DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge – Iowa

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DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
N of. Council Bluffs, IA

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Desoto

Junior Ranger, Senior-friendly

Completed: September 29, 2013

What a fun surprise today! When I arrived at the amazing Visitor Center for DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) I learned that they had a Junior Ranger program, or as they call it, Junior Refuge Manager.

This program is well designed for all ages. No age range is given. The number of activities that you complete are based on three time frames; your first visit or you only visit once a year, you visit a couple times a year and if you visit regularly. If I lived in this area not only would I visit regularly, but it would be a great place to volunteer.

Besides managing and preserving the wildlife this preserve has historical importance. Lewis & Clark camped here in 1804. In 1865 the steamboat Bertrand sunk on part of the river that became part of DeSoto NWR. It was discover and excavated at the end of last century, the mud preserved the cargo. The boat was on it’s way west, to supply the pioneers. The pictures below show some of the incredibly well-preserved cargo.

One of our favorite birds was hanging around on a path near the VC, the Great Blue Heron. It was also confirmed that the squirrels in the area are Fox Squirrels.

While there I received their Junior Ranger award; badge and certificate. Plus the ranger on duty offered an array of other items; pins, bags, coffee cup, etc to choose from, as an additional award. I selected the Blue Goose hatpin.

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