Celebrate Fall at a National Wildlife Refuge Near You

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Celebrate Fall at a National Wildlife Refuge Near You Whether it’s watching butterflies, taking a guided birding tour or learning about cultural resources, this year celebrate fall with the diversity of the National Wildlife Refuge System. And it’s a great opportunity to find a family event in your community. 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 refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
Here is a sampling of early fall events:
Go on a butterfly hunt
Saturday, September 12, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Take part in the annual Monarch Madness! Staff and volunteers will catch, tag and release as many monarch butterflies as possible.
For more information: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/nealsmith or 515-994-3400.
Go multicultural
Saturday, September 26, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
Take in a multicultural celebration of the history, economy and environment of the Nisqually River Watershed at the annual Nisqually Watershed Festival. Highlights include tribal drumming and dancing, bagpipers and live animal shows. Kids can take part in critter parades, make salmon art, step inside a 30-foot mock salmon and see the world from the perspective of a salmon, and peer at Sound creatures inside a live touch tank. Other events include guided walks and tours and the famous Nisqually Salmon Bake.
For more information: http://www.fws.gov/nisqually or 360-753-9467.
Flock to a Birding Festival
September 23-27 – National Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Celebrate the 11th Annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival with a multitude of activities for all. Take a wildlife photography trip at Crane Point Hammock with featured wildlife photographers Dick Fortune and Sarah Lopez. Then, enjoy a multimedia program on native plants. Participate in a guided birding trip of the Dry Tortugas, part of the refuge. Enjoy an environmental fair with activities for the family at Curry Hammock State Park.
For a complete list of events, visit: http://www.keysbirdingfest.org.
For more information on the refuge: http://www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer or 305-872-2239.
Collect Seeds for National Public Lands Day
Saturday, September 26, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Help collect prairie seeds and participate in one of the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer efforts to improve and enhance public lands.
For more information: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/desoto or 712-642-2772.
Create a Bird Carving from Basswood
Saturday, September 26, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m – Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.
Join artist and master carver Bill Strickler for a lecture-demonstration of his work. Strickler’s detailed wood carvings of many bird species are noted for their attention to detail and realistic settings. The artist will illustrate the steps, beginning with templates and making a pattern to create a finished work using a high-speed wood carving tool. The program is limited to 24 participants. Reservations are required.
For more information: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/newmex/bosque or 575-835-1828.
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week
October 12-18
From the end of September through the month of October, many National Wildlife Refuges throughout the country offer events, talks and celebrations to mark National Wildlife Refuge Week. Among some of the events planned:

  • Saturday, September 26 – Fall Festival, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota. Enjoy educational programs and family activities. Photo contest winners will be displayed. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/tamarac or 218-847-2641.
  • Friday, October 2 – Islands & Rivers of Life: A photo exhibit in Celebration of a Century of Conserving Alaska’s Wildlife & Wild Lands, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. 7:00 p.m., Wendy Williamson Auditorium, Anchorage. For more information: http://alaskamaritime.fws.gov or 907-226-4606.
  • Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11 – Birdfest and Bluegrass Festival, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington. Enjoy owl walks, sandhill crane sunrise tours, kayak tours plus indoor and outdoor music jamming sessions. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/ridgefield or 360-887-3883.
  • Sunday, October 11 – “Big Sit,” Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. Mark off a 17-foot diameter circle, sit down and identify all the birds you see or hear during a 24-hour (or less) period. The event is at the Champion Lake pier, 7:00 a.m. to sunset. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/trinityriver or 936-336-9786.
  • Sunday, October 11 – “Big Sit,” Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/muscatatuck or 812-522-4352
  • Sunday, October 11 – “Big Sit,” Red River Red River National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/northlouisiana/redriver or 318-742-1219
  • Saturday, October 17 – Annual Fall Celebration, Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana. Enjoy family activities and free fried fish dinners. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/northlouisiana/blackbayoulake or 318-387-1114.
  • Saturday, October 17 – Annual Wild Things Festival, Southeast Louisiana Refuges, Lacombe. Attend a festival showcasing eight National Wildlife Refuges. The festival features speakers, live animals, wildlife crafts, live entertainment, gardens and grounds tours. Children’s highlights include the Youth Wildlife Art Show, orienteering, decoy painting and nature crafts. Wild Things also features canoe and pontoon boat tours of Bayou Lacombe. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/southeastlouisiana or contact Byron Fortier at 985-882-2025.

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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.