NEWBURYPORT – The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island has listed a number of programs for December.

Behind the Scenes Refuge Tour: Held on the days of Saturday, Dec. 1, at 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 7, at 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, Dec. 8, at 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 14, at 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 17, at 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, Dec. 22, at 9:30 a.m.; Saturday, Dec. 29, at 9:30 a.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 30, at 1 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 look at the refuge through the 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 four individuals per sign-up. Advance registration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation call from a refuge staff member. Call 978-465-5753 to register.

“Photo Safari” at the Ipswich River Sanctuary: Saturday, Dec. 1, at 9 a.m.

Join members of the refuge’s Photographic Society for an informal, camera-centric exploration of this Massachusetts Audubon Society conservation area in Topsfield. As with all of the “photo safaris,” participants will walk the trails looking for all manner of “Kodak moments.”

All those interested in participating should plan to meet-up in the sanctuary’s parking lot no later than 9 a.m. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather. If this program is cancelled due to weather concerns an announcement will be made on the Photographic Society’s Facebook page no later than 7 a.m. on Saturday:

For further information about the Ipswich River Sanctuary, visit There is no preregistration for this program.

Improving Your Photos with Adobe Photoshop: Saturday, Dec. 1, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

As good as today’s cameras are, all digital photos can benefit from some basic image editing on a computer. And, while there are many image editing software programs “out there,” Adobe Photoshop remains one of the best and most commonly used editors. During this decidedly informal program, Ranger Matt Poole will demonstrate a variety of common improving-edits including cropping, contrast, color saturation, rotation/leveling, sharpening, and resizing. This program will take place in the refuge visitor center’s auditorium. No preregistration for this program.

Winter Wildlife Movie Series: Enjoy some particularly wonderful winter wildlife-themed films on the big screen in the comfort of the refuge visitor center’s awesome auditorium for free. See for yourself the cinematic experience created by our state-of-the-art laser projector, with surround sound. The following films will be shown on the following dates. No preregistration, simply show up.

Magic of the Snowy Owl: Sunday, Dec. 9, at 1:30 p.m. Throughout the long months of the Arctic’s frozen winter the sun remains below the horizon. The cold is intensified by the darkness, making life here difficult, if not impossible, for all but the toughest and most experienced of animals. Snowy owls are built for the challenge, their every sense and skill honed to take on the eerie, bleak world.

And when the brief Arctic summer approaches, bringing light back to the tundra, they embark upon an even more daunting challenge than keeping themselves alive. They breed and attempt to raise young in one of the harshest environments on the planet. Once summer arrives, they will have just 82 days of sunlight to successfully raise a family of helpless owlets until they are ready and able to fly. (Approximately one hour)

Snowbound, Animals in Winter: Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1:30 p.m. The coldest and snowiest places on earth pose a challenge to anyone visiting such locations as the Arctic Circle or Antarctica, but what about the year-round animal population? How do they cope for many months with life in these frozen wonderlands where temperatures can plummet to as low as minus 50 degrees? Gordon Buchanan, a wildlife cameraman used to filming in frigid lands around the globe, explains how creatures like the wolf, Arctic fox, bison, reindeer, lynx, weasel, polar bear, penguin, Weddell seal, and woolly bear caterpillar adapt to their surroundings or employ clever tactics to survive. (Approximately one hour)

Christmas in Yellowstone: Sunday, Dec. 23, at 1:30 p.m. As snow falls and Christmas lights glow in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a holiday season of a different sort settles over the great winter world of Yellowstone, America’s first national park and one of the greatest expanses of unspoiled nature and wildlife anywhere on Earth. Breathtaking landscapes frame intimate scenes as Yellowstone’s diverse animal residents make their way through the most challenging season of the year, when nature’s inhospitality is matched only by its serenity. (Approximately one hour)

Nelson Island Tour: Sunday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 23; both sessions are from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Explore another part of the refuge, this time, on the mainland. Join a ranger for a tour of a beautiful spot that few people visit: Nelson Island. Learn about the history of this little known refuge jewel. If weather and tide permits, participants will take a very short walk along the marsh. (Muddy, wet areas are possible, so rubber boots are recommended.) Consider bringing binoculars and/or a camera. Preregistration is required for this program.