Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Special events are planned at National Wildlife Refuges across the country to celebrate NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE WEEK, October 10-16, 2010.
Locally, the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will sponsor interpretive programs combined with kayak paddles, bicycling tours, and hayrides.

The Savannah Coastal Refuges network includes seven National Wildlife Refuges (NWR), which extends from Pinckney Island NWR near Hilton Head, South Carolina, to Wolf Island NWR near Darien, Georgia. Between these lie Savannah (the largest), Wassaw, Tybee (the smallest), Harris Neck, and Blackbeard Island refuges. Together these federal lands, managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, span a 100-mile coastline and total nearly 57,000 acres.

On Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), from Saturday, October 9 through Sunday, October 24, Refuge Week activities will include hayrides (1.5 hr trips, offered daily at 3:30 PM and 5:30 PM); bicycling tours (two hours, beginning at 10:00 AM daily); and combination hayride/kayak paddles (three hours, beginning daily at 8:30 AM and 12:00 PM).Call 843/686-3554 or email waterdogoutfitter@yahoo.com for reservations.

Beginner kayak tours will also be conducted within Savannah NWR waterways Saturday, October 9, Friday, October 15, and Saturday, October 16 between the hours of 8:30 AM and noon. Call 843/784-2249, or email swampchicks@aol.com, for reservations

At Harris Neck NWR, hayride tours will be offered on Saturday, October 16, from 10:00–11:30 AM and from 2:00-3:30 PM. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) staff and volunteers will serve as guides, providing information on the refuge’s history, wildlife, and management activities. Highlighting these tours will be interpretive presentations by Richard Kanaski, the FWS’ Southeast Regional Archeologist.

Also planned at Harris Neck NWR on Saturday, October 16 will be a special family program, “Meet Your Reptile Neighbors,” featuring an array of live snakes and turtles. FWS volunteer herpetologist, Dave Chafin will share his knowledge of Georgia reptiles, and help dispel ignorant beliefs such as “the only good snake is a dead snake!” This free reptile show is scheduled for 1:00-2:00 PM in the tent next to the refuge office.

President Theodore Roosevelt established the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903, Pelican Island in Florida, to protect herons, egrets, and other colonial nesting birds from slaughter by market hunters. He established 50 more refuges during his presidency, nearly all to protect species threatened with extinction, such as the buffalo.

Today, that legacy has grown to 552 refuges, 37 wetland management districts covering 150 million acres in all 50 states and several territories.

Find your local wildlife refuge here..

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