Celebrate Nature

Visit a national wildlife refuge near you this fall, and enjoy all that nature provides while participating in a wide variety of events taking place through December.

Enjoy a sunset at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

Enjoy a sunset at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

U.S Fish and Wildlife/W.H. Julian

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Fall is a wonderful season to visit a national wildlife refuge – to hike, to paddle, to fish or to view wildlife. There’s a lot to enjoy on a national wildlife refuge. 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. 

Need another reason to visit? Here is a sampling of upcoming refuge events: 

 

Participate in a Refuge 5K Run/Walk  

Saturday, October 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin 

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with a morning 5K run/walk on the auto tour, sponsored by the Friends of Horicon Refuge. Enjoy activities, programs, nature crafts and more throughout the day. 

For more information, visit the Horicon Refuge’s webpage or call 920-387-2658, extension 24. 

 

Take Part in another Refuge 5K Run/Walk 

Saturday, October 9, 10 a.m. – Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri 

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week and Squaw Creek’s upcoming 75th anniversary with a 5K run/walk. Participants can register at the refuge visitor contact station starting at 9 a.m. The event starts at 10 a.m. from the auto tour route. Entry fee: $10 per individual/ $15 per family. Register by mailing the entry fee to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 158, Mound City, MO 64470. Please make checks payable to Friends of Squaw Creek.  

For more information, visit Squaw Creek Refuge’s website or call 660-442-5754 ext 14. 

 

Celebrate the Tens 

Sunday, October 10, 7 a.m. – Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas 

Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge welcomes participants in “The Big Sit.” Bird watchers, refuge volunteers or anyone with an interest is invited to sit in a 17-foot diameter circle and identify all the birds they see or hear during all or part of a 24-hour period. Visitors can also celebrate wetlands in a day-long 10-10-10 event. Participants may pick up 10 pounds of trash; pull 10 pounds of invasive plants; identify 10 birds; identify 10 plants; list 10 reasons why you love this place; name 10 different types of wetlands; spend 10 minutes admiring the landscape; learn 10 new facts about wetlands; catch 10 fish; meet 10 new people.  

For more information visit the Trinity River Refuge webpage or contact Stuart Marcus, stuart_marcus@fws.gov, at 936-336-9786. 

 

Take a Trail Walk 

Sunday, October 10, 7:30 a.m. – Assabet National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts 

Walk the trails at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge in this event co-sponsored with the Friends of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. 

For more information, visit Assabet River Refuge’s webpage or call 978-443-4661. 

 

Celebrate the Wetlands 

Sunday, October 10, 10 a.m. – McNally Landing National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota 

Celebrate wetlands and the designation of the Upper Mississippi River Floodplain Wetlands of International Importance. At this 10-10-10 event, participants may: pick up 10 pounds of trash; pull 10 pounds of invasive plants; identify 10 birds; identify 10 plants; list 10 reasons why you love this place ; name 10 different types of wetlands; spend 10 minutes admiring the landscape; learn 10 new facts about wetlands; catch 10 fish; meet 10 new people.  

For more information, visit the McNally Landing Refuge website or contact Cindy Samples, cindy_samples@fws.gov, at 507-494-6216. 

 

Take Part in the Big Sit 

Sunday October 10 – Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, Indiana 

Participants in “The Big Sit” bird event will count all birds that can be seen or heard from a small circle on the refuge. Everyone is welcome. Staying the whole day is not required. 

For more information, visit the Muscatatuck Refuge wepage or call 618-988-5933. 

 

Tour a New Area 

Monday, October 11, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois 

Take a self-guided tour of a usually restricted portion of the refuge. 

For more information, visit Crab Orchard Refuge’s webpage or call 812-522-4352. 

 

Attend the Log Cabin Day Festival 

Saturday, October 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. 

For more information, visit the Muscatatuck Refuge webpage or call 812-522-4352. 

 

Celebrate Wild Things 

Saturday, October 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. 

For more information, visit the Southeast Louisiana Refuge’s webpage or contact Bryon Fortier, byron_fortier@fws.gov, at 985-882-2025. 

 

Take a Behind-the-Scenes Tour 

Saturday, October 16 – Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland 

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week and Earth Science Week. Enjoy live animals, children’s crafts and behind-the-scenes research tours of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 

For more information, visit Patuxent Research Refuge’s webpage or call 301-497-5630. 

 

Participate in a Butterfly Count 

Saturday, October 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. 

 

For more information, visit Trinity River Refuge’s webpage or call Stuart Marcus at 936-336-9786. 

 

Take a Guided Birdwatching Hike 

 

Saturday, October 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, eric_anderson@fws.gov, at the Ridgefield Refuge at 360-887-4106. 

 

For more information, visit Steigerwald Lake Refuge’s webpage.  

 

Cycle a Refuge 

 

Sunday, October 17 — Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland 

 

The “Wild Goose Chase,” a women-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. Register for the event at the Terry Precision Cycling website. For more information about the refuge, visit Blackwater Refuge’s webpage.  

 

Celebrate a New Visitor Center 

 

Sunday, October 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, Massachusetts 

 

For the opening of the refuge’s new visitor center, festivities include an 11-mile “Bike and Hike” along designated refuge trails (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.); an exploration of pond life at Puffer Pond (10 a.m. to noon); World War II bunker tours (10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon); a family bike ride to Puffer Pond (11 a.m.); a bird program (noon); a ceremony (1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.); and a presentation on the ecological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (4 p.m.). Guest speakers at the ceremony will include U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, Regional Refuge System Chief Tony Léger and Native American Chief Roland Jerome.    

 

To register for the morning “Bike and Hike,” contact trip leader Jill Kern (author of Hiking the SuAsCo Watershed), jill.kern@comcast.net or call 978-568-0814. For more information, visit the Assabet River Refuge’s webpage or call 978-443-4661 ext. 34. 

 

Attend the 2nd Annual Grassland Fair 

 

Saturday, October 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. 

 

For more information, visit the Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge website or call Bonnie Swarbrick, bonnie_swarbrick@fws.gov, at 520-823-4251 ext 106 or Richard Conway, r_conway@mac.com, at 520-405-5665. 

 

Take a Guided Birdwatching Hike 

 

Saturday, October 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, contact Eric Anderson, Eric_Anderson@fws.gov, Ridgefield Refuge, at 360-887-4106. 

 

Attend a Preschool Nature Exploration Program  

 

Friday, November 5, 10 a.m., Preschool Colt Capers program — Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge 

 

Attend a free nature exploration program for 3- to 5-year-olds and their parents at 7200 Crane Lane. Learn a wildlife story and complete an art project. Program takes place on the first Fridays of November and December. Opossums are the topic for Colt Capers on November 5 and bears on December 3. 

 

To register for Colt Capers, send an e-mail to MississippiSandhillCrane@FWS.GOV or call 228-497-6322. 

 

Take a Night Hike 

 

Saurday, November 6, 5:30 p.m. — Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin 

 

Join the Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge for an evening of activities that include a popular night hike into the refuge. Dinner with the Friends group begins at 5:30 p.m. (adults: $7.50; 6 to 12-year-olds: $5; children 5 and under are free) at the Ellen Allan Learning Center. The guided walk begins at the same place at 6:30 p.m.  

For more information, visit the Necedah Refuge’s webpage or call 608-565-2551. 

 

Go on a Bird Walk 

Saturday, November 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. 

For more information, visit the Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge website, or contact Richard Conway, r_conway@mac.com, at 520-405-5665. 

 

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. 

For more information, visit the Cypress Creek Refuge webpage or call 618-634-2231. 

 

Learn about Turkeys 

Saturday, November 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. 

For more information, visit the Crab Orchard Refuge webpage or call 618-997-3344. 

 

Attend a Geology Presentation 

Saturday, November 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. 

For more information, visit the Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge website, or contact Richard Conway, r_conway@mac.com, at 520-405-5665. 

 

Enjoy an Art Show 

Saturday, November 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. Event is sponsored by the Friends of Boyer Chute and DeSoto National Wildlife Refuges. 

For more information, visit the DeSoto Refuge webpage or call 712-642-4121. 

 

Celebrate the Holiday Season 

Thursday, December 9, 11 a.m. – Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Illinois 

Celebrate the holiday season at our open house. There will be lots of food and even more cheer. 

For more information, visit Cypress Creek Refuge’s webpage or call 618-634-2231. 

 

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. 

For more information, visit Cypress Creek Refuge’s webpage or call 618-634-2231. 

 

Take a Photograph 

Tuesday, December 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 Sevilletta Refuge’s webpage for more information. 

 

Take Part in the 14th Annual Trinity River Christmas Bird Count 

Tuesday, December 28, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas 

Areas to be counted include the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Tarkington Prairie and Gaylor Lake. Meet at 7 a.m. at the Valero Gas station at the intersection of Hwy 105 and Hwy 321, about 6 miles southeast of Cleveland. Some folks will bird the “bottoms” so bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Birdwatchers of all levels are welcome. 

For more information, visit the Trinity River Refuge’s webpage or contact Stuart Marcus, stuart_marcus@fws.gov, at 936-336-9786. 

A complete list of refuge activities and special events is available online at the Fish and Wildlife Service website. 

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 the Fish and Wildlife Service website.