A landscape with oak savannah on the flats and juniper forest on the hill slopes
A landscape with oak savannah on the flats and juniper forest on the hill slopes
Yellow wildflowers at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Claire Hassler/USFWS

Few people know the rolling hills of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Texas as well as Kandace Glanville and Paris Phelps.

These two field technicians have hiked almost every inch of the refuge’s 27,000 acres. They’ve climbed up and down canyons, scaled fences, and shoved their way through brush dense enough to rip ones clothes. They’ve discovered hidden karst caves and animal bones, they’ve seen their fair share of snakes and feral hogs. Their boots have been soaked through with dew, and they’ve been poked by many a cactus.

For what, you may ask? To gather vital information about…


Jorge walks down a path with yellow flowers
Jorge walks down a path with yellow flowers
Jorge Ayón birding at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge in California. Credit: Jorge Ayón

As the sun rises early in the morning, the fog fades away to reveal the secrets of the estuary. The fiddler crabs dance in unison before the next high tide, a peregrine falcon is in hot pursuit of breakfast, and all around, the initial silence is broken by birds of all types of feathers. Despite growing up near the Tijuana Estuary, for Jorge Ayón, some of these sights and sounds were not always obvious.

Although Ayón lived in Tijuana, Mexico, up to the age of 5, he was born and raised in Chula Vista, California. He graduated from Chula Vista…


Carl Millegan and daughter Jada visit Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska.
Carl Millegan and daughter Jada visit Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska.
Carl Millegan and daughter Jada visit Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska.

Great Outdoors Month, celebrated each year during June, reminds us to head outside and explore our nation’s abundant natural beauty.

More than 101 million Americans, 40% of the U.S. population age 16 and older, pursue wildlife-related recreation, including hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching. In 2016, these outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States.

Hunters and anglers play an important role in ensuring the future of diverse and healthy wildlife populations. In the United States, hunting and fishing are outdoor traditions. With a few exceptions that vary by state, everyone must have…


Few things are more frightening than wildfire. Anyone who’s found themselves too close for comfort, or even witnessed large wildfires from afar, can probably attest to a feeling of dread in that moment. Yet, wildfire is a natural part of life and the natural world, and it plays a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

flames consume a stand of trees in a forest fire
flames consume a stand of trees in a forest fire
Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire in Gila National Forest, New Mexico (2012). Photo by Kari Greer/USFS

When we see the hot, red and orange flames of a raging wildfire, it can be easy to focus on the destruction that comes with such an intense demonstration of nature’s power. Yet even in the wake of destructive natural cycles, many plants and wildlife…


Bison and calf
Bison and calf
Bison and calf at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Rich Keen/DPRA

June is Great Outdoors Month and #TeamPublicLands at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presents our top five list to get you outside. There are so many great activities, we hope to pique your interest.

America’s public lands, including national wildlife refuges, national fish hatcheries, parks, and forests, offer tremendous opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, most from sunrise to sunset every day. Hike, fish, observe, and photograph wildlife! Studies show that spending time in nature benefits physical and mental health, academic performance, and overall quality of life.

These wonderful places offer unique opportunities to see wildlife, but…


Two women wearing life vests kayak on a river.
Two women wearing life vests kayak on a river.
Kayaking the Charles River. Photo by Lamar Gore/USFWS.

National Fishing and Boating Week (June 5 — June 13, 2021) is a great time to learn to fish, reconnect with your kayak, and enjoy the water with friends and family.

Last year more than 55 million people turned to fishing as a safe respite from the screens and stresses of the year — the highest number in over a decade. Here are some great ways you can celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service!


DNA found in scat helps scientists learn about secretive fox

a Sierra Nevada red fox walking through a snowy landscape
a Sierra Nevada red fox walking through a snowy landscape
Recently proposed to be listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the southern population of the Sierra Nevada red fox is estimated to consist of fewer than 50 individuals. Credit: National Park Service

There’s an elusive fox roaming the southern Sierra Nevada, and experts are trying to learn more about its behavior and breeding success by analyzing one of the few traces of its presence — poop.

Living in areas above 9,000 feet in elevation, the fox is smaller than most, has fuzzy paws, and a thick fur coat–all adaptations to help it survive the heavy winter snows and challenging alpine conditions. Its fur can range in color from red to black to grayish-brown.

Recently proposed to be listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the southern population…


two California condors standing while another condor lands in the middle with wings outstretched
two California condors standing while another condor lands in the middle with wings outstretched
Three California condors at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of Chris Trent.

For those who live in ‘Condor Country,’ this one’s for you!

You may have recently seen images on Twitter of about 20 endangered California condors “having a party” at a residential home near Tehachapi in Southern California. While this is a remarkable sighting, this behavior can be problematic if not quickly discouraged.

Condors are large, curious, wild animals that explore their environment to find food. Occasionally, this leads to condors visiting homes within their habitat which can create dangerous situations for these endangered birds and cause damage to property. It is illegal to place food and water out to attract…


Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Ramsar, is the oldest modern global intergovernmental environmental agreement. The Ramsar Convention encourages the designation of sites containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or wetlands that are important for conserving biological diversity. The United States boasts 41 Ramsar sites across the United States totaling over 4.6 million acres. Twenty- three of these sites fall completely or partially within National Wildlife Refuges managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Here’s a look at the first four U.S. …


A black-footed ferret with its teeth sticking out
A black-footed ferret with its teeth sticking out
Elizabeth Ann. All photos by the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center/USFWS

Who is Elizabeth Ann, you ask? Well, she is a beloved black-footed ferret that the world has fallen in love with — and you will too! More importantly, Elizabeth Ann is the first cloned U.S. endangered species and her DNA could be an answer to recovering America’s most endangered mammal, the black-footed ferret. Let’s get to know this charming and feisty trailblazer and learn about her curious life.

Black-footed ferrets were believed to be extinct twice. In 1981, a small population of the species, was rediscovered by a Wyoming rancher. Upon that discovery, the Service and the Wyoming Game and…

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