Wednesday, January 25, 2006


More Refuge Videos

In April I mentioned the DVD America's Wildest Places - Volume 1 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The second DVD in the series was released late last year, and I recently ordered it for the very reasonable price of $6 each plus $2.50 S&H per order. With each order they also throw in a large map showing the location of the 550 national wildlife refuges.

The first DVD was a compilation of videos from eight national wildlife refuges around the country. I had never been to any of the eight, although since then I have been to Horicon NWR in Wisconsin. There also are eight videos on Volume 2, although one is an overview of the entire refuge system and another is a short cartoon. Two videos cover refuges that were already familiar to me – Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico and Blackwater NWR in Maryland. The other four cover refuges in Alaska, Illinois, Mississippi and Montana. It is surprising to learn from both volumes the great extent to which many refuges (with the exception of those in Alaska) were created and are maintained by humans. Much of the habitat along the Rio Grande for migrating birds was lost, so Bosque del Apache was constructed in 1939 and has to be actively managed.

Osprey with a fish, Blackwater NWR, 2003

As I said after viewing Volume 1, these videos are not Hollywood productions, but they are useful for planning a trip to a place you've never been. For example, the State of Mississippi has never been on my list of places to return to, but the bird rookery shown on the video for Noxubee NWR suggests it could be an alternative to a Florida trip.

If you want production values and glitz, get March of the Penguins. That's another recent DVD acquisition, but I haven't viewed it yet. Football season is almost over so perhaps I will find time to view it soon.


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