NEWBURYPORT, MA — Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is pleased to announce the following free programs during the month of July at 6 Plum Island Turnpike in Newburyport, MA. All refuge programs are free, but space may be limited. Preregistration is required for all programs, unless otherwise indicated. Please call 978-465-5753. Please Note: If a program requires preregistration, your registration is not confirmed unless and until you receive a phone call or voice mail message from a member of the refuge staff.

BEACH DISCOVERIES: Wednesdays: July 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Join us this summer for a drop-in public program at parking lot 1. Come discover what makes Plum Island beaches special. Discover the sand under your feet, explore a wrack line, learn about the animals that call our beaches home, and meet some live beach creatures like sea stars, sea urchins, hermit crabs and moon snails provided by Joppa Flats Education Center’s Traveling Touch Tank. This is a drop-in program; preregistration is not required. The program is great for families and appropriate for all ages. In case of inclement weather, the program will be in the visitor contact station, next to the Lot 1 restrooms.

TIDE POOL DISCOVERIES: Mon., July 8 and Mon., July 22; both programs begin at 10:00 a.m. For generations, children have enjoyed exploring tide pools and discovering the fascinating plants and animals that live in this realm between the tides. A refuge ranger will guide this hands-on program. Appropriate for children age 5-10. Each session is limited to 15 children. Each session is 90 minutes long, allowing time for travel to and from the beach. Meet the ranger at the visitor contact station at parking lot 1. Parent/guardian must remain with his/her child for the entire duration of this program. Preregistration is required for this program.

BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR: Tues., July 9; Thurs., July 18; Tues., July 23; all sessions: 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour of Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in Newington. Participants will have an opportunity to visit areas of the refuge that are not normally open to the public. See a diversity of wildlife habitats while learning how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is managing this very special landscape for conservation. Consider bringing along binoculars and a camera. This is a vehicle-based tour, with limited stops on the refuge. This guided program is most appropriate for older teens and adults. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the Parker River NWR visitor center in Newburyport no later than 9:00 a.m. OR in the Great Bay NWR parking lot in Newington, no later than 9:45 a.m. (Indicate location you prefer at time of registration.) Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. Please note: Those who call and leave messages after hours, your registration is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation call from a refuge staff member. Please call 978-465-5753 to register for this program. Preregistration required. For directions to the refuge, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/Great_Bay/visit/plan_your_visit.html.

CONSERVATION CINEMA: "THE SERENGETI RULES": Tues., July 9 at 7:00 p.m. This film won the prestigious ACFF “Green Fire” award: Beginning in the 1960s, a small band of young scientists headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth—from the majestic Serengeti to the Amazon jungle, from the Arctic Ocean to Pacific tide pools—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. Now in the twilight of their eminent careers, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share the stories of their adventures, reveal how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head, and give us a chance to re-imagine the world as it could and should be. The film will be shown in the refuge visitor center’s very fine auditorium. (2017; film runtime: 84 minutes). No pre-registration for this program.

BICYCLE TOUR OF GREAT BAY NWR: Fri., July 12 and Fri., July 26; both sessions 9:00–11:30 a.m. Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour, by bicycle, of Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located in Newington, NH. Participants will have an opportunity to visit areas of the refuge that are not normally open to the public. See a diversity of habitats and learn how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is managing this very special landscape for wildlife. Cyclists will travel over generally level terrain on a combination of paved and unpaved surfaces. The distance covered will depend on how many stops are made and how much time is spent at each stop. Tour duration will be about 2 hours. Appropriate for adults and children age 16 or older. Each participant must provide either a hybrid or mountain bike, helmet, and water bottle. Insect repellant, sunblock, binoculars and/or a camera are optional (provided these items can be safely stowed while biking). Meet the ranger in the Great Bay NWR parking lot 15 minutes before the tour start time. Preregistration required. For directions to the refuge, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/Great_Bay/visit/plan_your_visit.htm.

BEHIND THE SCENES REFUGE TOUR OF PARKER RIVER NWR: Sat., July 13 at 9:30 a.m.; Sun., July 14 at 1:00 p.m.; Sun., July 21 at 1:00 p.m.; Sat., July 27 at 9:30 a.m.; Sun., July 28 at 1:00 p.m.; Tues., July 30 at 9:30 a.m. Join a refuge ranger for a behind the scenes tour of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Tour will be conducted via refuge van, with several brief “drive by” stops along the way. The tour will present an “up close and personal” look at the refuge through the multiple lenses of the cultural history of Plum Island and the Great Marsh, native wildlife and their habitats, and the role of refuge management in the conservation of these precious natural resources. Participants may be driven along areas on the refuge otherwise closed to the public. This guided two-hour program is most appropriate for older teens and adults. Binoculars and/or a camera are recommended, but not required. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the Refuge visitor center 15 minutes prior to the program start time. Each session is limited to 14 participants; no more than 4 individuals per sign-up. Again, this is a vehicle – based tour, with limited stops on the Refuge. Advance registration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. Be advised that individual tours may be subject to cancellation. Please call 978-465-5753; to register for this program.

NELSON ISLAND TOUR: Mon., July 15, 10:00–11:30 a.m. Explore another part of the refuge – this time, on the mainland. Join a ranger for a tour of a beautiful spot that few people visit: Nelson Island. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a nesting osprey. Learn about the history of this little known refuge jewel. If weather and tide permits, we’ll take a very short walk along the marsh. (Muddy, wet areas are possible so rubber boots are recommended.) Consider bringing binoculars and/or a camera. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the refuge visitor center 15 minutes prior to program start time. Preregistration required for this program.

PIPING PLOVER PROGRAM: Tues., July 16, 10:00-11:30 a.m. (rain date July 18): Join a refuge biologist for a trip to the beach and learn how our local piping plovers are doing this season, and what the refuge is doing to help them. This unique experience will be full of behind-the-scenes viewing with opportunities to see adults and chicks as they forage and brood! Several pairs of binoculars and a spotting scope will be provided, but please bring your own binoculars if you have them. Prepare for light walking, as well as potentially sunny and buggy conditions. Meet the program leader in the lobby of the visitor center. Preregistration is required.

CLIMATE CHANGE – BEHIND THE SCENES! Fri., July 19, 1:00–3:00 p.m. and Thurs., July 25, 9:30–11:30 a.m. This variant of our popular Behind the Scenes Tour of Parker River NWR will place a special emphasis on the local implications of climate change – particularly on the salt marsh and the barrier beach island that protects it. Learn about some of the things that refuge staff are doing to better understand and predict potential future impacts of climate change on wildlife and their habitats. Meet the ranger in the lobby of the refuge visitor center 10–15 minutes prior to start time. Pre-registration required.

YANKEE HOMECOMING 2019: Newburyport’s Shipbuilding and Shipyards: Sat., July 27, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Join Ghlee Woodworth for a visual tour of shipbuilding and shipyards from Joppa to upper Merrimack Street. For more than 170 years from the 1700s to the mid-1800s, Newburyport’s commerce rivaled Salem and Boston, and wharves along the Merrimack River produced more ship tonnage than any other seaport on the East Coast. Vessels built in Newburyport were known around the world for their expert workmanship; out-of-state and foreign investors eagerly bought interests on Newburyport vessels. Hear the stories and see images of the wharves, businesses, and people along the Newburyport waterfront. Spaces in the refuge’s 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first come, first served basis. This free program is co-sponsored by the Friends of Parker River NWR and the Parker River NWR. NO pre-registration for this program.

YANKEE HOMECOMING 2019: Plum Island - New England’s Cradle of Aviation: Sun., July 28, 10:00-11:30 a.m. The Great Marsh in Newbury was the site of New England’s first flying field where, in 1910, W. Starling Burgess built a hangar and wooden runway where the dunes meet the marsh, near the current location of Parking Lot #2 in the Parker River NWR. The planes were brought there by boat; numerous test flights occurred and crowds visited the airfield to watch. Learn about Burgess, his colleagues, and the intrepid pilots who worked here from April to August 1910 to perfect their aircraft and their skills. Hear about the current Plum Island Airport’s use for civil defense, pilot training, commerce and recreation. In 1971, the Little family donated the historic Spencer-Peirce-Little farm, which includes the airport, to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, now Historic New England. The airport now operates under the name Plum Island Aerodrome, Inc., which leases from HNE. Spaces in the refuge’s 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first come, first served basis. This free program is co-sponsored by the Friends of Parker River NWR and the Parker River NWR. NO pre-registration for this program.

These Visitor Center Exhibits Change Monthly:

Artist of the Month Gallery: Each month a different photographer or artist displays their nature and/or wildlife-related fine art in the refuge visitor center auditorium.

Photographic Society Slide Show: Just inside the visitor center’s front door is a large video monitor that displays the latest nature and wildlife-themed slide show that was produced by members of the refuge’s very own photo club. A new slide show, set to music, and focusing on a unique theme, is produced each month.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/parker_river.

 

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