a camera are recommended, but not required. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the Refuge visitor center 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Each session is limited to 14 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. Again, this is a vehicle – based tour, with limited stops on the Refuge. Advance registration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. 


*Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation call from a refuge staff member. Please call (978) 465-5753; to register for this program. 

**When snow and ice prevents access to the regular “behind the scenes” segments of the tour, the tour leader will, instead, include a loop to the northern end of Plum Island.

NEW!Life Between the Tides
Tuesday, January 22nd, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Critters that live in tide pools have developed adaptations that allow them to survive alternating periods spent above and below the water line. Talk about stressful! Participants in this fun and hands-on program will explore the lives of these fascinating critters in this most dynamic of coastal habitats. They will also make, and take home, a “tide pool critter mobile!” This program, which will take place in the
refuge visitor center classroom, is most suitable for three to six year-olds. Parents and/or care-givers must remain with their children. Enrollment is limited to 10 participants. Preregistration is required.

The Friends of Parker River Annual Meeting
Saturday, January 26th, 10:00 a.m. - noon
The public is welcome to attend the Friends’ annual meeting, which will take place at the refuge visitor center in Newburyport. During the meeting – which is expected to be attended by a number of elected officials – the Friends will present refuge officials with a check that represents the fruit of their ongoing and very successful effort to raise funds to help support replacement of the popular Hellcat Trail boardwalk system. Refuge manager Bill Peterson will provide an update of things that will be happening
in 2019. Finally, the Friends board will elect new officers and invite general Friends members to consider serving on a number of important committees.

NEW! Becoming a “Wildlife Detective!”
Thursday, January 24th; both sessions 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Even in the middle of winter, nature is a very busy “place!” Though you may not see them, there are an amazing variety of critters going about their business, outdoors, all winter long. What you can see are the tracks and other sign that they leave behind. Participants in this program will become “wildlife detectives” and will look for clues that paint a picture of “who was here” and “what they were doing.” They will also create, and take home, some unique wildlife art! This program will take place in the refuge classroom and is most appropriate for three to seven year-olds. Parents and/or care-givers must remain with their children. Enrollment is limited to 10. Preregistration is required.

These Visitor Center Exhibits Change Monthly

Artist of the Month Gallery: Each month a different photographer or artist displays their nature and/or wildlife-related fine art in the refuge visitor center auditorium. Photographic Society Slide Show: Just inside the visitor center’s front door is a large video monitor that displays the latest nature and wildlife-themed slide show that was produced by members of the refuge’s very own photo club. A new slide show, set to music, and focusing on a unique theme, is produced each month.