National Wildlife Refuge System
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San Francisco Bay Refuge
Cyclists pedal some of the more than 30 miles of trails at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has more land below water than above it
Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS

More Outdoor Events Celebrating Winter in the National Wildlife Refuge System

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour's drive of most major cities. Here is a sampling of February and March refuge events:

Take a Free Eagle Tour
Each Friday through February — Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, Tennessee.
Join free public tours 8:00 a.m.—12:00 (noon) along Grassy Island Wildlife Drive where you can observe eagles, owls, hawks, a variety of migratory waterfowl and other mammals. Tours last about two hours. Dress warmly. Don't forget to stop by the visitor center, which has exhibits on birds and wildlife, and is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.

For more information: or 731-538-2481.

See a wildlife photography exhibit
Through the end of February — J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.
See “Life on the Refuge,” a new exhibit of wildlife photos by award–winning photographer and Sanibel resident Theresa (Terry) Baldwin at the Refuge Education Center. Baldwin will present a program on nature photography every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. through March.

For more information: or 239–472–1100

Enjoy a Wildlife Heritage Festival
Saturday, February 6 — St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
The 4th Annual Wildlife Heritage and Outdoors Festival aims to connect people to the outdoors through recreation and history. The event features more than 30 exhibitors and demonstrations, plus tours and talks. Children's activities include wagon tours, a historic lighthouse tour, a turkey calling contest and much more.

For more information: Robin Will at or 850–925–6121 or visit

Take the family to Winterfest
Saturday, February 6 — Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota
Join in outdoor activities that focus on how wildlife and people deal with the winter snow and cold. Try snowshoes for free. Other activities include a horse–drawn hay ride, a bonfire, a study of animal tracks, winter bird feeding, winter survival and a live owl program.

For more information: or 763–389–3323 ext. 13.

Go on a Refuge Eagle Outing
Friday, February 12–14 — south central Oregon and northern California
Take part in eagle–watching tours at three National Wildlife Refuges: Bear Valley Refuge, Tule Lake Refuge and Lower Klamath Refuge. These sites will be among the highlights of the 2010 Winter Wings Festival. The three refuges are part of the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which hosts the largest winter concentration of eagles in the lower 48 states.

Learn more about the festival at:
For more information on the refuges, visit:

Enjoy Ice Fishing Day
Saturday, February 20 — Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Minnesota  
What better way for kids to spend the Minnesota winter than learning how to go outside and enjoy?  The event is geared to ages 6–12. Pre–registration required. The event is from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

For more information: or 507–452 4232.

Go on a family bird walk
Saturday, February 27 — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California
Make nature learning a family experience. Help children find the birds whose pictures they've put in their own bird guides. The event runs from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

For more information: or 510–745–8695.

Take a duck walk
Sunday, February 28 — Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California
Learn to identify some of the thousands of ducks that winter in the San Francisco Bay. Then apply your new skills on the trail. The event starts at 10:00 a.m.

For more information: or 510–745–8695.

Feel a buzz
Sunday, February 28 — Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Hear a one–hour illustrated talk on caring for bees in Las Vegas. Seating is on a first come first served basis for 40 people at the headquarters. After the talk, explore the refuge. The event starts at 1:00 p.m.

For more information: or 505–425–3581.

See Nature's Beauty
March 6–7 — Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California
Take part in the 8th Annual Fly–Off and Family Fun Day and view thousands of Aleutian cackling geese during the morning fly–off. The refuge is a migratory stopover for more than 50,000 geese in search of nighttime roosting and morning foraging areas. The refuge will open at 6:00 a.m. both mornings, so visitors can be in prime viewing position. Afterwards, families can enjoy the Children's Outdoor Exploration Area, take part in "Quest," place–based treasure hunts and build birdhouses. Family events will run until 2:00 p.m. both days.

For more information: or 707–733–5406.

Attend a Wildlife Festival
Saturday, March 13 — Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Enjoy the 18th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival, one of Florida's most popular wildlife events. Its purpose is to help citizens to better understand nature through environmental education and recreation. Upwards of 8,000 people come out for interpretive programs featuring live birds of prey and reptiles, pontoon boat and kayak tours to Pelican Island, live music, environmental exhibitors and children's activities.

For more information: Contact Joanna Webb at or 772–562–3909 ext. 258 or visit

Try Geocaching
Saturday, March 27 — Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Illinois
What's geocaching, you ask? Come find out and cure your cabin fever with an outdoor adventure and treasure hunt, starting from the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center. All ages and skill levels welcome. Bring your own GPS unit or borrow one from the refuge. Both morning and afternoon sessions are available with a reservation. Learn more about geocaching at and type in the GC Code: GC22FNG.

For more information on making a reservation: Contact Pam Steinhaus at 815–273–2732 ext.16 or


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