National Wildlife Refuge System Trivia Quiz

The National Wildlife Refuge System celebrates 115 years on March 14. In 1903, Pelican Island in Florida was the first federal land set aside to protect non-marketable wildlife, the brown pelican. Since then, the refuge system has morphed from three-acre Pelican Island to 566 national wildlife refuges, 38 wetland management districts, and three national monument areas encompassing more than 800 million acres of land and waters. The system is home to more than 8,000 species of wildlife.

How well do you know your national wildlife refuges? In honor of the refuge system’s 115 years, take this challenging quiz to see how you fare. You might learn something new, or get inspiration for your next vacation!

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1. On what refuge can you see red-footed boobies and red-tailed tropicbirds while taking a tour at a historic lighthouse?

2. Several national wildlife refuges are instrumental in helping to maintain healthy food chains and food webs. Name one refuge where an estimated 90 percent of the commercial oysters in NY originate from and from its associated areas.

3. This refuge is home to America’s largest wintering colony of gray bats with 1.3 million gray bats surveyed in 2017. Hint: It’s in Alabama.

4. Four refuges are named after women. Can you name them?

5. Which Alaska national wildlife refuge (NWR) has sand dunes?

6. Which NWR was the first refuge established to protect an endangered insect and endangered plants?

7. What state is Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge in?

8. While the Jackson elk herd is certainly the main focus of the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, there are several other charismatic wildlife that uses the refuge, including this predator that was once exterminated from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. What is the predator?
a. Grizzly Bear
b. Gray Wolf
c. Coyote

9. Jacob M. Valentine, Jr.’s dedication and courageous efforts are the reasons why this refuge in Mississippi, named after a highly endangered bird, became established. What is the refuge?

10. Timberdoodle, mudsucker, and mud bat are local names for what bird that is studied and managed intensively at Moosehorn NWR?

11. Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada was established mainly to protect what fastest land animal of North America?

12. This refuge in Arizona focuses its management on protecting the endangered Sonoran pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and the endangered lesser long-nosed bat. Name it.

13. A children’s story about a pony named Misty and an annual pony swim attracts tens of thousands of visitors to which refuge?

14. Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin NWR in South Carolina protects one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems remaining on the Atlantic Coast. What does the acronym ACE stand for?

15. On what island refuge does the brown tree snake, an introduced species, wreak havoc on native bird species?

16. Many visitors travel to Little Pend Oreille NWR in Oregon in hopes to see what secretive bird?

17. Which NWR is the only refuge created specifically for the protection of the Florida manatee?

18. Which refuge is New Hampshire’s first NWR and is a popular migration area for hawks?   

19. We love Friends! This National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area was established when the Friends group of the same name donated 66 acres to the FWS to establish a refuge. What is the name of the refuge?
a. Kankakee
b. Kirwin
c. Agassiz

20. Wetland Management Districts are also part of the national wildlife refuge system. Many are located in the “Prairie Pothole” region and were established to protect and restore breeding habitat for what type of bird?

21. Which refuge in boasts the largest staging area for northern pintails in the state of Arkansas, with the potential to see 200,000 individuals in one day?

22. Which refuge nowhere near the ocean features a natural inland salt marsh? Hint: It’s in Kansas.

23. Which NWR in Washington sits in an area where more than half the mallards in the Pacific Flyway overwinter?

24. Which refuge is named after an endangered ground-dwelling grouse?

25. Which refuge is the first national wildlife refuge in the state of Nebraska, and named after the couple who donated the land to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service?

26. This refuge is the second oldest NWR in the NWR System after Pelican Island in Florida. It is the only national wildlife refuge President Theodore Roosevelt ever visited. Name the refuge.

27. Which refuge name means “land that trembles when you walk on it” and consists of a swamp that is believed to be 6,000 to 8,000 years old?
a. Chassahowitzka NWR, Florida
b. Okefenoke NWR, Georgia
c. D’Arbonne NWR, Louisiana

28. Which refuge established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt was created to support wildlife research?

29. This refuge in Tennessee derives its name from the Native Americans who historically occupied the area, and protects the largest tract of bottomland hardwood forest in the state.

30. Basket Slough NWR in Oregon is home to the largest known population of what endangered butterfly that was thought to be extinct in the 1940s, but rediscovered in the 1980s?

31. Which refuge hosts the largest colony of white-faced ibis in North America?

32. Which refuge name is derived from Native American words “weets” and “ee-taw” that mean “man” and “of the north,” respectively?

33. Forty-seven species of native freshwater mussels, essential to the health of river ecosystems, live within what refuge’s waters, including eight endangered mussel species?

34. Which refuge in North Carolina was the initial site where the highly endangered red wolf was reintroduced into the wild?

35. Which refuge in Rhode Island was created to protect the largest wintering population of American black ducks in the state?

36. Which NWR boasts the largest wintering population of canvasbacks on the west coast in the lower 48 states?

37. Which refuge has been referred to as “the Everglades of the North,” contains 1/3 of the state’s tidal wetlands, and home to the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida?

38. Which refuge is made up of eight small islands and was established particularly for the herring gull whose numbers had been drastically reduced by plume hunters and egg collectors at the turn of the 20th century?
a. Fisherman Island NWR, Virginia
b. Farallon Islands NWR, California
c. Huron NWR, Michigan 

39. Which refuge also serves as an important cultural site for researchers to study past climate and environments, hunting technology, and “overwintering” behavior of prehistoric people from the Folsom period (10,800-10,200 years ago)?

40. Which Alaska wildlife refuge has nearly 25,000 people living within its borders?

41. At least 25 species of dragonflies are found at which refuge?
a. Arapaho NWR, Colorado
b. Marais des Cygnes NWR, Kansas
c. Havasu NWR, Arizona/California

42. It was local sportsmen who pushed for the establishment of this refuge to protect the breeding ground of birds in Montana. It was created by an Executive Order by President Herbert Hoover in 1929. Name the refuge.

43. All the whooping cranes alive today are descendants of the 15 last remaining cranes that were found wintering at what national wildlife refuge in 1941?

44. Which refuge hosts the largest nesting population of sandhill cranes in the world?

45. The endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail, a glacial relict species, has been found at 30 sites including at which national wildlife refuge?

46. Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge is named after the endangered watercress darter it protects. What is a watercress darter?
a. Fish
b. Insect
c. Bird

47. The native but rare prickly pear cactus can be found in several units of this northeastern refuge. Name the refuge.

48. Which refuge is the largest land NWR in the Caribbean, and considered one of the most ecologically diverse?

49. This refuge was previously named Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge. It was later changed to this name in 1967 in honor of the man who urged President Harry S. Truman to create the refuge, who initiated the Federal Duck Stamp Program, and who designed the Blue Goose logo that represents the National Wildlife Refuge System. What is the name?

50. Which state has the fewest number of national wildlife refuges, wetland management districts, wildlife production areas, and wildlife management areas (all part of the NWR System)?

51. Which state has the most number of national wildlife refuges, wetland management districts, wildlife production areas, and wildlife management areas (all part of the NWR System)?

52. Which refuge is one of the largest NWRs in Mississippi and represents some of the best remaining examples of the historically predominant habitat types that once characterized the entire Mississippi floodplain?

53. Which three refuges in California were established mainly to protect essential habitat for the endangered California Condor?

54. Which NWR in the lower 48 states is the 2nd largest NWR outside of Alaska at 1.6 million acres?

55. Which remote refuge in Montana has often been called the most beautiful national wildlife refuge in the United States?

56. What NWR has the most reported species of birds?
a. Shell Keys NWR, Louisiana
b. Big Lake NWR, Arkansas
c. Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas

57. This refuge’s name is from the butchered form of the Lakota word “wa-ma” or “wa-be”, which means where wildlife builds their nests. What is the name? Hint: It’s in South Dakota.

58. Which refuge in Wisconsin was created to restore the coaster brook trout population by protecting its spawning habitat?

59. More than 90% of this refuge can become flooded during seasonal high river periods, creating numerous sloughs, bayous and lakes. Name it.

60. On what refuge can you see nine species of carnivorous plants, including pitcher plants, sundews, and butterworts?

61. Which fish and wildlife refuge encompasses an entire watershed located within four New England States: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut?

62. Which refuge protects the largest population of western Massasauga rattlesnake, a state-designated endangered species?
a. Mingo NWR, Missouri
b. Loess Bluffs NWR, Missouri
c. Pilot Knob NWR, Missouri

63. Wildlife photographers William L. Finley and Herman T. Bohlman spearheaded the establishment of what refuge when they discovered most of the egrets had been killed by plume hunters?
a. Ouray NWR, Utah
b. Two Ponds NWR, Colorado
c. Malheur NWR, Oregon

64. Name the refuge that got its name from a town that is now submerged by a lake.
a. Lake Ison NWR, Tennessee
b. Hagerman NWR, Texas
c. Sherburne NWR, Minnesota

65. The name of this refuge in Wyoming originated from a Shoshone word that means “river of the prairie hen,” the hen being the greater sage-grouse. Name the refuge.

66. Which refuge is 227 feet below sea level and named after a Congressman who had gained fame first as a singer? 

67. Visitors come far and wide to what refuge to witness the largest wintering populations of Ross’s geese along the Pacific Flyway in the fall?

68. Where can you see the largest tree east of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range standing at 96 feet tall with circumference of 56 feet and estimated to be about 1,500 years old?

69. White gourds hanging from tall poles along the Columbia River on Steigerwald Lake NWR are used as nesting sites for what large swallow?

70. Several refuges provide habitat for sea turtles but this refuge contains habitat that is considered to be the most productive sea turtle nesting area in the Southeastern United States. Which refuge is it?

71. Which refuge in the east is the only refuge in the nation protecting endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels?

72. Which refuge supports the largest wintering population of bald eagles in New Hampshire?

73. Which national wildlife refuge was the nation’s first waterfowl refuge?
a. Lower Klamath NWR, Oregon/California
b. Leopold Wetland Management District, Wisconsin
c. Wallkill River NWR, New Jersey/New York

74. Which Alaska wildlife refuge has the MOST breeding waterfowl?

75. Which refuge was once the site for a chemical weapon manufacturing facility but now a sanctuary for 330 species of animals including bison, black-footed ferrets, bald eagles and burrowing owls?

76. Which refuge in Indiana hosts one of the world’s largest populations of Henslows’ sparrows at 400 pairs?

77. Which refuge is home to the only population of native black bear in the State of Arkansas?

78. On what island refuge can you see a crematorium from the 1800s that may or may not have been used when the island served as a yellow fever quarantine station?

79. Which refuge includes the Delaware Bay shoreline, which is a major shorebird staging area in North America second only to the Copper River Delta in Alaska?

80. To recover tule elk populations in California, 18 elk were established on this refuge in 1974. The herd thrived enough where individuals were relocated to join other herds or establish new herds. What is the refuge?

81. Many of Hawaii’s NWRs are closed to the public to protect critically endangered species. But, you can view endangered Hawaiian stilt and Hawaiian coot on this refuge that is open to the public. Name the refuge.

82. Which refuge in New York has the largest wintering population of short-eared owls?

83. Four different kinds of biomes intersect this refuge: Colorado Plateau Shrub Stepp, Great Plains Short Grass Prairie, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Pinyon-Juniper Woodland. Name the refuge.

84. The largest population of nesting canvasback ducks west of the Mississippi River and outside Alaska are on which NWR?

85. This refuge in Minnesota is named after a lake that produces a natural grain that is important food source for waterfowl and the Native Americans who lived there. Name the refuge.

86. Which refuge, named “safe harbor” in French, protects the last remaining undisturbed beach mouse habitat found in Alabama, and provide nesting sites for loggerhead, green, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles?

87. Which refuge in Ohio is home to the largest great blue heron and great egret rookery in the U.S. Great Lakes?

88. This island, now a national wildlife refuge, was once owned by Thomas Dixon, author of The Klansman and Birth of a Nation, and Joseph P. Knapp, founder of More Game Birds in America which is now known as Ducks Unlimited. Name this island refuge.

89. If seeing different species of warblers is high on your list, you have a great chance to see all 24 species that visit Maine at which national wildlife refuge?

90. Though this refuge protects several threatened and endangered species, it was established primarily to bring back the masked bobwhite quail. Name the refuge.

91. Which refuge in Montana is named after an artist who often depicts the refuge’s landscape in his paintings? The refuge also has a rich history which spans from the times of dinosaurs, Native Americans, explorers, and outlaws.

92. Which refuge supports the second largest nesting colony of common terns on the Atlantic seaboard with over 8,000 nesting pairs, and also protects habitats for spawning horseshoe crabs?

93. Most of Oregon’s 1.2 million nesting seabirds come to this refuge to raise their young. Name the refuge.

94. Which refuge’s purpose is to protect the most significant nesting area in the world for loggerhead sea turtle, and the most significant area for green turtle nesting in North America?

95. Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho was founded in 1909. When did the first Refuge Manager arrive?
a. 1910
b. 1923
c. 1937

96. The Red-cockaded woodpecker once faced a high risk of extinction, but due to special protections provided by this refuge, the woodpecker has flourished. Name the refuge.

97. What refuge name means “swamp on a hill” in Algonquian, a Native American language?

98. This refuge is a common stopover site for numerous young, inexperienced songbird species that “overfly” the mainland before continuing their migration. It is also home to the only known natural American burying beetle population, an endangered species, east of the Mississippi River. What is this refuge?

99. In addition to viewing millions monarch butterflies and thousands of raptors in the fall, on which refuge can you see a WWII gun barrel that was also used in the Korean War?

100. Land in the west was set aside by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to help protect a species whose population had dropped from 30-60 million animals to just 100 in the wild in the late 1800s. What is the animal and what is this unit of the NWR system called?