The rolling plains and scattered wetlands of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge in Montana were created by receding glaciers more than 12,000 years ago. Today, these lands and waters serve as habitat for a great variety of wildlife, especially migrating waterfowl. Depending on the season, the sky can hold a lone eagle, fill with waves of tundra swans or show dramatic sunset colors. Photo by Christal Steele (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides feeding, resting and nesting habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds. The refuge includes more than 4,700 acres of diverse habitats – from sandy beaches and dunes to cranberry bogs, maritime forests and freshwater marshes. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. It’s a great place to see your favorite birds as the fall migrations begin. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware was established in 1937 as a link in a chain of refuges extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge protects one of the largest remaining tidal salt marshes in the region, which serves as a vital feeding and resting place for migratory birds. Wildlife can be seen year round at Bombay Hook, but spring and fall offer the best opportunity to observe large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds. Photo by Tim Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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.
A maze of meandering bayous and rippling marshes, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana occupies over 125,000 acres of waters and wetlands. Providing habitat for an impressive variety of birds, the refuge is also a vibrant nursery to shrimp, blue crab and numerous fish species. Boardwalks and hiking paths allow visitors to explore the area. On sunny days, it’s common to see alligators resting by the water. Photo by Colleen Stringer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
On foggy mornings, an eerie calm falls over Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. The water is still and the air is thick. With 48,000 acres of forests, fields and waters, the refuge is excellent habitat for eagles, alligators and the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Visitors enjoy fishing, hunting, hiking, and wildlife photography and observation. The refuge also serves as an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Golden sunrise light streams through the pinelands at Everglades National Park in Florida. Across the park’s 1.5 million acres, thick forests transition to wide wetlands and coastal lowlands; each distinct ecosystem dependent on water conditions and a few inches of elevation. On your next adventure, explore these different lands and waters in search of your perfect Everglades moment. Photo courtesy of Andrew R. Slaton.
Want to escape the winter cold? South Florida offers some amazing public lands getaways. Don’t miss sunrise at Big Cypress National Preserve. The orange light shimmers on the wetlands as a terrific variety of wildlife greets the morning. You’ll forget all about the snow at home. Photo by National Park Service.
You won’t see much snow at Merced National Wildlife Refuge in California, but you can see a whole lot of snow geese. The refuge’s wetlands attract large numbers of migratory birds throughout the winter. Living in large groups, they watch out for each other as they forage for stems, grains and berries. Sunset photo by Joanne Freemire (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Covering over 400,000 acres in southeast Georgia, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest intact freshwater ecosystems in the world. The swamp is home to over 600 plant species and provides habitat for an amazing variety of amphibians and birds. You can also see black bears and of course, American alligators. Here’s one swimming towards a rainbow. Photo by Sarah Wyatt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.