U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
There are still a couple of days left to enjoy the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge Week. The event starts October 11, which is a FREE day and runs till October 17, 2015. Visit one of wildlife refuges and enjoy a day of fishing, hunting, birding, hiking or just engulf yourself in the beauty that surrounds you.
Started in 1903
President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge in 1903, on Pelican Island in Florida. The refuge, as well as all refuges, is available for all kinds of activities as well as learning how refuges protect our natural spaces and improve the quality of life for our communities.
“Americans are fortunate to have access to a wide network of national wildlife refuges close to where they live, from protected areas near cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles to the coasts of the Pacific Northwest and Southeast,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “National Wildlife Refuge Week highlights the value of these protected spaces to wildlife and people alike and is a great time to explore your local refuge.”
Across the country, refuges have celebrated National Wildlife Refuge Week during the second full week of October. Since 1995 celebrations have included festivals, educational programs, tours and so much other more . Refuges offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation to photography and environmental education.
The National Wildlife Refuge System
The National Wildlife Refuge System is the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 563 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge, and there is a refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities. With more than 47 million people visit refuges every year, the National wildlife refuges drive $2.4 billion into the national economy and contribute to more than 35,000 jobs. Besides providing boundless outdoor recreation, wildlife refuges support the conservation of wildlife, they protect against erosion, flooding and purify the air and water. Wildlife refuges also support the surrounding regional economies as well as teach families about nature and offer safe places to connect with nature.
Every Kid in a Park
Refuges are also part of President Obama’s new Every Kid in a Park initiative, which aims to unite children with outdoors by offering free access to federal lands to fourth-graders and their families. With the 100th birthday of the National Park Service arriving soon 2016, President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative is a call to action to get all children to visit and appreciate America’s unparalleled outdoors.
America’s public lands offer places for children to get outside. They are living classrooms that provide opportunities to construct critical skills through hands-on activities. To encourage the next generation to discover all that America’s public lands and waters has to offer, the Obama Administration will provide all 4th grade students, and their families’, free admission to all National Parks and other federal lands and waters for a full year, starting with the 2015-2016 school year. The initiative will also:
- Make it easy for schools and families to plan trips: The Administration will distribute information and resources to make it easy for teachers and families to identify nearby public lands and waters and to find programs that support youth outings.
- Provide transportation support to schools with the most need: As an integral part of this effort, the National Park Foundation (NPF) – the congressionally chartered foundation of the National Park Service – is expanding and re-launching its Ticket to Ride program as Every Kid in a Park, which will award transportation grants for kids to visit parks, public lands and waters, focusing on schools that have the most need.
- Provide educational materials: The initiative will build on a wide range of educational programs and tools that the federal land management agencies already use. For example, NPS has re-launched a website with over 1,000 materials developed for K-12 teachers, including science labs, lesson plans, and field trip guides. And a number of federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Education, and NPS participate in Hands on the Land, a national network of field classrooms and agency resources that connects students, teachers, families, and volunteers with public lands and waterways. Every Kid in a Park Official Site
Find a Wildlife Refuge Near You
The National Wildlife Refuge System is the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 563 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state has at least one national wildlife refuge, and there is a refuge within an hour’s drive of most major cities. Learn how wildlife refuges conserve your wildlife heritage and enrich your life, find one by you: US Fish & Wildlife Service