Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge has many activities, programs, and special events are planned this year. Anytime is a good time to visit the refuge, which is open every day from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset in designated areas.
The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. On weekends, the Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from December through March and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from April through November.
Below are upcoming events in August. Visit the refuge’s new website at www.fws.gov/refuge/Prime_Hook or call the refuge office at 302-684-8419 to learn more about other events and programs throughout the year.
• Nature Photography Contest - The Friends of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge Inc. is now accepting entries for the 11th Annual Nature Photography Contest, which showcases some of the best and most talented nature photography on Delmarva. The contest is open to all photographers, including separate categories for students. There are several categories with many chances to win awards for photographers of all ages and abilities. Categories include the Beauty of Prime Hook, Native Flowers & Plants, Native Birds, Other Native Wildlife, and Delmarva Scenery. Photographs will be on display from Oct. 18 to Dec. 14, and the exhibition is kicked off with an opening reception for the artists and the general public Saturday, Oct. 18. Viewers decide the People’s Choice Award, which will be presented at the conclusion of the exhibition. For a complete listing of the contest rules, go to www.friendsofprimehook.com or visit the refuge office.
• Wednesday, Aug. 13 - Nature Through a Lens - Photographing the Hook - 8 a.m. Enhance photography skills and gain a better appreciation for how nature changes through the seasons in this new program. Participants will select a location on the refuge and photograph plants, wildlife, and landscapes every month. Images will be printed and displayed in the auditorium to showcase nature’s seasonal transitions. Take this opportunity to learn new skills and share enthusiasm for nature photography with others. Bring a camera or borrow one at the refuge. Meet in the refuge auditorium.
• Thursday, Aug. 14 - An Evening at the Hook Lecture Series - Special Movie Screening of 'Green Fire' - 7 to 8:15 p.m. See the Emmy Award-winning film "Green Fire." The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, "Green Fire" highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land. The lecture is free, open to the public, and fun for the entire family. Come before the lecture at 6:30 p.m. for light refreshments.
• Monday, Aug. 18 - S.N.A.P. it! - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. S.N.A.P. it! stands for Shutterbugs for Nature And Photography. Bring the whole family out and try a new nature skill...learning about nature photography. The refuge provides the cameras; participants provide the creativity. This program is for families that want to learn new, fun ways to play outside together while discovering wildlife and habitats. The program features a tutorial session and time to snap photos in the outdoors. Go home with a printed photo and hopefully a new hobby to enjoy! Photographs will also be put on display in the refuge’s Visitor Center and on the refuge’s website. Cameras are limited, so call to preregister. The program is free. Meet at the refuge office.
• Tuesday, Aug. 19 - Pondside Adventures - 1 to 2:30 p.m. Discover what types of fish and aquatic insects live in the area during this hands-on exploration of refuge waters. Come pull the seine net or scoop a dip net and see what is caught! Footwear is required; sunscreen and hats recommended for this wet and wild activity. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at the refuge office.
• Tuesday, Aug. 19 - Nature Photography Workshop Featuring professional photographers Jay Fleming and April Abel - 6 to 8 p.m.
Interested in improving nature photography skills? This program will feature two professional photographers, Jay Fleming and April Abel, who will share their journeys in professional photography and provide tips on taking better photographs. Fleming will present on underwater photography, including his underwater work from Delmarva and around the world.
Abel will focus on the elements and choices that go into taking quality photographs and will also open participants' eyes to the beauty of Delaware’s natural areas, including Delaware State Parks, wildlife refuges, and preserves. Fleming and Abel will also provide the criteria they use when judging photographs.
Participants are encouraged to bring their photographs to be critiqued by the guest speakers. Space is limited and preregistration is required; call the refuge office at 302-684-8419.
• Thursday, Aug. 21 - Birding Field Trip: 8 to 11 a.m. Led by volunteer birding guides, beginner and experienced bird watchers will enjoy observing and learning about the bird species frequenting the refuge at this time of year. Come prepared for the weather and expect to walk up to a mile. Bring binoculars, a field guide, and spotting scope (the leader will have spotting scopes also). Binoculars will be available to borrow. Meet at the refuge office. Trips are free, open to the public, and last approximately three hours.