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Leap year gives us an extra day to love wildlife refuges

Happy leap day! Once every four years, we get an extra day to visit a wildlife refuge or share why we love these special places. From biking on an island, to seeing fluorescent green swamps to relaxing by a gentle spring and more, below are some of the activities our staff and Facebook and Twitter friends enjoy doing:

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Fla.

“I first witnessed a loggerhead sea turtle emerge from the ocean, doggedly drag herself toward the dunes to dig a nest and lay her eggs before returning to the sea. It was incredible to witness. That experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.” –Taylor Trench, intern for the Refuge Association

Green sea turtle returning to the Atlantic Ocean after nesting at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. | Vince Lamb
Green sea turtle returning to the Atlantic Ocean after nesting at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. | Vince Lamb

 

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nev.

“I walk to the bubbling springs to watch the pupfish and just sit and listen to the amazing number of birds in the surrounding trees and shrubs.” –Gail Edington, via Facebook

Kings Pool at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nev. | Cyndi Souza/USFWS
Kings Pool at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nev. | Cyndi Souza/USFWS

 

Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge in Ga.

“It’s a relatively unspoiled barrier island off the coast of Georgia that is accessible only by boat. Once there, you can only travel the island on foot or bicycle. Blackbeard is a beautiful mosaic of beach, dune, maritime forest, uplands and wetlands. Exploring the island is like being in a time warp.” –Mark Musaus, regional representative, Southeast region for the Refuge Association

Sunset over one of Blackbeard's trails. These pathways are typically framed by saw palmetto and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. | Molly Martin/USFWS
Sunset over one of Blackbeard’s trails. These pathways are typically framed by saw palmetto and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. | Molly Martin/USFWS

 

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in S.C.

“Built in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, it is a beautiful place to see a variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, dolphins, endangered loggerhead sea turtles and red wolves. If you are looking for a moment of solitude outside of the city be sure to travel to Bulls Island off the coast of the refuge.” Sean Carnell, Spirit Campaign manager for the Refuge Association

“The staff was kind and approachable and so passionate about their work. I took a boat to Bulls Island, which was diverse in scenery — there were fluorescent green swamps, vast ocean beaches and everything seemed untouched, like we were the first souls to step foot there.” –Anya Toka, development associate for the Refuge Association

Bulls Island at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in S.C.  | Anya Tokar
Bulls Island at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in S.C. | Anya Tokar

 

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in Calif.

“There’s nothing like spending a cold February morning watching swans parachute onto a frozen lake at Lower Klamath.” –Ron Cole, Western programs manager for the Refuge Association

Swans at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in Calif. | USFWS
Swans at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge in Calif. | USFWS

 

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in N.Y.

“I am 78 and have a knee issues that prevents me from walking far. These refuges have fantastic drive routes where I can get wildlife pictures up close and personal.”  –Vivian E. Clark, via Facebook

Muskrat eating cattail at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in N.Y. | Dave Spier
Muskrat eating cattail at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in N.Y. | Dave Spier

 

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in N.C.

“Seeing my first flock of white ibis at Pea Island turned me into a committed birder.”  –David Gorsline (@DavidGorsline), via Twitter

Juvenile white ibis | Jack Rogers
Juvenile white ibis | Jack Rogers

 

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Fla.

“I like the ecosystem diversity at St. Marks–from upland sandhills all the way to coastal salt marshes and just about everything in between.” –Nick Barys, via Facebook

“It’s an awesome site for birding, and a great place to get in nature and see all kinds of wildlife. It’s my escape from the grind of daily life.” –Pam Overmyer, via Facebook

Flock of brown pelicans at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. | David Moynahan
Flock of brown pelicans at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Fla. | David Moynahan

 

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Fla.

“I’ve been going since I was very young, and some of my best memories are of camping, canoeing and fishing in the mangrove islands with family and friends.” –Julie Morris, Florida and Gulf Coast programs manager for the Refuge Association

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Fla. | Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Fla. | Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2016/02/an-extra-day-to-love-wildlife-refuges/

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