Follow the creek decorated with Indian paintbrush up through Charon’s Garden Wilderness at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The refuge has over 15 miles of trails – taking you through scenic rocky outcrops, beautiful mixed-grass prairie and scrub oak forest. With 8,570 acres of designated wilderness, the refuge offers backcountry camping by permit in certain portions of the Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area. Photo by Steven Hunter (www.sharetheexperience.org)
This isn’t a scene you’d expect to find in the Nevada desert: pools of Caribbean-blue water supporting a grove of ash trees. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a unique oasis and an internationally recognized wetland of importance. Nearly 30 species of plants and animals that don’t exist any place else on Earth are found in this isolated wonderland. Springs of fossil water – melted ice buried thousands of years ago – feed the pools. You’ve got to see it for yourself. Photo by Rod Colvin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer.
Mid-April brings a burst of wildflowers, choruses of frogs and also– baby bison! Nicknamed “red dogs” for the reddish color of their coat, bison calves can weigh anywhere from 30-70 pounds when they’re first born. This time of year offers plenty of tasty prairie plants for the growing calves. Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado is a short drive from downtown Denver and provides a great place to watch our national mammal roam. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Who else is looking at things extra closely today? April Fools Day is a hoot!
Eastern screech owl at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia by Graham McGeorge (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On the Delaware coast, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge occupies a maze of waterways and wetlands. The area provides us with an appreciation of how people, land resources and wildlife have coexisted and collectively shaped the current surroundings. A nationally recognized birding spot, the refuge attracts people as well as hundreds of thousands of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Photo by Gene Bailey (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico offers access to quiet beaches, spectacular ocean views and topnotch snorkeling. The refuge was created to maintain rare subtropical dry forest habitat, help local wildlife and protect historical and archeological sites. It’s a blend of rich heritage and the soothing calm of paradise. Photo courtesy of Keenan Adams.
With pine and hardwood forests, grasslands, wetlands and numerous waterways, Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia is home to an awesome variety of wildlife. While wildlife and habitat conservation come first on refuges, excellent wildlife observation, photography, fishing, environmental education and hunting opportunities can be enjoyed on several units of the refuge. Halfway between Washington D.C. and Richmond, it’s also a fantastic place to catch a winter sunrise. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s easy to marvel at the striking symmetry of Shishaldin Volcano on Unimak Island. One of the many active volcanoes in Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it stands 9,373 ft above sea level, making it the highest mountain peak on the Aleutian Islands. In this land of cold and ice, the steam from this smoking volcano makes a remarkable sight. Photo by Kristine Sowl, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Morning frost clings to tall grasses at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota. Half water and half rolling hills, Chase Lake plays an important role in the conservation of the American white pelican, hosting a large breeding population in the summer. Those big white birds won’t be back for a few months, but there’s still lots to see and do at the refuge. Sunrises are a great way to start the day. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
This red fox at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey is enjoying a lazy Sunday morning. We can learn so much from nature. Photo by Don Freiday, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.