The Biggest Events Happening for National Wildlife Refuge Week

by Jon D. B.

National Wildlife Refuge Week 2021 is here! Sign up for the Walk for the Wild 5K Challenge and more to celebrate American wildlife conservation.

From New York to Florida and Arizona, wildlife refuges across America kicked off National Wildlife Refuge Week in grand fashion. But don’t worry, if you missed out on the first round of local events there are plenty more to come. Here’s what’s happening for 2021’s NWRW:


At it’s core, National Wildlife Refuge Week is all about conserving America’s rich fish and wildlife heritage. To help do so, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has partnered with Virtual Running Club (VRC) to bring Americans the Walk for the Wild 5K Challenge.

“Join us to help wildlife and humans to thrive by taking a walk, stroll, saunter, hike, prance, trot, amble, ramble or roll for the wild,” asks VRC in their 2021 statement.

It’s easier than ever to join the 5K challenge for NWRW, too. “The challenge is to get people moving a distance of 5K in nature on behalf of as many national wildlife refuges as possible,” VRC continues. And considering there are 568 to choose from in America, it’s no slim pickin’s!

To register, simply visit the Walk for the Wild website here and register. Then, plan your route, start to train, and walk 5K (3.1 miles.) sometime between 10/9-10/16. It’s as simple as that!

By joining the Walk for the Wild 5K Challenge for National Wildlife Refuge Week, you commit to:

  • Move a distance of 5K (3.1 miles) in nature beginning the week of October 9 – 16, 2021. It’s up to you how you move (as long as you do it self-propelled), where in nature you go, and whether you go solo or with friends or family. 
  • Choose a favorite or soon-to-be-favorite national wildlife refuge to walk for. We hope to see as many wildlife refuges represented as possible and look forward to reporting how many are represented by Walk for the Wild participants.
  • Record your activity during the week — walking, jogging, hiking, strolling, or whatever you choose— either manually, or using your favorite fitness tracker. Once you’ve completed the 5k distance (3.1 miles), you are officially a Finisher! 
  • OPTIONAL: if you are competitive and want to see who can do the challenge the fastest or slowest, you can report your finish time by October 31, 2021.

There is also the option to sign up and purchase swag and your own official 5K number. And of course, a portion of each registration will go towards supporting the NWRS.

(*Walk for the Wild is sponsored in partnership by the National Wildlife Refuge System and Public Lands Alliance.)

Other Upcoming USFWS National Wildlife Refuge Week Events

Saturday, October 16 from 10 AM to 12 PM
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge
Trenton, Michigan
Join a park ranger for a 5K nature hike through the refuge’s Humbug Marsh! Participants will walk the trails while learning about the area’s natural history and the importance of protecting it.

Saturday, October 16 from 4 PM to 6 PM
Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge
Monterey County, California
4 to 6 p.m.
Self-guided 5K walks at the refuge.
Co-hosts: Sacramento regional office of the Fish and Wildlife Service and partners

October 9-16 during daylight hours
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
St. Marks, Florida
Self-guided 5K walks on refuge trails of participants’ choosing. All are welcome.
Registered participants will have their names entered in a daily drawing for an annual St. Marks Refuge pass. Staff will be on site during visitor center hours daily (Monday thru Friday 8-4, Saturday and Sunday 10-5).
Host: Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge

Endless Opportunities: How You Celebrate Is Up to You!

The official events above are just the tip of the iceberg, Outsiders. In fact, 2021 would see the U.S. Dept. of Interior announce the largest expansion of fishing and hunting on U.S. Fish and Wildlife managed lands and waters in America’s history. In short: there’s no better time to be outside than right now!

Our vast natural wonders are also out for fall. From viewing migratory birds and butterflies to the brilliant fall foliage, nature is on full display in autumn.

So get out there and celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week! We’ll be right there with you.