Wildlife, people flock to Wallkill River Refuge


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Summer is a busy time year for wildlife at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.

Activities and programs for all interests and ages are scheduled for July and August.

A Nature Rocks program will be held every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the refuge headquarters, 1547 County Route 565 in Vernon. The series of programs will focus on the natural resources of the refuge, its environment and wildlife incorporating natural science, art, history, and literature. There will be short hikes and creative activities to foster a new perspective of the natural world. Volunteer Mike Vaccari, a former middle school teacher, will lead the sessions.

Adults can enjoy kayaking and birding each Thursday morning from 9-11 a.m. on the Owens Station Crossing lake at 136 Owens Station Road in Vernon. All equipment is supplied. Refuge volunteer Sandi Wicklund will offer instruction for anyone new to kayaking and will guide the group. Space is limited. For more information, email slwicklund@gmail.com.

On Saturday, July 19 at 1 p.m., people are invited to explore the wildlife in the water. AmeriCorp Watershed Ambassador Will York will lead a program on the small animals, called macro-invertebrates, that inhabit the streams and lakes in our area. After a presentation explaining what these "bugs" indicate about the health of the water, York will guide the group to collect samples and show how to find the small creatures hiding in the lake. Participants are asked to come prepared to get their feet wet. The program will be held at the Owens Station location.

Saturday night, July 19 at 8 p.m. Skylands Astronomy Club will present a program on the moon. Where did it come from, what is it made of, and how does it affect Earth are some of the questions that will be answered. Following the indoor talk at Owens Station, the club will set up their telescopes outside for a Star Party.

All programs are free and will be held rain or shine. For more information call the refuge weekdays at 973-702-7266, Ext. 10. People can also check the Friends of Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.

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