Prime Hook celebrates 50th anniversary with events for all ages in June

Youth Fishing Event June 1 kicks off month's activities
An egret finds a spot in a Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge marsh. BY RON MACARTHUR
May 23, 2013

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the 10th anniversary of several refuge events including the An Evening at the Hook Lecture Series, Nature Photography Contest sponsored by the Friends of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Horseshoe Crab-Shorebird Festival through a partnership with the Milton Chamber of Commerce, and Partnering to Promote Youth Fishing with the Lower Sussex Bassmasters.

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From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 1, is the Youth Fishing Event. In partnership with the Lower Sussex Bassmasters fishing club for 10 years, this event promotes the recreation of fishing for anglers up to 15 years old on the Broadkill River in Milton Memorial Park. Refuge staff and volunteers provide a riverside display and fish tank to educate youngsters and their families about fish, fishing and the National Wildlife Refuge System. Fun activities such as fish printing on T-shirts that illustrates the art of Gyotaku will be provided. Members of the fishing club coordinate the fishing derby, provide boats for the youngsters to fish from, arrange for train rides by the Milton Lions Club, and provide hot dogs, sodas, bait, hooks, weights and great prizes. Everything is free; just bring a fishing pole! Youngsters can fish from the bank or boat. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, June 2.

At 8 a.m., Saturday, June 8, a Birding Field Trip led by volunteer birding guides will offer beginner and experienced bird watchers the opportunity to observe and learn 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.

P.R.I.M.E. time will take place from 10 to 11 a.m., Monday, June 10. P.R.I.M.E. time stands for Preschooler Reading Initiative to Magnify the Environment. Preschoolers (and their parents) are invited to listen to a nature-based story and participate in a related activity that will help them learn about the environment. This month’s topic is ospreys. Participation is free but preregistration is required; call the refuge office at 302-684-8419. Meet at the refuge auditorium.

An Evening at the Hook Lecture Series is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 13.  Karen Bennett, program manager for the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, will give a presentation for transforming the Delaware Bay shore into one of the nation’s most important conservation and recreation areas.  The lecture is free, open to the public and fun for the entire family. Seating is limited on a first-come, first-served basis in the refuge auditorium. Light refreshments are served at 6:30 p.m.

S.N.A.P. It! takes place from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Monday, June 17. S.N.A.P. It! stands for Shutterbugs for Nature And Photography. The refuge will provide the cameras. 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. Participants will go home with a printed photo. Photographs will also be put on display in the refuge’s Visitor Center and on the refuge website. Cameras are limited, so participants should call to preregister. The program is free. Meet at the refuge office.

From 1 to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 18, is the Refuge Summer Readers Program. Youth ages 8 to 12 read designated books on their own, then gather for a discussion and activity related to the story once a month this summer. June’s book is "Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt!" by Jean Fritz. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Books are available for purchase in the Friends' store at Prime Hook or on loan. Meet at the refuge office.

Pondside Adventures is offered from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Thursday, June 20. Footwear is required; sunscreen and hats are recommended for this wet and wild activity. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at the refuge office.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is open every day one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset in designated areas. Also, the Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from April through November.

Go to or call the refuge office at 302-684-8419 to learn more about other events and programs throughout the year.