March Brings Wildlife Adventures

March 13, 2012, 12:10 pm

A boy enjoys looking for critters in the water at Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Source: it’s still technically winter, signs of spring abound. And as animals stir from winter hibernation and migrating birds begin to return to their spring nesting grounds, there’s no better way to celebrate than to get outside and experience wildlife at our parks and public lands.

March offers two great opportunities for getting outside.

National Wildlife Week

Since 1938, National Wildlife Week has been a time to learn about wildlife and nature. This year’s theme is EXTRA-Ordinary Wildlife in Our World and will celebrate incredible wildlife talents, such as super hearing, speed and eyesight.

National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is providing a host of resources to explore these amazing wildlife species, including individual species trading cards, lessons and activities, videos, articles and webinars. Service projects from planting trees to restoring habitat to hosting a wildlife fair are being planned across the county. To find a volunteer event near you visit

The NWF also offers these great tips for getting outside during National Wildlife Week and throughout the year.

Go on a Wildlife Watch

One of the best ways to celebrate wildlife is to get out and observe them. Before going on your watch, be sure to check out the wildlife watch web page for a list of all the species you might observe in your area.

Plant Trees or Other Native Plants

With spring on its way, there is no better time than to plant trees or native plants. Just one single tree can provide a habitat for several animals.

Learn About Wildlife

Taking a walk through the area you live in can give you a new appreciation for the animals that call your area home. The first step to protecting animals is to know their habitats and how you can help. Start by reading a book or magazine or simply studying your backyard.

The National Wildlife Refuge System Celebrates its 109th Birthday

On March 14, 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island to protect wild birds from bounty hunters. Today, the Refuge System manages nearly 600 properties that provide vital habitat for thousands of animal and plant species.

In honor of the Refuge System’s birthday, scores of national wildlife refuges will host open houses and public celebrations throughout the week, including the annual Wildlife Festival at Pelican Island, our nation’s first refuge.

To find an event near you, use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage, or check the special events listings.

In addition to being an ideal place for critter-spotting, refuges offer hiking trails, fishing opportunities and great waterways for paddling. And best of all, your local refuge may be closer than you think! Find a refuge near you using the free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app or search our public lands database at

Image: A boy enjoys looking for critters in the water at Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Source: