National Wildlife Refuge Week 2015: ‘Protecting the animals is our primary goal’
National Wildlife Refuge Week gives the public time to discover the world-class recreation and conservation accomplishments of national wildlife refuges. Wildlife refuges across the country welcome thousands of visitors to the scores of special events and festivals held throughout October.
After last year’s events, The National Wildlife Refuge Association commented:
“We were thrilled by the number of people who sent us photos they’ve taken at their favorite wildlife refuge! We asked our friends, followers and readers to send us photos, and in the end we got more than 600 photos! We created a slideshow with some of our favorites, and a flickr album to help share these inspiring pictures that truly capture the wonder of nature and our national wildlife refuges. Thanks to everyone who participated!”
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague, Va.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge celebrates refuge week this year with community events and a fun run. On Saturday, Oct. 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, the public is invited to build birdhouses, see a live animal presentation and try their luck at fun activities such as Hooligan Heron’s Habitat Hunt.
On top of numerous family friendly activities for birders and wildlife lovers of all ages, community members are able to start their day with a 3.2-mile fun run or one-mile “circle of life” walk. The goal of this event is to cheer the beauty and diversity of wild places at a bird-focused celebration.
Patuxent Wildlife Festival, Laurel, Md.
Patuxent Research Refuge will be holding the Patuxent Wildlife Festival on Oct. 17 in Laurel, Md. from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
This event is a way for Patuxent Research Refuge to show the public the research that has been taking place at their establishment. According to Environmental Education Coordinator, Dennis Hartnett, Patuxent Research Refuge is the only refuge in the United Stated specifically devoted to research.
“Most of the refuges that have visitor centers have wildlife festivals to showcase what animals they have living on the refuge,” Hartnett said. “We have geese, great blue herons, egrets, migrating waterfowl, white tail deer, coyote, beaver, muskrat, river otter, squirrels, possums, raccoon, toads, frogs, snakes…”
According to Hartnett, none of the animals on the refuge are captive.
Activities during the festival include live animal displays, children’s crafts, a 2 mile electric tram tour, research exhibits and behind-the-scenes tours of the United States Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to see endangered whooping cranes and more.
Hartnett stresses this is a free event and no registration is required, however, tours are limited and tickets are available first come first serve on the day of the event.
“Many of our partners will have displays during the event; Masonville Cover Refuge in Baltimore is a big one that will be there,” Hartnett said. “There will be live animals in the building including sea ducks, wood ducks, American Kestrels, there will be children’s arts and crafts and behind the scenes tours of the research facility.”
Hartnett says the Crane Cafe will be open during the event selling sandwiches and sodas. There will also be a renown author at the event who will give a presentation to the audience.
“In years past we’ve seen up to 1,000 people,” Hartnett said. “We’ve had good years and bad years; being so close to the Baltimore/Washington area adds a lot of competition.”
One of the main contributors in making Patuxent Research Refuge events possible is the Friends of Patuxent volunteer group. Hartnett says this group does fundraisers and special projects for the organization. They give money to support environmental programs and serve as the backbone as far as volunteers with the program.
“Every refuges mission is to conserve and protect the wildlife; protecting the animals is our primary goal,” Hartnett said.
For a list of National Wildlife Refuge Week 2015 highlights, click here.