National Wildlife Refuge System
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Pelican Island NWR Festival
A volunteer from the Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital displays a rescued barn owl at a recent Pelican Island Festival.
Credit: Joanna Webb, USFWS

Events Calendar: Explore National Wildlife Refuges in Winter

Winter can be a magical time to visit a National Wildlife Refuge. 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 early winter 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, and a variety of migratory waterfowl. 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.

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: Contact Robin Will at 850–925–6121, or visit

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.


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