Nisqually refuge offers guided nature walks

Staff reportApril 27, 2014 

A hooded merganser leaves only a gentle wake on a pond near the Twins Barns at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. That is just one of the scenes people might see during a guided walk offered weekends at the refuge.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF FILE, 2012

People visiting the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge can take part in a guided walk on weekends. The walks offer participants an insight into the animals, plants and history of the refuge.

The walks take place on the refuge’s trails, considered beginner level because they are smooth with no elevation. Participants should plan on wearing comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. They can bring binoculars or check them out from the visitor center.

The programs are open to the public and free of charge, but the $3 refuge entrance fee still applies. Participants are reminded that pets are not allowed in the refuge.

For more information, call the refuge at 360-753-9467.

Here is the schedule for the coming months:

Today

Our Amazing Plant World: 1-2:30 p.m. This is a good time to experience the diversity of the refuge’s plant life. Sally Vogel will lead this nature walk while talking about about plant-insect interactions, adaptations for survival and other interesting facts. Meet at the flagpole in front of the visitor center.

May 3

Birds of a Feather-Take Flight on a Bird Walk: 9-11 a.m. Experienced birder Phil Kelley leads this walk full of the sights and sounds of the birds at the refuge. Meet at the landing overlooking the pond at the visitor center.

It’s in Your Nature-Sights and Sounds of Spring: 1-2:30 p.m. Take in the bird songs and sightings, and flowering native plants found on the refuge during spring. Learn about the variety of natural wonders during a walk around the Twin Barns Loop Trail with naturalist Juni Greenough. Meet in the visitor center.

May 10

Birds of a Feather: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be plenty of birds to see with spring migration in full swing. Experienced birder Eric Slagle will lead this walk. Meet at the landing overlooking the pond.

May 11

Our Amazing Plant World: 1-2:30 p.m. Vogel will lead this walk. Meet at the flagpole in front of the visitor center.

May 17

Birds of a Feather: 8:30 a.m.-noon. You might have the chance to see a peregrine falcon or hear a woodpecker. Experienced birder David Richardson will lead this walk. Meet at the pond overlook.

May 18

The Nisqually and Medicine Creek-Where Nature, Culture and History Converge: 1-2:30 p.m. Explore how the Nisqually people came to the Nisqually River Delta, how their lives changed with the settlement by Europeans and about the events surrounding the signing of the Medicine Creek Treaty. Lynn Corliss leads this walk. Meet at the flagpole.

May 24

It’s in Your Nature: 10 a.m.-noon. Naturalists Art Pavey, Jan Kramer and Cheri Greenwood will lead this nature walk that will explore the natural splendor of the refuge. Meet in the visitor center.

May 25

It’s in Your Nature: 10-11:30 a.m. Naturalist Sonna Snow will look at the big picture, explaining the links between insects, plants, amphibians, birds and animals. Meet in the visitor center.

May 31

Birding Basics-Learning to See: 9-11 a.m. Refuge ranger Michael Schramm will guide participants through the estuary’s habitats, all while teaching the ins and outs of birding at the refuge. Bring your binoculars. Meet at the pond overlook.

June 7

Birds of a Feather: 8:30 a.m.-noon. Richardson will lead this walk. Meet at the pond overlook.

It’s in Your Nature: 1-2:30 p.m. Greenough is leading this walk. Meet in the visitor center.

June 8

The Nisqually and Medicine Creek: 1-2:30 p.m. Meet Corliss at the flagpole.

June 14

Birds of a Feather: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Experienced birder Eric Slagle will lead this walk. Meet at the pond overlook.

June 21

It’s in Your Nature: 10 a.m.-noon. Will be led by Pavey, Kramer and Greenwood. Meet in the visitor center.

June 28

It’s in Your Nature: 9:30 a.m.-noon. Naturalist Susan Wineke will lead this walk. Meet in the visitor center.

The schedule for guided weekend walks during the summer will be released later this spring.

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