Monday, April 26, 2010

Portraits of a Bobcat at Hagerman NWR

By Skeeter and Marolyn Lasuzzo

In general, things are very slow at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge early in April. We are waiting for the buntings to arrive, along with other birds. We have not seen very many owls yet this year. This time last year we had found four owl nests and three hawk nests. So far this year we have seen one owl but have not found a nest yet.

On a visit to the Refuge earlier this month, we were able to see a bobcat. He crossed the road in front of us in an area where we have seen cats before. We tried to predict where he might come out of the woods, went to that spot and waited...and waited... and waited. Then, as we started the car and prepared to leave, there he was, right where we had predicted, just well camouflaged.

As the bobcat started to run, I made a cat sound and the bobcat stopped in his tracks and turned and watched us. We were able to photograph him for about 30 minutes - unheard of for wild bobcats. We have used this technique on several occasions. As you can tell from the images, he was relaxed and at ease with us.

By the way, you can see the bobcat sitting on pipe in the second image. These pipes carry oil from a number of wells in the area to a main gathering point. We might think that drilling for hydrocarbons ruins the environment for wildlife, but it appears that animals have an amazing ability to adapt.

For more information about Hagerman NWR, see, and to learn about programs and activities at the Refuge, see

Photos by Skeeter and Marolyn Lasuzzo.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Worth Their Weight in Gold

By Kathy Whaley

For just over a year now, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge has taken advantage of a program called "Workamping". Many people have never heard of workamping, but its popularity is steadily growing. In a nutshell, couples (sometimes singles) volunteer to work at a refuge for 32 hours per week, in exchange for a camping site, water, sewer, and electricity being provided to them free of charge.

Workampers are typically retired professionals, with a wealth of knowledge and skills who love to travel and simply want to "give back". So far, Hagerman has hosted five different couples, one of whom just completed their second stay; two others have already scheduled to return later in the year and in 2011.

Volunteers who work on refuges typically love the outdoors and wildlife and often travel from refuge to refuge through out the year, doing whatever work needs to be done. Usually, at least a one month commitment is required, with a maximum stay of three or four months. Kampers truly become part of the team while working at refuges - they often attend staff meetings and lunches, and have great camaraderie with refuge employees and other volunteers while accomplishing more than is ever expected.

Projects completed by workampers are extremely valuable to both Hagerman NWR and the refuge system: maintaining day use areas and hiking trails, building and monitoring bluebird boxes, staffing visitor centers, assisting with farming operations and road maintenance, mowing and weedeating, stocking brochure boxes, installing and maintaining signs - all tasks that are critical to the mission of the refuge but are often lacking due to shortfalls in refuge staffing levels.

If you enjoy camping and the great outdoors, you may want to check out There are positions in almost any type of environment you can imagine - state and national parks and forests, private campgrounds, motorsports events, guest ranches, historic sites, golf courses - the list is endless and offers opportunities in every state. Take a might find a place meant just for you!

For more information about Hagerman NWR, see For information about programs and activities at Hagerman, see

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blue Goose at Denison, Texas Art Gallery

The Mary Karam Gallery in downtown Denison (Small Town - Big Art) welcomed the Blue Goose this month, with a showing of photographs taken at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. the photos - all winners in the first annual Hagerman NWR Photo Contest - will be on display through April 24.

The Friends of Hagerman welcome the partnership with the gallery - this is the first actual, rather than virtual, display of photos of the the Refuge. Previously photos have been shown on the Friends website, on Facebook, and in slide presentations, as well as in print publications.

Mary Karam has been very supportive of the photography program at the Refuge, serving as a leader for several photo events and as one of three judges in the recent photo contest. The gallery,, is located at 404 W. Main in Denison. The hours are 1 - 5 p.m., Wednesday - Friday, and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information about the photography program at Hagerman NWR, please see the NEWS page of the Friends website, To learn more about Hagerman NWR, see

Gallery photo courtesy of Mary Karam; Blue Goose courtesy of U. S. FWS

Monday, April 5, 2010

Refuge Photo Safari April 17

Slow your vehicle! Photographers crossing! Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge's third semi-annual Refuge Photo Safari is set for Saturday, April 17. Ten experienced leaders will be taking groups of three photographers each out to first see what they can see, and then photograph what they can see. The leaders will be familiar with the cameras used by those in their group, in order to help each person make the most of the safari experience.

Following the photo shoot on the Refuge, participants are invited to bring a brown bag lunch and stay for a discussion session in the Audio Visual Classroom.

Each photographer will have the opportunity to exhibit pictures from the event in a virtual gallery, to be shown at a later date. It will be interesting to see the Refuge through the vision of these photographers, so stay tuned for the date and time of the showing. Photos from previous safaris ranged from extreme close-ups of wildflowers to bird in flight to landscape vistas. Even photos of similar subjects had unique qualities.

Members of the Friends of Hagerman Nature Photo Club have organized the event, in conjunction with Refuge staff. The club meets bi-monthly, with the next meeting set for May 8. For more information, or to register for the Photo Safari (advance registration required), send your name and contact information, along with camera make and model, to
For more information about Hagerman NWR, see For more information about activities and programs at the Refuge see
Photo - Great Egret in Flight, by Pedro Alicea, taken at the Autumn Refuge Photo Safari, 2009.