Defenders Celebrates National Wildlife Refuge Week in Refuge System's 100th Year

Online Database Shows Bird Connections Between Your Local Refuge and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

(10/10/2003) - WASHINGTON -- John Muir observed that everything in nature is connected, and nowhere is that more evident than in our National Wildlife Refuge System, which celebrates its centennial this year.  National Wildlife Refuge Week is October 12-18, and will be marked by events at refuges all over the country.  

“Every individual refuge is important, but it’s the entire system that really shines,” said Noah Matson, director of public lands for Defenders of Wildlife.  “For a century, this country’s commitment to migratory birds and other wildlife has been measured by the health of the refuge system.”  

President Teddy Roosevelt established the first National Wildlife Refuge in 1903 to protect birds from market hunting on a small Florida island.  Now, the refuge system includes more than 95 million acres of habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, in every U.S. state and territory.   

A clickable map of the United States that profiles one refuge in each state is available.

Another clickable map of the lower-48 United States shows bird species that nest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and migrate to or through various states.

“Plans to throw open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling may seem far away to many Americans, but they come close to home every year when migrating birds that depend on the refuge fill our skies,” Matson said.


Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 430,000 members and supporters, 90,000 in California alone, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues. To stay current on hot topics in wildlife conservation, subscribe to DENlines, Defenders of Wildlife’s electronic update and action alert network. To subscribe to DENlines or for more information on Defenders of Wildlife projects, please visit



Brad DeVries, (202) 772-0237