National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge Week

sandhill cranes
Children cheer on the banks of the Selawik River in Alaska, waving towels bearing the Blue Goose, symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System. National Wildlife Refuge Week is October 12 – 18.
Credit: Susan Georgette/USFWS


Refuge Week Celebrations
October 12 – 18
Celebrate your wildlife heritage and National Wildlife Refuge Week. The nation’s 562 national wildlife refuges protect wildlife habitat while cleaning our air, filtering our water and pollinating our crops. They also provide world-class hunting and fishing and hiking. Check the special events calendar for Refuge Week events.

Among special events planned:


Friday, October 10
Wild Weekend
In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, IL, will offer guided canoe tours to Eagle Pond and highlight ancient cypress trees and wetland wildlife. Reservations are required: 618-634-2231.


Saturday, October 11
The Marquette, IA, unit of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge will host HawkWatch events. These include capturing and banding raptors and waterfowl, live raptor presentations and kids’ activities.


5K Run/Walk for Wildlife, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Mayville, WI
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Celebrate Refuge Week with a race on the refuge auto tour route. Register at 9 a.m. Event starts at 10 a.m. Pre-register at Family activities and Native Landscaping Day volunteer workday activities will follow the morning run/walk.  


Log Cabin Day Festival, Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, IN
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy a festival at Myers Cabin, sponsored by Muscatatuck Wildlife Society, featuring a free ham-and-bean dinner, old-time crafts, music, wildlife exhibits and children's activities. From Sunday through the following Saturday, a normally “closed” area of the refuge will be open to walk-in visitors for bird viewing.


The Big Sit! Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, MO   
Sunrise to sunset – or any time period in between. Join a team counting and reporting bird species seen or heard from a 17-foot-diameter circle.


Sunday, October 12
The Big Sit!, Scores of refuges will host this annual birding event in which teams count and report bird species seen or heard from a 17-foot-diameter circle. Refuges participating include:


Saturday, October 18
Wildlife Festival, Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Enjoy live animals, children’s crafts, tram tours, scientific demonstrations and behind-the-scenes research tours of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, located on the refuge. All activities are free except tram tours, which cost $3. See where endangered whooping cranes and sea ducks are raised and studied. National Wildlife Visitor Center


Refuge Day Event, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, CO
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Explore the “wild” side of the refuge during this free, fun‐filled day for the family. Activities include wildlife viewing tours, arts and crafts, live birds of prey, and exhibits from the Denver Zoo.


Bertrand Museum Collection Special Talks/Tours, DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, IA
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Special museum events coincide with Refuge Week, Iowa Archeology Month and International Archaeology Day. The collection consists of artifacts from the 19th-century steamship Bertrand, which sank in the Missouri River en route to the silver mines of Montana. The day’s program is one of several planned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Bertrand sinking on April 1, 1865.


Sunday, October 19 - Saturday, October 25

Ding Darling Days  – J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL
A weeklong celebration in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week features live animals, tram tours, sea life cruises, kayak tours, nature talks and more.


Saturday, October 25
River Paddle Ride, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, MO
8 a.m. to noon
Enjoy a guided paddle ride down the Mingo River. Some canoes and kayaks will be available for use. Participants are also welcome to bring their own canoe or kayak. Pre-registration is required: 573-222-3589,


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Last updated: September 30, 2014