Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Events for September 2018

Learn more about your local National Wildlife Refuge this month and be part of the effort to conserve our wild and open spaces. View the September 2018 scheduled programs.

Program: Shorebirds of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, September 6th, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

The Parker River NWR is one of the best places along the Atlantic Coast to view shorebirds. During the spring, many species of shorebirds stop briefly. They feed ravenously to accumulate fat reserves – the fuel the birds need to power their onward flights to northern breeding areas. Some species, including willet and killdeer, stop at the refuge to establish territories and breed. In the fall, most species take a more leisurely pace as they move through our area to southern wintering grounds.

Bill Gette, founding Director of Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and refuge volunteer, willshow his shorebird photographs, describe the many aids to field identification, discuss each species’ feeding strategy, and review the migration patterns of each species.  Spaces in the refuge’s 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

This free evening program is sponsored by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Parker River NWR. NO preregistration for this program.


Wildlife Refuge Tours

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.

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. Preregistration is required for this program, as enrollment is limited. 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.

Days and Times

Held on the following days: Saturday, Sept. 8th @ 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Sept. 9th @ 1:00 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 15th @ 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Sept. 16th @ 1:00 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 22nd @ 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, Sept. 23rd @ 1:00 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29th @ 9:30 a.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 30th @ 1:00 p.m.


Meet a Sandpiper!

Saturday, September 8th, 9:00 -11:00 a.m.

In celebration of World Shorebird Day, come see a shorebird up close and personal. Every year, tens of thousands of shorebirds stop over at Parker River to eat and rest on their journey from the Arctic to South America. Refuge biologists are studying how and where these birds migrate. Come learn more about this research and these amazing birds up close. Meet at the Bill Forward Blind from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Docents will escort visitors to the banding site on a rotating basis. This program is appropriate for visitors of all ages. Visitors will need to walk on muddy, slightly uneven surfaces. NO preregistration for this program.


Focus on Birds: Special Behind the Scenes Tour of Parker River NWR

Monday, Sept. 10th, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Thursday, Sept. 13th, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Monday, Sept. 17th, 1:00– 3:00 p.m.; and Friday, Sept. 21st, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

This special edition of the refuge’s Behind the Scenes (BTS) tour will be led by veteran birder, and
refuge volunteer, Bill Gette. While the tour will follow the usual BTS route, the leader will place a special emphasis on the birds that are typically found on the refuge in the fall. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, if they have them. Tour is limited to 14 participants. Meet the tour leader in the refuge visitor center lobby 15 minutes before the program start time. This program is most appropriate for teens and adults. Preregistration required. (see phone number above)


Fall Family Monarch Conservation Program & Butterfly Tagging!

Saturday, September 22nd, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Join Katie Hone, The Monarch Gardener, for this fun and interesting one hour program about the monarch butterfly. The program will include a presentation about monarchs with interactive role playing and live animals AND making milkweed “seed bombs” (to take home). Meet, tag and release live monarch butterflies to the wild! This program is geared to younger children and their parents. This program will take place in the refuge visitor center classroom. *NO preregistration for this program.

Monarch Tagging Workshop (for Adults & Teens)

Saturday, September 22nd, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

Katie Hone, The Monarch Gardner, will lead this 1.5 hour program that will include a presentation about monarchnaturalhistory,migration,historyoftaggingandhowthedataarecollectedandused. All participants will have an opportunity to tag and release monarch butterflies depending on how many animals are available at time of program. This program will take place in the refuge visitor center classroom. *NO preregistration for this program.


Evening Program: Plum Island – New England’s Cradle of Aviation

Tuesday, September 25th, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The Great Marsh in Newbury was the site of New England’s first flying field where, in 1910, W. StarlingBurgess 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 aboutthe 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.

Ted Russell is a professional genealogist after retiring from a 36-year engineering career at GE
Aviation. He is co-founder and past president of Plum Island Community Airfield, a grassroots group that saved the airport from closing in 2001 and operated it until 2005. In 2002, he led a team of local volunteers that founded the Burgess Aviation Museum at the airport. He was previously on the board of the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society and was a commissioner of the Essex National Heritage Commission. Ted holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Illinois.

This program will take place in the refuge visitor center. Spaces in the center’s 85-seat auditorium will be filled on a first come, first served basis. This free evening program is sponsored by the Friends of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Parker River NWR. NO preregistration for this program.


More details/check for cancellations at:


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