By Helen Vargus
The week of October 11-19, 2015 has been designated National Wildlife Refuge Week. There are 562 refuges and 38 wetland management districts in America’s National Wildlife Refuge System. As the world’s premiere public conservation system, they protect more than 150 million acres of wildlife habitat. The refuges are home to 700 bird species, 220 mammal species, 250 reptile and amphibian species, over 1000 species of fish, and numerous invertebrates and plants.
The national wildlife refuge system was born on March 14, 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt set aside Pelican Island, a tiny bird rookery of the coast of Florida, as the first refuge. Today refuges are found from Maine to Alaska, and from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Refuges cover all the North American ecosystems including boreal forests, wetlands, deserts, grasslands, arctic tundra, and remote islands. Every state has at least one refuge and a refuge is within driving distance of every major city. Texas is home to 18 National Wildlife Refuges.
Forty-seven million visitors use the refuges every year. They add $2.1 billion dollars to local economies and support tens of thousands of local jobs.
Grayson County is fortunate to be the home of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, 6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, Texas. Hagerman offers outstanding recreational opportunities for hiking, birding, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, paddling, photography, and for a place to share the outdoors with friends and families. Hagerman and the Friends of Hagerman also offer monthly educational opportunities for both youth and adults.
|Sunrise Silhouette at HNWR, by Carl Hill|
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week with planned activities during the week of October 11-19, 2015. Enjoy a walk on the wild side this week and connect with nature at Hagerman!
On Sunday, October 11, at 3 pm we will celebrate the Grand Opening of the Butterfly Garden.
|Gulf Fritillary on Texas Lantana, by Jesus Moreno|
For the rest of the week, with the exception of Monday, all activities during the week will take place from 10 am-12 pm. The Visitor Center and Refuge offices will be closed on Monday, October 12, in observance of Columbus Day, but the refuge lands will be open from sunrise to sunset.
“Tracking Tuesday” on October 13 will teach you what animals leave behind on the trail. Join us on the trail to test your tracking skills.
“Wildflower Wednesday” on October 14 will provide lessons about wildflowers and the important roles they play on the prairie and as nectar sources for pollinators. Look for wildflowers with us in the butterfly garden.
Come hike with us on Harris Creek Trail on “Trails Thursday” on October 15. Learn about hiking safety and the history of Hagerman.
“Flyaway Friday” on the October 16 will discuss the migration of birds and butterflies. Experience with us the release of our Monarchs for their fall migration to Mexico.
On Saturday, October 17, join us for a docent-led walk in the Butterfly Garden at 10 am.
All activities listed above are free of charge and open to the public. In case of rain, there will be an indoor program for the Grand Opening of the Butterfly Garden; other outdoor activities will be limited or cancelled. For more information about Hagerman NWR and activities, see fws.gov/refuge/Hagerman or friendsofhagerman.com.