Fall is a wonderful season to visit a national wildlife refuge — to hike, to paddle, to fish or to view wildlife. Here is a sampling of refuge events planned through December 2010.
Attend the Log Cabin Day Festival
Saturday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana
The Log Cabin Day Festival at Myers Cabin features old-time crafts, music, a free ham-and-bean dinner, wildlife displays and horse-drawn wagon rides for youngsters.
Celebrate “Wild Things”
Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana
Enjoy the annual Wild Things art exhibit, co-sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, Inc. and held in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week. Admission, parking and all tours and programs are free. Event highlights include exciting speakers; live animals; demonstrations of pirogue building and wildlife crafts; live entertainment; gardens and grounds tours; youth wildlife art competition (more than 400 entries last year); children’s activities such as the Wildland Fire Academy and Bear Maze; and canoe and pontoon boat tours of Bayou Lacombe.
Take a Behind-the-Scenes Tour
Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010 – Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week and Earth Science Week! Enjoy live animals, kids’ crafts and behind-the-scenes research tours of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
Participate in a Butterfly Count
Saturday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Take part in the 12th Annual Trinity River Butterfly Count in northern Liberty County. Areas to be counted include the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Tarkington Prairie and Gaylor Lake area. Some folks will butterfly the “bottoms” so be sure to bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Butterfly enthusiasts of all levels are welcome.
Take a guided birdwatching hike
Saturday, Oct. 16, 8 a.m. — Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
Hike the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail. Reservations are required. To reserve a spot, contact Eric Anderson,
or (360) 887-4106.
Cycle a Refuge
Sunday, Oct. 17 — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
The “Wild Goose Chase,” a ladies-only bike ride organized by Terry Precision Cycling takes place in and around Blackwater Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and benefits the refuge. Registration is $55. Last year’s ride raised more than $24,000 for the refuge. Event registration is at www.terrybicycles.com/tours.
Attend the Grassland Fair
Saturday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Arizona
Visit the sweeping landscape of this 118,000-acre refuge and enjoy guest speaker presentations about bats, plants and other refuge wildlife. See and hold friendly reptiles at the Snakes Alive! presentation. See new exhibits at the visitor center and a new outdoor interpretive trail. Enjoy live music, food and craft booth.
Take a guided birdwatching hike
Saturday, Oct. 30, 8 a.m. — Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Washington
Hike the Oaks to Wetlands trail of the Carty unit. Reservations are required.
To reserve a spot, call Eric Anderson at (360) 887-4106.
Go on a Bird Walk
Saturday, Nov. 6, daylight hours – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Led by an expert birder, this walk starts in refuge grasslands and continues through the delightful sycamore-lined stream drainage in the foothills of the majestic Baboquivari Mountains.
Take a Canoe Tour
Saturday, November 6, 9 a.m. – Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is offering canoe tours along the old Cache channel. This abandoned section of river is maintained by the Ohio River flood gates. The area provides habitat for diverse creatures and an opportunity to fish, hunt, canoe and watch wildlife. Reservations are required for the canoe tour.
Learn about Turkeys
Saturday, Nov. 13, 10:30 a.m. – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
Turkeys can see colors and their field of vision spans across about 270 degrees. Discover more about our feathered friends in the Visitor Center.
Attend a Geology Presentation
Saturday, Nov. 20, (daylight hours) – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Learn about shattered land masses, mega-volcanoes and vanished landscapes on a nature walk led by geology expert Richard Conway on the trails of Brown Canyon. Trails are located in the foothills of the Baboquivari mountains along a sycamore-lined stream flanked by oak woodland beneath volcanic dikes and pinnacles.
Enjoy an Art Show
Saturday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa
Annual event featuring artwork, photography, carvings, and more from on-site local artists.
Help Count Birds
Monday, December 13, 6 a.m. – Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois
The Christmas Bird Count is an all-day census of early winter bird populations. This conservation effort has been conducted throughout the entire country during mid-December for more than 100 years. The information gathered has resulted in the longest running database in ornithology. The data show trends of bird populations across America.
Take a Photograph
Tuesday, Dec. 28, 9 a.m.to 2 p.m. – Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Learn how to catch a perfect shot of winter wildlife and majestic landscapes. Space is limited. Reservations are required.
To reserve your spot, call (505) 864-4021 or visit www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/newmex/sevilleta
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 National Wildlife Refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities.
For more information about refuge activities and special events, visit www.fws.gov/refuges