National Wildlife Refuge Week

Rediscover your nature at a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
. National Wildlife Refuge Week, observed the second full week of October each year, celebrates the great network of lands and waters that conserves and protects Americans’ precious wildlife heritage. In 2024, National Wildlife Refuge Week occurs October 13-19. The week-long celebration kicks off Saturday, October 12, on Urban Wildlife Conservation Day.

Visitors hike with a ranger at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provides vital habitat for thousands of native species, including sandhill cranes, American alligators, bison and sea turtles.

National wildlife refuges offer outstanding recreation, too. Refuge Week is a perfect time to see why tens of millions of Americans visit refuges each year to enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.

Wildlife refuges also add to Americans’ comfort and safety by curbing flood risk and wildfire damage, providing cleaner air and water, and supporting local communities.

Wading birds at sunset at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

In carrying out the Refuge System’s wildlife conservation mission, under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, wildlife refuges pump $3.2 billion per year into regional economies and support more than 41,000 jobs.

The Refuge System includes 570 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts covering 95 million acres of land. Check your nearest wildlife refuge for events as the week draws closer.

Story Tags

Connecting people with nature
Education outreach
Wildlife refuges
Wildlife viewing