, Newburyport, MA

April 27, 2013

Programs at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Newburyport Daily News

---- — The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is offering the following free programs. Space may be limited, and advance registration is required for all programs, unless otherwise indicated. Call 978-465-5753 to register. Registration is not complete until you receive confirmation from a staff member. Note that outdoor programs may be canceled if there is inclement weather. Visit us on the Web for more information at or call refuge headquarters. The refuge visitor center is at 6 Plum Island Turnpike.

“Behind the Scenes” Refuge Tour

Saturdays, May 4, 11, 18 at 9:30 am; Sundays, May 5, 12, 19 at 1 p.m.

Tours last approximately 2 hours.

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 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 headquarters visitor center. Each session is limited to 10 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. Advance registration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited.

Bird Photography 101

Saturday, May 4, 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Have you ever tried to photograph birds and been frustrated with your results? Join Nancy Landry, avid bird photographer and refuge volunteer, for a walk along one of the refuge’s trails, during which she will share tips for finding and photographing our fleeting, feathered friends. This program is suitable for adults and teenagers age 14 and older with an interest in this subject matter.

Participants should have either a digital single lens reflex camera or a “point and shoot” type camera (with an electric view finder and minimum 10X zoom lens). Binoculars and a birding guide are suggested, but optional. Meet in the Refuge’s Hellcat Trail parking area.

Enrollment limited to 10 people. Registration is required.

Hellcat Birding for Kids

Sunday, May 5; Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 26, 8 to 9:30 a.m.

May is a very busy time of year for birds migrating through our area. Join refuge volunteers for a guided bird walk, during which the goal will be hear, see, and learn about some of these fascinating feathery migrants.

This new program is specifically intended for and limited to children ages 9 to 12. No prior birding knowledge or experience is required. Participants are welcome to bring binoculars and/or field guides. Program enrollment is limited to 6 children. Participating children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Plan to arrive at the Hellcat Parking Lot by 7:50 a.m. Program will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Registration is required.

Nature Kids: What is Wild?

Tuesday, May 7, 11 a.m. to noon

A fun new class geared towards 4 to 6 year-olds. This class will be run by one of our dedicated volunteers, who is a retired school teacher.

The theme will be “What is wild and what isn’t?” Children will learn to differentiate between wild and domestic living things. Some activities will take place outdoors, weather permitting. A parent or guardian must be present throughout the entire program. Meet in the refuge visitor center classroom. Registration is required.

Whip-poor-will Walk

Saturdays, May 11 and May 18; 7 p.m.

Have you even heard a strange bird singing in the background 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 song of the Whip-poor-will and other nighttime birds. Participants will meet at the deck of the visitor contact station at the refuge’s Parking Lot 1. Dress appropriately for weather conditions. Reregistration is required.

Photographic Society of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m.

A new nature and wildlife photography club has formed at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. This club is intended for anyone — from beginners to professionals — who have an interest in nature and photography. The club meets once each month, generally on the second Saturday afternoon. Club activities include slide shows of members’ work, intra-club mentoring and training, photo shoots, on-line photo sharing, and involvement in the refuge’s photography-related programming and outreach work.

The meeting will start promptly at 1:30 p.m. in the refuge visitor center auditorium.

Registration is not required. Call 978-465-5753 for more information.

Flights of Fancy: Purple Martins 101

Sunday, May 12, 11 a.m. to noon

Learn about this interesting and important bird species that relies entirely on humans for its “housing.”

This talk will focus on their natural history, declining populations, and the ways to help with purple martin conservation. Meet on the deck of the visitor contact station at Parking Lot 1. Registration is not required.

Nature Kids: Fabulous Frogs!

Tuesday, May 21, 11:00 am to Noon

This session will focus on frogs, a sure sign of spring. The life cycle of one of the most common amphibians will be explored through models, stories, games, and movement activities. Class size limited to 10 children (4 to 6 years old). A parent or guardian must be present throughout the entire program. Meet in the refuge visitor center classroom. Registration is required.