NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

June 7, 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 June. 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.

Behind the Scenes Refuge Tour

Saturday, June 7, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, June 8, 1 p.m.; Saturday, June 14, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, June 15, 1 p.m.; Sunday, June 22, 1 p.m.; Saturday, June 28, 9:30 a.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 2-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 8 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. Advance registration is required.

Exploring the Refuge by Kayak

Friday, June 13, 10 a.m. and Wednesday, June 25, 9 a.m.

There is no better way to see and experience the refuge’s salt marsh than from the cockpit of your own kayak. Join a couple of refuge rangers for a 3-hour meander through the marsh and learn about some of its fascinating natural and cultural history. Program participants should have kayaking experience and need to provide their own kayak, paddle, and personal flotation device. Participant boats must be a minimum of 12 feet in length and have onboard flotation. It is recommended that participants provide their own insect repellant, sunscreen, water, snack food, and wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Meet the rangers at the refuge’s boat ramp, opposite Lot 1, 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Enrollment limited to 12 participants. Registration required.

Whip-poor-will Walk

Saturday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.

Have you ever heard a strange bird singing on the background soundtrack of a movie and wondered what it was? You may have been hearing the song of the whip-poor-will. Join Nancy Landry, refuge volunteer and avid birder, for an evening of listening for the distinctive song of the whip-poor-will (and for the songs of other nighttime birds, as well). Participants will meet at the visitor contact station at parking Lot 1 of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge at 7:30 p.m. Dress appropriately for weather conditions. Registration is required; enrollment limited to 15 people.

Refuge Bicycle Tours

Thursday, June 12, 9 a.m.; Wednesday, June 18, 9 a.m.; Friday, June 27, 9 a.m.

Experience the refuge from the unique perspective of your own bicycle. Starting at the visitor contact station at Lot 1, the ranger-led group will gradually make its way south along the paved portion of the refuge’s Wildlife Drive, stopping at various points along the way to view wildlife, hear stories of Plum Island’s past, and learn about the inner workings of a national wildlife refuge. This is an “out and back” tour. 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 bicycle, helmet, and water bottle. Meet the ranger on the deck of the visitor contact station. Participants may also wish to bring insect repellant, sun block, binoculars and/or a camera. Registration is required.

The Photographic Society of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, June 14 at 1:30 p.m. in the visitor center auditorium

The Photographic Society welcomes anyone who has an interest in nature, wildlife, and/or photography – whether you are a total novice or earn a living by taking pictures. 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, online photo sharing, and involvement in the refuge’s various photography-related programs, events, and outreach activities. Venue capacity is limited to 75 attendees (first-come, first-served). Admission to this program is free. Registration is not required.

‘Undercover with the Piping Plover’ – Managing a Threatened Species

Monday, June 16, 9 a.m. and Friday, June 27, 9 a.m.

The federally – threatened Atlantic coast piping plover nests and raises its young on Plum Island’s beaches from April through August. Join a refuge ranger for a chance to glimpse this native species in its wild habitat and to hear the story of how biologists work to conserve the plover under the Endangered Species Act. As conditions permit, participants will have an opportunity to view the plovers on the beach, from a safe distance, using a refuge-provided spotting scope. Participants are encouraged to bring a pair of binoculars, a spotting scope, and/or a camera. Meet the ranger on the deck of the visitor contact station at the refuge’s Lot 1. Program is appropriate for adults and older children. Each session is limited to 10 participants. Registration is required.

Tide Pool Discoveries

Friday, June 20, noon

For generations children have enjoyed exploring tide pools and discovering the fascinating plants and animals that live in this realm between the tides. A refuge ranger will guide this hands-on program. Appropriate for children age 5 to 10. Each session is limited to 15 children. Each session is 90 minutes long, allowing time for travel to and from the beach. Meet the ranger at the visitor contact station at Lot 1. Parent/guardian must remain with his/her child for the entire duration of this program. Registration is required.