Events and Activities

PLC entrance

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge has many events and activities throughout the year. All events are free and open to the public. Some require pre-registration. Some events are held annually, as well as many seasonal activities. Find some that you are interested in and join us!

  • Saturday Nature Tots - Windy Weather, Saturday, March 7, 10:30 am - 11:30 am

    Class in Oak Savanna

    Children ages 3-5 are invited to bring their favorite adult and join us as we read stories, explore outside, make nature crafts, and much more! Children should wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Registration required. Email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Class in oak savanna by Doreen Van Ryswyk/USFWS

  • Photo Editing Program, Saturday, March 7, 1:30 pm

    Field sparrow by Thomas Dunkerton

    Join nature photographer Denise Keys for a session on photo editing. Learn how you can make a good photo great by enhancing the lighting, centering, and other tips. Participants will receive an introduction on how to use Lightroom, Photoshop, and other editing programs. Please call 515-994-3400 or email Nancy _Corona@fws.gov to register.

    Photo: Field Sparrow by Thomas Dunkerton

  • Second Saturday Stewardship, Saturday, March 14, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    winter prairie 150x118

    Join us for our monthly stewardship project to learn about tallgrass prairie reconstruction while doing a task to help bring the prairie back. This volunteer project occurs on the second Saturday of every month and projects vary by season. Families, individuals and groups are welcome. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent sign a volunteer agreement prior to volunteering. To register or for additional information, call the Refuge at 515-994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Winter sunset by Doreen Van Ryswyk/USFWS

     

  • Early Spring Migrants, Saturday, March 28, 9:00 am

    winter sunset 150x118

    Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to identify birds during the spring migration. Join one or more of the guided birding programs to have fun while learning birding watching tips. Free loaner binoculars will be available. Please call to pre-register at 515994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Sunrise on the refuge by Doreen VanRyswyk/USFWS

  • Volunteer Open House, Saturday, March 28, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

    Volunteers with seeds

    Do you enjoy spending time in nature and enjoy meeting new people? Have you thought about volunteering but not sure if it can fit into your schedule? Join the Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and refuge staff to find out about the variety of volunteer opportunities. Snacks will be served. For additional information and to pre-register contact Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Volunteers with seed by USFWS

  • Saturday Nature Tots - Prairie Explorers, Saturday, April 4, 10:30 am - 11:30 am

    Nature Tots

    Children ages 3-5 are invited to bring their favorite adult and join us as we read stories, explore outside, make nature crafts, and much more! Children should wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Registration required. Email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Ranger and young naturalists by USFWS

  • Second Saturday Stewardship, Saturday, April 11, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Greenhouse seedlings

    Join us for our monthly stewardship project to learn about tallgrass prairie reconstruction while doing a task to help bring the prairie back. This volunteer project occurs on the second Saturday of every month and projects vary by season. Families, individuals and groups are welcome. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent sign a volunteer agreement prior to volunteering. To register or for additional information, call the Refuge at 515-994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Greenhouse seedlings by USFWS

     

  • Bison on the Prairie, Saturday, April 11, 1:30 pm

    bison by Greg Punelli

    Participate in a short presentation on the history and management of the American Bison. Then take a guided walk along the ½- mile Overlook Trail loop to look for the bison and elk herds while enjoying the spring landscape. The Overlook Trail is wheelchair accessible. Please call to pre-register at 515-994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov 

    Photo: Bison by Greg Punelli

  • Earth Day, Saturday, April 18, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm

    Earth Day 2017

    In honor of Earth Day, volunteers are invited to help restore the prairie and oak savanna ecosystems. Families, individuals, and groups are welcome to participate. A FREE lunch will be provided by the Friends of Neal Smith NWR for volunteers that pre-registration. Deadline for pre-registration is April 15. To pre-register, email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Earth in hand by Public Domain

  • Basic Birding, Sunday, April 19, 10:00 am

    winter cardinal 150x118

    Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to identify birds during the spring migration. Join one or more of the guided birding programs to have fun while learning birding watching tips. Free loaner binoculars will be available. Please call to pre-register at 515994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Cardinal in the tallgrass by Doreen Van Ryswyk/USFWS

  • Photo Hike - Spring Wildflowers of the Oak Savanna, Saturday, April 25, 1:00 pm

    Dutchman's Breeches

    Do not miss the opportunity to view the short-lived (ephemeral) wildflowers of early spring that inhabit the Oak Savanna Trail. Join this guided photo hike to enjoy the changes in the weather, plant life and wildlife. The Oak Savanna Trail is a hilly half-mile gravel loop trail. For information and to register, please email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or by calling 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Dutchman's Breeches by Doreen Van Ryswyk/USFWS

  • Saturday Nature Tots - Signs of Spring, Saturday, May 2, 10:30 am - 11:30 am

    Nature Tots Worm Hunt

    Children ages 3-5 are invited to bring their favorite adult and join us as we read stories, explore outside, make nature crafts, and much more! Children should wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Registration required. Email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Young naturalists in spring by USFWS

  • Second Saturday Stewardship, Saturday, May 9, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Greenhouse seedlings

    Join us for our monthly stewardship project to learn about tallgrass prairie reconstruction while doing a task to help bring the prairie back. This volunteer project occurs on the second Saturday of every month and projects vary by season. Families, individuals and groups are welcome. Children under the age of 18 must have a parent sign a volunteer agreement prior to volunteering. To register or for additional information, call the Refuge at 515-994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Greenhouse seedlings by USFWS

     

  • Volunteer Orientation, Saturday, May 16, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm

    Summer Calf on Tallgrass prairie

    Join the Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and refuge staff for a more in-depth program about the National Wildlife Refuge System, the Refuge, and the variety of volunteer opportunities. A light lunch will be served. For additional information and to pre-register, please contact Nancy_Corona@fws.gov or call 515-994-3400.

    Photo: Bison calf by Kristie Burns

  • Prairie Wildflower Walk, Saturday, May 16, 1:30 pm

    Bee on wild white indigo

    Join a naturalist for a walk around the butterfly garden and the 1/2 mile Overlook Trail loop to view and learn about the tallgrass prairie and spring wildflowers. The trail is wheel chair accessible. Please call to pre-register at 515/994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Bee on white wild indigo by USFWS

  • Songbird Migration, Saturday, May 23, 9:00 am

    Dickcissel

    Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to identify birds during the spring migration. Join one or more of the guided birding programs to have fun while learning birding watching tips. Free loaner binoculars will be available. Please call to pre-register at 515994-3400 or email Nancy_Corona@fws.gov

    Photo: Dickcissel by USFWS