National Wildlife Refuge System
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Events Calendar: Countdown to Winter on National Wildlife Refuges

Now is the time to visit a National Wildlife Refuge and see nature's preparations for the coming season of cold and snow. 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 late fall events:

Hear a Talk on "Duck Butts"

Sunday, November 15 — Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Hear a one hour presentation on the identification of ducks that feed in the refuge ponds.

For more information: or 505-425-3581 ext. 205.

Attend a Premier Birding Festival
November 17-22 — Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Take part in the 22nd annual Festival of the Cranes a celebration in honor of the arrival of the cranes. Over 100 lectures, workshops, tours, hikes and hands-on activities are planned. Learn about the behavior of sandhill cranes and raptors, take a houseboat birding tour and see exhibits on a variety of wildlife related topics, with the emphasis on birds plus, much more.

For more information: or or 575-835-2077.

Enjoy a Sugar Cane Grinding and Syrup Boil

Saturday, November 21 — Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia
Visit the Chesser Island Homestead and take part in a traditional sugar cane boil. Cut your own sugar cane from the garden, grind it using a traditional mule-operated grinder and sample the sweet cane juice. Watch as staff and volunteers boil down a vat of sugar cane juice and produce authentic pure cane syrup.

For more information: or 912-496-7836.

Enjoy an Annual Art Fair

November 21-22, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. — DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Iowa
Take in the Art of the Wild Show & Sale, an annual event featuring artwork, photography, carvings and more from local artists.

For more information: or 712-642-2772.

Make Like a Duck

Friday, November 27 — White River National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas
Compete in a World Championship Duck-Calling Competition, a ritual part of the annual Wings Over the Prairie Festival.

For more information: or Matt Conner at 870-282-8249.

Hear about the Birding Trip of a Lifetime

Sunday, November 22 — Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Hear a one hour illustrated talk featuring a local family’s adventures on a birding trip that spanned North America.

For more information: or 505-425-3581 ext. 205.

Celebrate the Holidays on Chesser Island

Saturday, December 12 — Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia
Celebrate the holiday season at the Chesser Island Homestead with a hayride, caroling and live music. Discover the region’s traditions as you tour a swamp homestead decorated with traditional homemade decorations. Stay warm by the bonfire while enjoying homemade cookies and cider.

For more information: or at 912-496-7836.

Take Part in an Eagle Watch

January 8-9, 2010; January 15-16, 2010 — Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
Join visitors for the Annual Eagle Watch. Learn about eagles, then caravan to an "eagle hotspot" to see eagles fly in to roost for the evening. Reservations are required. Wear warm-neutral colored clothing. Bring a thermos or hot mug. Hot chocolate will be provided.

For more information: Contact Becky Wolff at or 580-626-4794 ext. 3 or visit

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 or 850-925-6121 or visit

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