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Connect With Nature in Your Own ‘Backyard’ at Balcones Canyonlands Refuge Round-up

Last Chance Forever will present a program on hawks and owls during the Refuge Round-up on Saturday, Oct. 14. The free event is 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Courtesy photo

MARBLE FALLS — Highland Lakes residents go about their busy days within minutes of a beautiful, wild, and expansive paradise, and the stewards of those 72 square miles want to make sure people know it.

“We want people to know this refuge is here in their backyard. We want people to know about it and take advantage of it,” said Jennifer Brown, the visitor services manager at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge’s main purpose is to protect the nesting habitat of the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, two endangered species of migratory birds.

But there’s much more to the refuge, and that’s why it’s hosting the annual Refuge Round-up from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at its headquarters, 24518 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls. The event is free and open to all ages, especially those who enjoy the outdoors.

“We want people to see all the opportunities at the refuge,” Brown said. “We want to bring people out to enjoy the public lands and see what’s offered at the refuge.”

The event features interpretive hikes, nature photography, environmental education, archery, fishing, and more.

Last Chance Forever, a bird of prey conservancy based in San Antonio, will present a program with hawks and owls at noon. A reptile show featuring snakes, turtles, and lizards from the San Marcos National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center follows at 1:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be so much fun,” Brown said. “This year, we invited a bunch of partners to do a lot more activities.”

Those activities are designed to help people make a connection with nature, which, in turn, is beneficial for the refuge.

“People understand the response, and they feel more connected to it and are inspired to take care of it,” Brown said. “It goes along a continuum of understanding not everybody is interested in the same thing. It’s trying to make connections for people to appreciate the resources they have.”

Go to fws.gov/refuge/balcones_canyonlands or call (512) 339-9432 for more about the event or how to support the refuge.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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