Thursday, February 4, 2016

What's Happening at Hagerman This Month?

By Helen Vargus

Just in time for a busy month,  Kathy Whaley, Refuge Manager of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge  announced last week that Wildlife Drive and the low water crossings are once again open, as the early winter flooding has ended.  All hiking trails are also now open.  Come enjoy the best that nature has to offer!

Home Sweet Home to many critters!
Youth First
Youth First is back for 2016!  On Saturday, February 6, 2016, from 10:00 am – 11:30 am join us as we learn about trees and the critters that make their home in trees. 
Youth First activities are held the first Saturday of every month and are open to children from ages 4-12.  These activities are free and open to the public with advance registration. This assures plenty of supplies will be available for each child.
            You may register as a Friends member, or as a guest. If you choose to become a member, please do so before starting the registration process.  Registration is currently open to Friends of Hagerman members and those who set up a guest account. All registrations must be completed by Thursday, February 4, 2016, at 4:00 pm. You may register online at  If your plans change after you have registered, please let us know.
Our Youth First groups will be held at two different locations at the Refuge,  based on the child’s age. Children ages 4-7 will meet in the Visitor Center Meeting Room and are to be accompanied by an adult. Children ages 8-12 will meet in the Friends of Hagerman Building and may be dropped off and picked up at the start and end of the session or may be accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult.  Look for the signs that will direct you to the FOH Building. 

Photo by Bill Powell
Each year Cornell sponsors the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This year’s Citizen Science event is set for February 12 - 15, 2016.  Backyard birders can participate by counting birds in their own backyard or you can come to Hagerman NWR and take part in our bird count.
Master birder Dr. Wayne Meyer, Professor of Biology at Austin College, has agreed to lead a Great Backyard Bird Walk at Hagerman NWR from 8 - 9:30 am on Saturday, February 13.  To join the walk, participants must meet Dr. Meyer at the  Refuge Visitor Center  by 8 am.  Come dressed for the weather.  Bring your binoculars or borrow ours at the Nature Nook.  Birds counted during the walk will be reported to GBBC.   In the case of rain, the event will not be held.

Photo by Mary Karam
Second Saturday
            “Leave It to Beaver” will be the topic for Second Saturday on February 13. The program will be from 10-11:30 am at the Visitor Center at Hagerman NWR.
Dr. Jessica Healy, Assistant Professor of Biology at Austin College will give us the facts about this hardworking mammal.  A beaver’s dam in a healthy, freshwater stream helps create wetland habitats that support an array of unique plants and animals.
Each month Second Saturday programs are held at the Visitor Center.  The programs are free and no registration is required.

Hagerman NWR Turns 70 in February - watch for details on the celebration, which is set for 2 - 4 pm, Sunday, February 21.

Color-In for Teens, Grown-ups, at Hagerman NWR
Coloring isn’t just for kids!  Hagerman is sponsoring a Color-In exclusively for Teens and Grown-ups on Sunday, February 28, from 2:30-4:00 pm.  If you love to color or want to reconnect with your inner child, join us for a relaxing afternoon of coloring at Hagerman. Coloring is a great way to be creative and reduce your stress level.
The program is free; no registration is needed. Bring your own supplies or use ours. We have nature-themed pages to color, crayons, and colored pencils. We also have an assortment of nature-themed coloring books for sale in the Nature Nook book and gift shop at the Refuge.

Photo by Tom Judd
Tram Tours
            Hop on the Carlos and Eulalia Cardinal Express for a 60 - 90-minute tour along Wildlife Drive at the Refuge.  Guided tours will be offered in February on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 PM, weather permitting.  This is an open-air tram, so dress for the weather.  The tours are free but donations to the tram maintenance fund are welcome.  
Call 903 786 2826 for reservations as seating is limited.  Volunteers cannot access messages on the Refuge phone system.  To make a reservation, please speak to a volunteer from 9 am-4 pm Monday-Saturday and 1-5 pm on Sundays.  Standbys will be accepted on weekends if space permits.   No dogs other than service animals allowed on board the tram.

            Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is located at 6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, Texas.  The Visitor Center is open from 7:30 am - 4 pm Monday- Friday, 9 am  -  4 pm on Saturday and from 1-5 on Sunday. The grounds are open year-round from sunrise until sunset unless otherwise posted.  The Refuge Office/Visitor Center is closed on all federal holidays and will be closed on Monday, February 15 for Presidents Day.