Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week


Whether it's taking a walk among the fall colors, spotting a rare bird species, or learning about the cultural resources that are part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's conservation mission, National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 12-18, 2008, celebrates the diversity and resources of America's 548 national wildlife refuges. And it's a great opportunity to find a family event in your community.

National wildlife refuges are dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats. They also offer a wide range of wildlife-dependent recreation--from hunting and fishing to wildlife observation, wildlife photography, nature interpretation and environmental education. The Refuge System includes 2,500 miles of land and water trails, and there is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and one within an hour's drive of most major cities.

"America's wildlife refuges offer great places to teach our children the importance of making a lifelong commitment to our nation?s natural resources," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall. "Exploring the outdoors and learning how all living things are connected to one another is what National Wildlife Refuge Week is all about."

This year, the annual Refuge Week celebration also highlights the 75th anniversary of the Federal Duck Stamp and the 50th anniversary of the Small Wetlands Program. These two programs have helped the Refuge System expand to its current size of 97 million acres.

Ninety-eight cents of every dollar generated by the sale of Federal Duck Stamps goes toward the purchase or lease of wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. To date, Duck Stamp sales have helped purchase or protect more than 5.2 million acres of wildlife habitat. For more information about Duck Stamps, go to http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/.

The Small Wetlands Program was created in 1958 to allow proceeds from the sale of Duck Stamps to also be used to acquire waterfowl production areas (WPAs). These WPAs provide habitat for migratory birds, protect native plants, help filter groundwater, control flooding and capture carbon from the atmosphere. Close to one million acres of land acquired through the Small Wetlands Program is open to hunting, wildlife watching and photography and other outdoor recreation.

For the complete list of events, visit the Fish and Wildlife Service website, by clicking here.