It’s fall — leaves are changing color, song birds are migrating, Vs of ducks and geese gracefully and noisily wend their way south for the winter, and scores of species are eating and storing, preparing for the cold months ahead. If you’re like millions of other Americans, this is one of your favorite times of year to watch the seasonal changes in your particular eco-nich. And what better place to view the seasonal highlights but at a National Wildlife Refuge?
The Federal Government has been in the business of protecting wildlife resources since 1864. According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “The first Federal action aimed in part at protecting wildlife resources on a designated area appears to be an Act of Congress on June 30, 1864, that transferred the Yosemite Valley from the public domain to the State of California. One of the terms of the transfer was that State authorities ‘shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within the said reservation and against their capture and destruction for purposes of merchandise or profit.’”
Today, the National Wildlife Refuge System has designated more than 520 units in all 50 states, plus American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Johnson Atoll, Midway Atoll and several other Pacific Islands, encompassing over 93 million acres of valuable wildlife habitat.
Next week, October 11 thru 17, has been designated National Wildlife Refuge Week. There’s at least one Refuge in every state and you can find if there are special activities happening in your state next week on this Special Events Calendar. But whether or not there is a special event in your state, this would be a great time to visit the National Wildlife Refuge closest to your home.