This week, National Wildlife Refuge Week celebrates the beauty and value of National Wildlife Refuges (NWR’s) all over the United States. Less than an hour northwest of Austin, Balcones Canyonlands NWR bathes the Hill Country landscape in untouched beauty. At least a third of Texas’ threatened and endangered species live in or migrate through this Refuge!
To end National Wildlife Refuge Week, Balcones Canyonlands is hosting an outdoor celebration this Saturday that is free and open to the public.
What You’ll Experience at National Wildlife Refuge Week Celebration
Austin is lovely. But there’s nothing like escaping the city – any city – and high-tailing it for the wilderness. The National Wildlife Refuge Week Celebration boasts an entire day of planned activities for families, students, outdoor enthusiasts and naturalist newbies.
Here’s the schedule for the day:
9-10 AM: Water Wonders Walk
9-10:30 AM: Birds and Butterflies
9 AM-12 PM: Hiking Ancient Seabeds
9:30-10:30 AM: Native Grasses Walk
10-11:15 AM: Walking Stick Walk
10-11:15 AM: The Spider Walk
11:30 AM-12 PM: Fly! Fly! Fly! (Monarch migration presented by Lucas Miller, author and children’s performer)
12:15-1 PM: Snakes Alive!
1:15-3 PM: Native Medicinal and Edible Plants
1:15-2:30 PM: Walking Stick Walk
1:15-2:30 PM: The Spider Walk
2-4 PM: Nature Photography Workshop for Adults (pre-registration required)
2:30-4 PM: Nature Walk
The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is home to unique water creatures, migrating hawks, and probably migrating Monarchs at this time of year. These special Texas creatures will be hopping/flying/running around this Saturday. Oh, and don’t miss the butterfly tent!
The forecast for Saturday is mostly sunny, so we shouldn’t have to worry about rain.
No matter the weather, you should take along comfortable hiking shoes, binoculars, your camera and drinking water.
Food will not be provided on site, but you can bring your own. Marble Falls is about 15 minutes away if you want to go off-site for lunch (I highly recommend Bella Sera – yum!).
Pets are not allowed on the Refuge.
The Celebration is being held at Doeskin Ranch on RR 1174, which runs through the Refuge. If you’re coming from FM 1431, which runs along the south side of the Refuge, go north on RR 1174. If you’re coming from Hwy 29, you’ll go south on RR 1174. You’ll see Doeskin Ranch on the east side of the road.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge isn’t far from Austin, and it’s a beautiful drive to get out there. This weekend’s event is a wonderful excuse to get away and learn about amazing wildlife that lives right in our backyard.
Which one of Saturday’s events looks most fun to you?
Photos via Flickr CC, courtesy of Mike Abney, Valerie Hinojosa, Matthew High and Susan Heller.