December Flyer E-Newsletter


Malheur NWR, OR |  Jim Maloney

During this season of giving, please don’t forget to renew your support for the National Wildlife Refuge Association with a tax-deductible donation!  NWRA is a small organization that delivers big results – but we can’t do it without your support, large or small.

Our 2012 accomplishments are highlighted in our new Annual Report, now available online.  We hope you will browse through the report and be inspired to support NWRA.  With a small staff and a budget of just $2 million, your dollar has a direct impact on our ability to deliver conservation results.

Thank you for the outstanding response to our action alerts throughout the year and for lending your voice to take a stand for America’s wildlife.  We look forward to the challenges and successes ahead in 2013.

How To Support NWRA:

* Donate online

* Send a check to NWRA, 5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 521, Washington, DC 20015

* Contact us at 202-417-3803

* ‘Like’ us on Facebook


The National Wildlife Refuge System is the most extensive and diverse network of lands devoted to wildlife conservation in the world. Stretching from the Marianas Trench, 6.8 miles below sea level, to the Arctic Circle, the Refuge System has it all. This holiday season let the Refuge System be your playground at these ten American wonders…

National Elk Refuge, WY | FWS

1. Get your singing voice ready for a round of “Jingle Bells” during a horse-drawn sleigh ride through National Elk Refuge in Jackson, WY. You and thousands of your closest elk friends will enjoy an hour-long scenic ride at the base of the snowy Teton Range. Frequently sighted along with these reindeer cousins are bison, coyotes, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, ravens, and magpies. Sleigh rides run daily through the end of March, weather permitting. Click here for more information visit.

Nowitna NWR, AK | Keith Ramos

2. You can’t get any closer to Santa’s workshop than Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. At 19 million acres, Arctic NWR is the largest terrestrial refuge in the System. (If you want to visit the largest overall, check out #6.) And speaking of superlatives, it is also the coldest, darkest and most wild place in the United States during the winter months. Temperatures average -30 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun never rises above the horizon – however, if you can handle the cold, you can experience the spectacular Northern Lights.

Tamarac NWR, MN | Richard Henry

3. From one of the most remote refuges to one of the most accessible – after snagging the best holiday deals at Mall of America in Bloomington, MN head out the back door to Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.Although these two attractions share the same zip code, at Minnesota Valley NWR you will find a haven for wetland and floodplain forest wildlife including migratory waterfowl, fish, river otters, and bald eagles. The refuge is part of a 70-mile corridor along the Minnesota River and has ample opportunities for environmental education and wildlife recreation.

Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT | James Perdue

4. Calling all cross-country skiers. Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is part of a 5 million acre winter wonderland in southwest Montana. With open water supporting recovering trumpeter swan populations and an uninterrupted valley for mass elk, pronghorn, and moose migrations, wildlife is aplenty. Experience the Centennial Valley as wildlife see it by following tracks to the headwaters of the Missouri River, home to the native Arctic Grayling. Red Rock Lakes NWR is accessible from the Jackson, WY or Missoula, MT areas.

Kilauea Point NWR, HI | Ray Stainfield

5. Not interested in snow this holiday season? Don’t worry. Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Kauai, HI has all the sun and crystal blue water you’re looking for. Dramatic ocean cliffs, a picturesque lighthouse, the remains of an extinct volcano and abundant wildlife – its a photographer’s paradise. From red-footed boobies, Laysan albatrosses, great frigatebirds and  Hawaiian nenes flying overhead and nesting literally at your feet to Hawaiian monk seals and humpback whales cavorting in the adjacent Marine Sanctuary, you won’t want to leave. There will be no chestnuts roasting over an open fire here, so don’t forget to shop at the nature store operated by the Kilauea Point Natural History Association and send postcards!

Marianas Trench NWR | FWS

6. Be the first to experience 2013 at the largest national wildlife refuge in the nation, the Mariana Trench National Wildlife Refuge. Located just over the date line and 3,520 miles west-southwest of Honolulu Hawaii, Mariana Trench NWR is the only completely submerged refuge in the System and covers over 50 million acres – but the acres are on the ocean floor! Human activity is limited to scientific data collection, mostly conducted in robotic submersibles due to the pressure associated with depth. And in the event you’re lucky enough to snag a ride in one of these submersibles, don’t expect to see too much familiar wildlife—the ocean floor is covered with biogenous “ooze”, detritus from shells and microscopic plankton.

Maine Coastal Islands NWR, ME | Dr. Rebecca Holberton

7. If heading to the South Pacific isn’t possible, but you still want to be the first to hail in the new year, watch the sun rise on the continental U.S. at one of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges. Get your puffin on by watching these adorable seabirds as well as wading birds and bald eagles nest on the islands where visitors are encouraged to appropriately experience all the rocky shores have to offer. Come prepared for hiking, bird watching, photography, and unpredictable weather. Click here for more information about bird watching activities and boat tours of the islands.

Ash Meadows NWR, NV | Cyndi Souza

8. Looking for a little rest and relaxation after a wild night in Las Vegas? Head over to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, located less than 90 miles northwest of the Strip, for a New Year’s Day picnic. This desert oasis boasts incredible wetlands and warm crystal clear springs with a variety of plant and animal life. Over 24 species found nowhere else in the world live in the Ash Meadows NWR habitat, which is the greatest concentration of endemic species in a local area in the United States. 

Santa Ana NWR, TX |  Jim Burns

9. Head down to the southern tip of Texas to America’s tropical paradise at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Neotropical avian migrants make a pit stop here on their way to Central America as they soar down the Central and Mississippi Flyways. In addition to some of the best winter birding in the world, half of all butterfly species in North America take residence for a period of time at Santa Ana NWR. See all that the refuge has to offer with an afternoon canoe trip down the Rio Grande or a ride on the Nature Tram, both led by the Friends of South Texas National Wildlife Refuges.

Crystal River NWR, FL |  Carol Grant

10. Your friends will be really impressed when you tell them your first kiss in 2013 was with 1,000 lbs of manatee. At Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Florida manatees, a subspecies of the endangered West Indiana manatee, flock to the warm springs and shallow waters of the headwaters of the Crystal River. During winter months the water stays at a refreshing 72 degrees and attracts hundreds of manatees. Visitors are welcome to snorkel with the manatees, but are encouraged to contact a local dive shop before arriving at the refuge.


Protecting America’s Wildlife, NWRA’s 2012 Annual Report, highlights accomplishments from the last fiscal year. From our Beyond the Boundaries program which focuses on landscape based conservation efforts to creating a new capacity building tool for Friends to advocacy in Washington, DC, NWRA is here to support America’s wildlife and wild places through the National Wildlife Refuge System. Read the 2012 Annual Report here.

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