U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Join Us for Free, Fun, Programs!
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
REGISTRATION & CAPACITY:
All refuge programs are FREE, but space may be limited. Preregistration is required for all programs, unless otherwise indicated. Please call (978) 465-5753. Please Note: If a program requires preregistration, your registration is not confirmed unless and until you receive a phone call or voice mail message from a member of the refuge staff.
Programs conducted in the auditorium are limited to 85 attendees. Seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission of additional attendees will stop when capacity has been reached.
Please note that outdoor programs may be cancelled if there is inclement weather and/or insufficient registration. Visit us on the web for more information: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/parker_river/ or call Refuge Headquarters. The refuge visitor center is located at 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA.
Behind the Scenes Refuge Tour of Parker River NWR
Held on the following days: Saturday, April 6th @ 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, April 7th @ 1:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 13th @ 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, April 14th @ 1:00 p.m.; Friday, April 19th @ 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, April 21st @ 1:00 p.m.; Wednesday, April 24th @ 1:00 p.m.; Sunday, April 28th @ 1:00 p.m.; and Monday, April 29th @ 1:00 p.m.
Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Tour will be conducted via refuge van, with several brief
"drive by" stops along the way. The tour will present an "up close and personal" look at the refuge through the multiple lenses of the cultural history of Plum Island and the Great Marsh, native wildlife and their habitats, and the role of refuge management in the conservation of these precious natural resources. Participants may be driven along areas on the refuge otherwise closed to the public. This guided two hour program is most appropriate for older teens and adults. Binoculars and/or a camera are recommended, but not required. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the Refuge visitor center 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Each session is limited to 14 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. Again, this is a vehicle - based tour, with limited stops on the Refuge. Advance registration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. *Please note: Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation call from a refuge staff member. Please call (978) 465-5753; to register for this program.
Parker River's Annual Open House (AND, Meet the Manager!)
Saturday, April 6th at 1:00 p.m.
Spend an hour with Refuge Manager Bill Peterson as he shares what?s planned for Parker River for 2019. He?ll discuss replacing the Hellcat Boardwalk, enhancing the Salt Pannes, and answer questions about the refuge. Immediately prior to this program, we'll celebrate the Friends of Parker River NWR's Boardwalk Plank Fundraiser's success by transferring the fundraiser's proceeds from the Friends to the refuge, for Hellcat Boardwalk. This program will take place in the visitor center auditorium at 1:00 p.m. NO preregistration required.
The Warblers of Plum Island - The Gems of the Refuge
Saturday, April 6th, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
This talk covers the 36 species of warblers that have been reported from Plum Island. Four species are known to breed here, a few others may breed occasionally, while, except for one vagrant, the others are migrants who pass through on their migrations to and or from their breeding areas. The talk mentions the relative abundance of the species and their annual cycles of occurrence. A minute or two is devoted to each species, with photographs of most species and recordings of some of their songs. Tips on identification and where to look for these birds are included. Some are furtive denizens of the low thickets, while others are birds of the high canopies. Most have distinctive songs and calls that are frequently the best way to find and identify them. The warblers are among the most beautiful of Plum Island's birds, with the plumages of the spring males often breathtaking.
Tom Wetmore has been a regular birder on Plum Island for the past 37 years. He is retired from the software and communications businesses and spends most early mornings on the refuge. He is among a small group of birders who has seen all 36 species of warblers mentioned in the talk.
Spaces in the refuge's 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first come, first served basis. This program is sponsored by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Parker River NWR. NO preregistration for this program.
Evening Program: Over the Pines. Moving Right. Fast - Parker River Raptors On the Move!
Thursday, April 11th, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Every year thousands of raptors migrate through the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Some raptors will spend only a few minutes and others a lifetime on or around the refuge. This presentation will introduce you to twenty species of raptors, primarily hawks but including a few owls, you might see on the refuge. You'll get acquainted with our most spectacular and abundant migrants, locally breeding species, and some winter visitors, learn a bit about what is happening with each species in our area, and see what raptors are particularly special to the refuge.
Paul M. Roberts founded the Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch (EMHW) in 1976 and started the Plum Island Hawk Watch (part of EMHW) in 1977. Since then, he has been studying, writing, and teaching about hawks, hawk identification, and hawk migration in the northeast. Paul retired from management in high-tech communications in 2009. He is currently president of the NorthEast Hawk Watch.
Spaces in the refuge's 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first come, first served basis. This free evening program is sponsored by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Parker River NWR. NO preregistration for this program.
Fifth Annual Conservation Film Festival!
Friday evening, April 12th thru Sunday afternoon, April 14th
The refuge's fifth annual Conservation Film Festival is primed and ready to go for the second weekend in April. And it's all FREE! Films screened during the festival focus on a broad range of local, national and international conservation topics. All film screenings are FREE and will take place in the refuge visitor center's comfortable, 85 seat auditorium (filled on a first come, first served basis). A complete film festival schedule is available on the refuge web site: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/parker_river/. For further information, please contact the refuge at (978) 465-5753.
Woodcock Walk at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Friday, April 12th @ 7:15 p.m. & Friday, April 26th @ 7:30 p.m.
Each spring American woodcocks engage in one of nature's most fascinating courtship displays. Here's your chance to witness this "sky dance" up close and in-person! This program is appropriate for ages 8 and older. Meet the ranger on the deck of the visitor contact station at parking lot 1. Bring binoculars and a flashlight. Program is limited to 15 participants. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Preregistration required.
Woodcock Walk at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Saturday, April 13th @ 7:15 p.m. & Saturday, April 27th @ 7:30 p.m.
Each spring American woodcocks engage in one of nature's most fascinating courtship displays. Here's your chance to witness this "sky dance" up close and in-person! This program is appropriate for ages 8 and older. Meet the ranger in front of the Great Bay office, just opposite the parking lot. Bring a flashlight and binoculars, if you have them. Program is limited to 15 participants and will last about one hour. Preregistration required.
Focus on Birds: Special Behind the Scenes Tour of Parker River NWR
Monday, April 15th & Monday, April 22nd; both programs 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
This special edition of the refuge's Behind the Scenes (BTS) tour will be led by veteran birder, and refuge volunteer, Bill Gette. While the tour will follow the usual BTS route, the leader will place a special emphasis on the birds that are typically found on the refuge in the spring. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, if they have them. Tour is limited to 8 participants. Meet the tour leader in the refuge visitor center lobby 15 minutes before the program start time. This program is most appropriate for teens and adults. Preregistration required. **Please note: When snow and ice prevents access to the regular "behind the scenes" segments of the refuge tour, the tour leader will, instead, take the group to other locations on the island and mainland where birds are more likely to be seen.
Tuesday April 16th at 10:00 a.m.
Have you heard the word? Birds are flying north for the breeding season! Spring is a wonderful time of year to learn all about birds, especially waterfowl with their beautiful breeding plumage, species variety, and easy observation access. If you are looking for a fun family activity during April vacation or are a new birder eager to learn more, join biology intern, Allie Pesano, as she introduces you to the world of waterfowl watching!
During this 1.5 hour program, we'll introduce guests to binocular use, waterfowl anatomy (and adaptations), and what species use the refuge. We'll then walk over to the Salt Pannes Wildlife Observation Area to learn about and observe ducks in beautiful breeding plumage. Some spotting scopes and binoculars will be provided. Bring binoculars and bird books if you have them. Please dress appropriately for this outside activity. Event limited to 15 participants. If children are attending, parents must remain with them. Participants should meet Allie on the refuge at Parking Lot 3. Rain date is April 18th at 10a.m. Preregistration is required.
SPECIAL EARTH DAY PROGRAMS:
Fun Craft Activities for Kids
Saturday, April 20th, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Participate in a number of fun, hands-on craft activities. Contribute original artwork to an Earth Day - themed mural that will be displayed on the refuge web site. No preregistration for this program.
Live Raptor Show
Saturday, April 20th, 1:30 p.m.
Spend an hour with Jane Kelly, and several of her live birds of prey, in the refuge auditorium, while learning about the habits and habitats of these fascinating creatures. Kelly, of On the Wing Raptor Rehabilitation, will reprise the hugely popular program that she delivered as part of last year's Earth Day celebration. No preregistration for this program.
Great Bay Shoreline Cleanup
Saturday, April 20th, from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
With the help of community volunteers, we can keep our bay clean. Volunteers will be guided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel to closed areas of the refuge where they will remove garbage and debris from the shoreline. Let's promote clean water and a healthy environment for wildlife and people! Groups and families are welcome. We advise wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts, and sturdy boots. Bring sunscreen, bug spray, a light snack and water. Supplies provided include trash bags, gloves, and data tracking sheets. Meet at the parking lot at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Sign up online at: https://naturegroupie.org
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Behind the Scenes Tour!
Thursday, April 18th, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour of Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in Newington, NH. Participants will have an opportunity to visit areas of the refuge that are not normally open to the public. See a diversity of wildlife habitats while learning how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is managing this very special landscape for conservation. Consider bringing along binoculars and a camera. The tour is limited to 8 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. This is a vehicle-based tour, with limited stops on the refuge. This guided program is most appropriate for older teens. and adults. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the Parker River NWR visitor center in Newburyport no later than 9:00 am OR in the Great Bay NWR parking lot in Newington, NH no later than 9:45 am. (Indicate location you prefer at time of registration.) Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. *Please note: Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation call from a refuge staff member. Please call (978) 465-5753 to register for this program. Preregistration required. For directions to the refuge, click on this link: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Great_Bay/visit/plan_your_visit.html
Bicycle Tour of Great Bay NWR
Thursday, April 25th, 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour, by bicycle, of Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge,
located in Newington, NH. Participants will have an opportunity to visit areas of the refuge that are not
normally open to the public. See a diversity of habitats and learn how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
is managing this very special landscape for wildlife. Cyclists will travel over generally level terrain on a
combination of paved and unpaved surfaces. The distance covered will depend on how many stops are
made and how much time is spent at each stop. Tour duration will be about 2 hours. Appropriate for
adults and children age 16 or older. Each participant must provide a either a hybrid or mountain
bike, helmet, and water bottle. Insect repellant, sun block, binoculars and/or a camera are optional
(provided these items can be safely stowed while biking). Meet the ranger in the Great Bay NWR
parking lot 15 minutes before the tour start time. Limited to 10 participants. Preregistration
required. For directions to the refuge, click on this link:
Climate Change and Its Effects on Plum Island and Us
Friday, April 26th, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Hear a lot about climate change in the news and want to get an idea how it affects you and local wildlife? Join a refuge ranger and biologist on a special behind the scenes tour down Parker River National Wildlife Refuge covering one of the most talked about topics today. Stops will be made along the way to show and discuss the affects that climate change has had, and will have, on Plum Island, the salt marsh and wildlife. Refuge staff will be happy to address participants' questions about climate change. Program limited to 8 participants. Meet the program leader in the lobby of the visitor center 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Preregistration required for this program.
Birding the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Saturday, April 27th, 9:00 -10:30 a.m.
Meet Park Ranger Bill Isaacson for an informative birding tour on the refuge. This tour will concentrate on warbler identification, on the habits and habitats of local birds, and where to go to maximize bird viewing opportunities. This tour is limited to 8 people. Please wear sturdy shoes and proper outerwear. Some walking will be required. Binoculars are available for use if participants do not have their own. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the refuge visitor center by 8:45 a.m. Preregistration is required for this program.
Wind, Weather, Ice & Everything Nice
(And By That, We Mean Ice Cream!)
Sunday, April 28th, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
How do clouds form? What is the wind? Why do we put salt on icy roads in the winter? Join us for fun science experiments for kids investigating wind, weather, and ice. Create a cloud in a jar! Make a take-home weather vane. Best of all, experiment with making your own ice cream in a bag (a taste treat and a science experiment in one!). This program is for family participation: children 5 years and older with a parent, grandparent, or caregiver. Adults must stay with their children. Maximum of 10 children. Program will take place in the visitor center classroom. Preregistration required.
These Visitor Center Exhibits Change Monthly:
Artist of the Month Gallery: Each month a different photographer or artist displays their nature and/or wildlife-related fine art in the refuge visitor center auditorium.
Photographic Society Slide Show: Just inside the visitor center's front door is a large video monitor that displays the latest nature and wildlife-themed slide show that was produced by members of the refuge's very own photo club. A new slide show, set to music, and focusing on a unique theme, is produced each month.