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Information iconJ.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL. (Photo: George Gentry/USFWS)

October 13-19, 2019

Rediscover your nature at a national wildlife refuge. National Wildlife Refuge Week, observed the second full week of October each year, celebrates the great network of lands and waters that conserves and protects Americans’ precious wildlife heritage.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides vital habitat for thousands of native species, including sandhill cranes, American alligators, bison and sea turtles. National wildlife refuges offer outstanding recreation, too. Refuge Week is a perfect time to see why tens of millions of Americans visit refuges each year to enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.

Wildlife refuges also add to Americans’ comfort and safety by curbing flood risk and wildfire damage, providing cleaner air and water, and supporting local communities. (Story: “11 Ways Wildlife Refuges Make Life Better.”) In carrying out the Refuge System’s wildlife conservation mission, under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, wildlife refuges pump $3.2 billion per year into regional economies and support more than 41,000 jobs.

The Refuge System includes 567 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts covering 95 million acres of land. Below are some events for Refuge Week 2019. Check your nearest wildlife refuge for events as the week draws closer.


Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO. (Photo: Ian Shive/USFWS)

Refuge Week Events

October 5
BirdFest and Bluegrass CelebrationRidgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Ridgefield, WA. The refuge’s biggest annual event celebrates return of the sandhill cranes to the refuge with workshops, nature walks, bluegrass music, a live bird show and many other events.

October 12 
Celebration 5K Run/WalkHoricon National Wildlife Refuge, Mayville, WI
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Celebrate Refuge Week with a race on the auto tour route. Register at 9 a.m. Event starts at 10 a.m. Pre-register here. Fun activities will follow the morning run/walk.

October 12   
Log Cabin Day, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, southern Indiana
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Enjoy a festival at Myers Cabin, sponsored by Muscatatuck Wildlife Society, featuring old-time crafts, music, wildlife exhibits and children's activities. For the week of October 13-19, a normally closed area of the refuge will be open to birders and walk-in visitors.

October 19
Refuge Round Up!, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Marble Falls, TX
Noon to 4 p.m.
Enjoy your pick of dozens of hands-on activities such as hiking, fishing and archery.

October 20
“Ding” Darling Day, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, southwest Florida.
This popular festival includes tours, hikes, live wildlife presentations, birding, boating, paddle-boarding and kayaking.

October 20
Junior Refuge Ranger Day, Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Las Vegas, NV
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free family-friendly hands-on activities including fossil discovery and live animal encounters. No RSVP needed. Corn Creek Visitor Center

This is a partial list of Refuge Week events. Check your local national wildlife refuge to see if it has a special event planned.

Information iconBosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM. (Photo: Marvin De Jong)