The sun sinks behind the horizon, coloring the sky a bright orange before night falls in South Florida. Big Cypress National Preserve protects 729,000 acres of unique freshwater swamp, offering refuge to a wide variety of plants and animals. From hardwood hammocks hiding rare Florida panthers to tidal estuaries teeming with birds and fish, there is so much to see in this wonderful place. Photo by National Park Service.
Skyline Drive curves around mountaintops and pushes through clouds at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. With plenty of spots to pull off and take in the view, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a mountain sunrise. The speed limit is 35 mph, so plan to take your time and make sure to watch for wildlife in the road. Photo by N. Lewis, National Park Service.
Today marks the 115th anniversary of the creation of the first national wildlife refuge at Pelican Island in Florida and the birth of the national wildlife refuge system. From Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge on the Atlantic to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific, over 550 wildlife refuges – many of them close to urban centers – protect an incredible array of wildlife and landscapes. Find a refuge near you. Photo of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia by Heather Bautista (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Famous for its place in space travel history, Canaveral National Seashore in Florida has wonders that are much easier to experience than the walking on the Moon. As high-tech rockets soar into space, sea turtles – one of the oldest animals still living on Earth – nest on a nearby beach. Walking paths lead visitors by more than 1,000 species of plants as exotic birds fly overhead. Mosquito Lagoon harbors an amazing variety of fish, oysters, crabs and shrimp. We also recommend settling in the sand and watching the sunset. Photo by Phillip Lott (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Within sight of the New York City skyline, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is an 18,000-acre wetland estuary bordered by Brooklyn and Queens. An area almost equal to the size of Manhattan, this stunning getaway consists of numerous islands, a labyrinth of waterways, meadowlands and two freshwater ponds. Part of Gateway National Recreation Area, the refuge provides an accessible and unique environment for both wildlife and urban recreation. Photo by Micael Fano (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Join us in celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. From humble beginnings, our 16th President rose to become one of the most influential figures in American history. Learn about his life and legacy at some of our nation’s historic sites: https://www.doi.gov/blog/walk-footsteps-abraham-lincoln. Photo of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall & Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. courtesy of Drew Geraci.
Along the lower reaches of the Columbia River in Washington, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge preserves unique habitat for wintering birds and other fascinating wildlife. Quiet and attentive visitors may be treated to the sight of a long tailed weasel running across a trail or a group of river otters playing in the water. Look out over distant fields and you might see a coyote hunting for rodents or a white tailed deer grazing watchfully. The refuge is a place where people can share a bond with nature, and each other, by passing on outdoor traditions to new generations. Sunset photo by Donna Torres (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Last night’s “super blue blood moon” was the second full moon of January and appeared 14 percent bigger than the usual full moon. The reddish color is an effect of the lunar eclipse, when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow. It’s the first time this has happened in 150 years. Did you see this rare and spectacular event? Photo from the Pony Express National Historic Trail in Nevada by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management. #SuperBlueBloodMoon
The craggy arms of a large, red mangrove stretch out to greet the morning sun at Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex. Rising above the water line on aerial prop roots and thriving on tropical coastlines, mangroves provide shelter for plants and animals. They’re just one of the many interesting sights you’ll see near the continental United States’s southernmost point. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Spreading across Long Valley in California, the Volcanic Tablelands are a vast and unique landscape formed 700,000 years ago. Small canyons and bluffs dot the mostly flat area, offering amazing night sky views. Carved into the gray, red and pink rocks are extraordinary petroglyphs, mysterious symbols created by Native Americans centuries ago. Archaeologists can only speculate on their meaning. Photo of Bureau of Land Management site by Brandon Yoshizawa (www.sharetheexperience.org).