Spring is upon us, and we have some wonderful programs in store. Exploring Nature walks and scavenger hunts, a matinee movie series and a new piping plover workshop. Fun can be had by all ages out on our refuge.

All programs are free, but space is limited, and advance registration is required for all programs, unless otherwise indicated. Call 978-465-5753 to register.

Registration is not complete until confirmation is received from a staff member. Outdoor programs may be canceled if there is inclement weather. For more information, visit the Web site http://parkerriver.fws.gov.

The refuge visitor center is located at 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport.

Annual Refuge Beach Cleanup: Saturday, March 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., all ages. The plovers are coming. Let's give them a great place to nest and rest and do something great for Mother Earth. Join us for our Annual Spring Beach Cleanup! You bring the gloves, and we'll supply the trash bags. All are welcome, and the plovers thank you! Meet at Refuge Parking Lot 1. No registration required.

Piping Plover Workshop: Saturday, April 3, 10-11:30 a.m., age 10 and up. Come and learn about this amazing bird. Together we will discuss the natural history of the piping plover, participate in some plover activities, and even help to make a plover display. That display will be used to educate others about this bird listed by the federal government as a threatened species, as well as what we do to help it. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center.

Matinee Movie Series — "The Discovery Channel's Planet Earth: Tuesday, April 6, 1 p.m. Enjoy the final parts of this amazing six-part series depicting captivating images and fascinating information about 11 different biomes on our planet. No registration required. All shows are free, but space is limited to the capacity of our auditorium. This showing will last approximately 1.5 hours and be shown at our Refuge Visitor Center. (Due to the sophisticated nature of movie content, these movies may not be suitable for all audiences.)

April is Avian Film Month. This means we're showing movies about birds. Every Tuesday at 1 p.m.

April 13: "Pale Male," the story of a red-tailed hawk that has won the affection of city dwellers in Manhattan. Against all odds, this hawk has found himself a most unusual home. 56 minutes.

April 20: "Winged Migration." This film examines the lives of birds from a unique perspective. Find out what it's like to fly like a bird on an incredible journey. 98 minutes.

April 27: "March of the Penguins." Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this film records the arduous journey emperor penguins must make each year to ensure their species survival. 80 minutes.

Due to the sophisticated nature of movie content, these movies may not be suitable for all audiences. No registration required. All shows are free, but space is limited to the capacity of our auditorium.

Nature Tots: Busy Bees: Friday, April 9, 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-2 p.m., ages 3-5. If you've ever eaten an apple, chances are you have a very busy honeybee to thank. Introduce your preschooler to the buzzing world of honeybees through games, stories, songs, crafts and more in this fun, interactive program. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center.

North Atlantic Salmon and their Merrimack Migration: Saturday, April 10, noon-1:30 p.m. You may have seen the aquarium in our visitor center and wanted to know more about the eggs inside. Come learn about these amazing fish as refuge staff teach about the life cycle and natural history of these travelers of the Merrimack. No registration required for this presentation. It will take place in our Refuge Visitor Center Auditorium, and space will be limited to its capacity.

Plant Study for Homeschoolers: Wednesday, April 14, 10 a.m.-noon, ages 6-10. Come learn about the plants native to our area, how they're adapted to the environment, how they're beneficial for wildlife, and some of their common uses in this fun, interactive homeschool program. This program will include both indoor and outdoor activities, so dress for the weather. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center.

Signs of Spring — Exploring Nature Walk: Saturday, April 17, 1:30-3 p.m., all ages. Red-winged blackbird calls and skunky smells in the air. Spring is here and we want to meet it face to face. Join us on a nature walk while we look for wildlife and signs of spring. Bring your binoculars and field guides and dress appropriately for the weather. Meet at Refuge Parking Lot 1.

Woodcock Walk: Thursday, April 22, and Tuesday, April 27, 7-8:30 p.m., all ages. Every spring, the American woodcock attracts a mate by singing its heart out at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Join us for an evening display of the woodcock's song and sky dance! Dress for the weather, and meet at Refuge Parking Lot 4 (Hellcat interpretive area).

Salt Marsh Madness! Friday, April 23, 1-2:30 p.m., ages 6-9. Did you know that Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is part of the largest salt marsh north of Long Island sound? Explore the amazing world of the salt marsh and meet its adaptive inhabitants in this fun, interactive program. This program will include both indoor and outdoor activities so dress for the weather. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center.

Earth Day Family Scavenger Hunt: Saturday, April 24, from noon-4 p.m. All ages. Celebrate Earth Day by reconnecting your family to the outdoors. Stop by our visitor center to pick up a refuge "Scavenger Hunt" and go out to explore. Bring a completed scavenger hunt back to the visitor center and get a prize. No registration required.

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