, Newburyport, MA

February 1, 2014

Programs at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Newburyport Daily News

---- — Parker River National Wildlife Refuge will be offering the following free public programs during the month of February. Many of the refuge programs require preregistration. Registrations are not confirmed until the registrant receives a phone call from a member of the refuge staff. Anyone having a question about a refuge program is asked to contact the refuge at 978-465-5753.

“Up Close and Personal” Refuge Tour

Saturday, Feb. 1, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Feb. 2, 1 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 5, 1 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 9, 1 p.m.; Monday, Feb. 10, 1 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 15, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Feb. 16, 1 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 21, 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, Feb. 22, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m.; and Friday, Feb. 28, 9:30 a.m.

Join a refuge ranger for an “up close and personal” tour of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. The tour will be conducted via refuge van, with several brief “drive by” stops along the way. The tour will provide an “insider’s” perspective of 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. 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 10 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. Enrollment is limited. Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. Call 978-465-5753; to register for this program.

Making Tracks: Learning to Read Wildlife Clues

Sunday, Feb. 2, 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

If you have ever seen tracks in the snow, sand, or soil and were curious about what made them, then this is the program for you. Refuge staff will lead participants through the basics of identifying common animals through the clues that they leave behind. A brief introduction to animal tracks and sign in the visitor contact station will be followed by time spent outdoors on the Refuge where we will look for tracks and attempt to determine their owner’s identity. This is a program for beginners, so parents are encouraged to bring their children 10 and older. Dress appropriately for cold and damp weather. Meet the ranger at the visitor contact station (located on the Refuge at Lot 1) ten minutes prior to the program start time. Registration is required as the program is limited to 10 participants.

Merrimack River Eagle Festival

Saturday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Once again the refuge is partnering with the Massachusetts Audubon Society at Joppa Flats to celebrate the local presence of wintering American bald eagles. The refuge visitor center will host a variety of fun, hands-on activities that include making an eagle magnet, dissecting owl pellets, and creating a colorful eagle habitat mural that will later be featured on the refuge’s web site. In addition to these fun activities, visitors will be able to view two live owls from Drumlin Farm. At 1:30 p.m., and in conjunction with the refuge’s Photographic Society, wildlife photographer Shawn Carey will wow the audience with his images of Massachusetts wildlife in our auditorium. Free. Registration is not required.

The Photographic Society of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, Feb. 8, at 1:30 p.m. in the visitor center auditorium

Wildlife photographer Shawn Carey of Migration Productions will be the featured speaker, and will discuss, “Photographing Birds and other Wildlife in Massachusetts: Where, When and How.”

The Photographic Society welcomes anyone who has an interest in nature, wildlife, and/or photography – whether a total novice or a professional. The club meets every month, generally on the second Saturday afternoon. Club activities include special presentations, slide shows (of members’ work), intra-club mentoring and training, photo shoots, on-line photo sharing, and involvement in the refuge’s various photography-related programs, events, and outreach activities. Registration is not required to attend this program. Call 978-465-5753 for more information.