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Florida is home to 29 National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) that span a host of diverse and important ecosystems.

In 1903 the first wildlife refuge was created in Florida—Pelican Island NWR. The Trout Lake Nature Center, 520 East CR 44, Eustis will be hosting one of the opening events for the annual Florida Wildlife Festival. This special presentation takes place on Oct. 20 beginning at 6 PM.

NWRs are a unique system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants. Many Refuges were created for a specific purpose. For instance, the Lake Woodruff NWR (in DeLeon Springs) was created to protect migratory bird species.

Layne Hamilton, Refuge Manager for the Merritt Island NWR Complex will be telling about these wonderful outdoor places found throughout Florida. Learn about the important role the NWR system fulfills and how Florida Refuges are preparing to meet increased use demands, climate change, invasive exotics and more.

In addition, Cathy Connolly, Black Bear Scenic Byway volunteer will provide an update on the status and activities of this important local scenic byway.

The annual Florida Wildlife Festival will be held at Cadwell Park, Umatilla on Oct. 21 from 9 AM to 4 PM. Go to floridawildlifefestival.org for more information on this fun, outdoor festival and its many hikes, paddle trips, trail rides and other outdoor activities associated with the festival.

Start your festival by joining us to learn about the byway and National Wildlife Refuges. The program is free to attend. A $5 donation is suggested to support TLNC’s many programs. For more information about this program call 352-357-7536 or email tlnc.director@gmail.com.

Photo Credit:  TLNC critter camera:  Black Bear scratching back.

About Trout Lake Nature Center

Trout Lake Nature Center, a 230-acre preserve in Eustis, is a private, non-profit corporation established in 1988. TLNC’s mission is to conserve and protect the natural environment and educate the public about its importance. For further information, visit us at troutlakenaturecenter.com or call 352-357-7536.

Florida Wildlife Refuges and Black Bear Scenic Byway Program at Trout Lake Nature Center

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