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Participants enjoy FAVOR’s monthly Full Moon Kayak adventure, a trip that goes north into Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Mary Lou Dickson.

Go wild in the Florida Keys: Outdoor Fest offers four days of fun on four Wildlife Refuges

For anyone wanting an up-close take on the great outdoors, a celebration of the National Wildlife Refuge system in the Florida Keys is just around the subtropical bend. US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex and their Friends group FAVOR (Friends And Volunteers Of Refuges) announce their first annual Outdoor Fest—four action-packed days filled with family-friendly, mostly free outdoor adventures and hands-on activities—set for Thursday, March 17th through Sunday, March 20th.

The event location spans Key West to Key Largo in the four national wildlife refuges established in the Florida Keys – National Key Deer, Crocodile Lake, Great White Heron, and Key West National Wildlife Refuges—and features expert guided birding and nature walks, art and photography workshops, kids programs, kayak excursions, a natural history bike ride, and the 2nd Annual Run With Deer 5K on Big Pine Key.

The Outdoor Fest was created to encourage people to get outside in a wildlife-friendly manner while promoting an understanding and appreciation of the refuges—home to some of the world’s most endangered habitats, plants, and wildlife species. Eco-tourists, nature-lovers, birding enthusiasts, nature photographers, artists, runners, and outdoor adventure-inclined families will find much to explore in the four day outdoor extravaganza.

“We want to educate while having fun,” says Park Ranger Kristie Killam. “The Outdoor Fest will provide engaging activities that bring people outside into the refuges and allow us the opportunity to share the stories of these magnificent places and creatures.”

Killam is the “lone ranger” for the National Wildlife Refuges of the Florida Keys system; She and a team of refuge managers, biologists, law enforcement officers, maintenance staff, volunteers, and their friends group FAVOR help protect and conserve the natural resources in the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges (the earliest of which, Key West National Wildlife Refuge, was established over 100 years ago). Together, they hope to get locals and visitors alike to engage and pay attention “and hopefully gain new environmental stewards in the community in the process,” says Killam.

The Outdoor Fest is brought to you in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information about the refuges, FAVOR, and the list of events, visit or contact Kristie Killam at (305) 304-9625. Reserve your spot and register for one of their many events now.


Kristie Killam, USFWS 305-304-9625

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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