National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge Week

A child zooms in on a nature shot at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Refuges around the country will host celebrations and connect-with-nature events for kids and families in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week during the week of October 10 through 16.

Credit: Tom Darragh

Many refuges will host special Refuge Week events during the week of October 9 through 15 to celebrate America’s majestic wildlife heritage. Since Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903, the Refuge System has become the world’s premier habitat conservation system, encompassing 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. See what’s planned at a refuge near you by using the refuge finder tool or checking event calendar listings.

Among refuges planning Refuge Week events on Saturday, October 8:

  • Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, TX
    8:30 4 p.m.
    Live animals, nature walks, demonstrations, butterfly tent at Doeskin Ranch on RR 1174.  Catch and tag Monarch butterflies. Learn about Balcones Canyonlands Refuge.

  • Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, GA
    11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Okefenokee Festival and historic Chesser Island Homestead Open House. Learn how settlers made soap and brooms, smoked meat, and survived in and around the swamp. Sample boiled peanuts, soup and biscuits cooked on a wood-burning stove. Enjoy bluegrass music and stories, and join in wheelbarrow races. Learn about Okefenokee Refuge.

  • Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, WA
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Open House. Explore bird walks and refuge tours at the base of Mt. Adams. Admire sandhill cranes and look for Oregon spotted frogs in water inlets. Learn about Conboy Lake Refuge.

  • Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, IA
    9 a.m. to noon
    Join in a day of volunteer work on the tallgrass prairie. Activities may include cleaning and collecting seed, removing invasive plants and picking up litter. A lunch will be served. Learn about Neal Smith Refuge.

  • Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, WI
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Join a morning 5K Run/Walk on the auto tour route. Then enjoy a Refuge Week Celebration, with activities, programs, nature crafts and more.  Learn about Horicon Refuge.

Among refuges planning Refuge Week events on Sunday, October 9:

  • Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, TX
    7 a.m. until dark
    Take part in a “Big Sit” * bird count. Spent some time in a 17-foot diameter circle at the Champion Lake pier and identify all the birds you see or hear.  Learn about Trinity River Refuge.

  • Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
    All day and the rest of the week  
    Attend a “Big Sit” * bird count on Sunday and a Log Cabin Day celebration on Saturday, October 15, featuring a free ham-and-bean dinner, old-time crafts, music, wildlife displays and children's activities. Learn about Muscatatuck Refuge.

* Look for many more “Big Sit” refuge events to be announced as Refuge Week draws closer. Find out more about “The Big Sit” events, hosted by Bird Watcher’s Digest, at this site.

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