Explore nature’s bounty

Waterfowl surround the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge visitor center in Willows, bringing nature enthusiasts to the refuge daily.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be offering a variety of weekend programming in the next few months for bird enthusiast and nature lovers alike. 

According to a release issued by the organization, the activities are geared towards various interests and  skill levels so both seasoned veterans and casual visitors can partake. Programming is scheduled at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex,  located off of Highway 99 just past Road 68 in Colusa County; the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, located on O’Hair Road just west of Colusa; and the Llano Seco Unit of North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area, located off of Seven Mile Lane in Glenn County.

For those that love butterfly, two classes deducted to these fluttering creatures are scheduled. 

An “All about Monarchs,” class will be held at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on March 21 from 1-2:30 p.m. Attendees will learn the basics about Monarch butterfly including migration habits and reasons for declining population. 

The “Monarch Monitoring Mystery,” will be held at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on March 27 from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to review the latest information on the Monarch butterfly and uncover the mystery about how these creatures migrate through the Central Valley. 

Both Monarch butterfly classes require pre-registration to attend. 

Organizers at FWS said they are also finalizing a Hummingbird event to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. This will be held at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on April 4 at 10 a.m.

For the kids, the FWS has scheduled spring break events every weekday in April. Kids can drop in to celebrate hummingbirds and make their own feeders, walk the trails and play the downloadable scavenger hunt that uses word games, sound identification and interaction with virtual objects to solve the challenge or earn a badge as a Junior Refuge Ranger. Activities are recommended for children ages eight through 14. 

In addition to the scheduled programming, these complexes also offer activities to enjoy anytime.

Visitors can adventure out on a six mile auto tour or a two mile wetland walk at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge year round. Five miles of spring trails are now open through June 30. 

The Colusa National Wildlife Refuge has a one mile walking trail and a three mile auto tour and the Llano Seco Unit of North Central Valley Wildlife Management Area has a one mile trail, all of which can be accessed year round as well. 

All trails and auto routes are open one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. 

Bicycles are only permitted to access the auto tour at both locations May 15 through Aug. 15 and are not allowed on the walking trails. 

There is no cost to participate in programming offered, but the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge requires a $6 per day pass to access the complex. Those with a federal duck stamp will be admitted for free. The  Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge also offers annual passes for those that attend regularly. 

For more information or to register for an event, call 934-2801, email sacramentovalleyrefuges@fws.gov or visit www.fws.gov/refuge/Sacramento.

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