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The HNWR Butterfly Garden Docent Program

Finally, after a three-year hiatus due to COVID and last summer’s dreadful drought, the butterfly garden docents are back! The Butterfly Garden Docent program at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge was created to train interested volunteers in all things butterflies and the preferred native plants for feeding and breeding, and to host visitors during scheduled Garden Walks from April through October. Garden docents receive training each spring on the butterfly life cycle, characteristics of butterflies, plants native to our area, and the 25 butterflies most likely to be seen in the Hagerman garden. Resources are made available to trainees to help them make butterfly and plant identifications, and monthly meetings are held during which one or two butterflies are highlighted to help docents become even more adept at identifying the various species. Some docents are also trained in Monarch Tagging, which happens during some of the fall Garden Walks. Tagging helps researchers monitor the flight patterns and migration ranges of the Monarchs.

Docents host visitors to the ¼ acre Butterfly Garden during walks, helping them learn about the native plants that thrive best in our area and are most attractive to butterflies, both for nectar and hosting their eggs and larvae. The chosen plants also serve as nectar sources for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Additionally, docents have brochures available for visitors that list various butterflies and suggested plants for home gardens. Family fun also abounds during the Garden Walks with picture taking, close-focus binocular viewing, scavenger hunting, and puppeteering. Kids crafting is available during special garden walks held on Mother’s Day and during National Wildlife Refuge Week.

So, if you love butterflies and native plants, like to learn new things, enjoy being outdoors and meeting new people, and want to help spread the word about growing native plants, consider joining the Hagerman Butterfly Garden Docent program. You will make new friends while helping our community!

Contact Us for more information about becoming a docent. 

Butterfly Garden Walk Schedule

Donna Rogers, chairperson of the Butterfly Garden Docent program, is a certified Texas Master Naturalist and serves on the Friends of Hagerman Board of Directors.

See you in the garden!

Refuge Update:

The visitor center is open Monday through Saturday 9-4, Sunday 1-5.  It's a great time to visit the refuge!

Recent Sightings:

Barred Owls

By Donnie Simmons

American White Pelican

By Diane Grandgenett Rohn

Juvenile Bald Eagle 

By Paul James Marto Jr.

Upcoming Activities:

The Friends of Hagerman is Hosting

20 Family Friendly Events in April!

Calendar of  Events 

Were YOU There?

All are welcome as a participant or a volunteer--A fun time is had by all!

Refuge Rocks 

The Little Sit

Butterfly Garden Docents

Ranger Beard Takes the Refuge to the Dallas Zoo

Ranger Spencer along with a group of Buestem Master Naturalists visited the Dallas Zoo and interacted with over 1500 home schooled children and their parents.  Ranger Beard and the naturalists taught lessons on Monarch Conservation and Migration. 

The Friends of Hagerman 2023 Annual Meeting

The Friends of Hagerman 2023 Annual Meeting was held on March 19th.  The Friends presented their impressive accomplishments, programs and progress during 2022, including:

View the Entire Presentation

Teachers: Plan Your Free Fall Fieldtrip At Hagerman NWR

Ranger Spencer Beard and volunteers from the Texas Master Naturalists will ensure that you and your students enjoy a fun-filled learning experience. There is no charge for field trips.

TEKS will be provided with lesson plans.  Programs include your choice of the following:

1)  Ranger's Choice Grade-Level Program (Four Stations):

  • Grades k-4: Nature Scavenger Hunt, Monarch Migration, Gravity Grasshoppers, Healthy Habitats
  • Grades 5-8: Nature Scavenger Hunt, Adaptation Artistry, Prey vs. Predator, Ants on a Twig

2)  Self-Guided Independent Study

3)  Special Topic Program Request

4)  Ranger Classroom Visit 

Let us know the start time and number of hours you prefer; all field trips must conclude by 3:30 PM.

Hagerman NWR requires a teacher:student ratio of 1:25, with a maximum of 150 students.  The refuge will provide at least one presenter per station (usually a Master Naturalist).  The teacher is asked to assist with moving students between stations.

Program Requests will be accepted 30 days in advance of the requested field trip date, first come first served.

Apply Below or Contact Us for more information. 

Join Us With a Membership

The Friends of Hagerman Board of Directors

Dues From Memberships Enable the Friends to…

  • Provide at least 12 free, family friendly, nature-oriented activities every month
  • Provide the refuge with volunteers to plant wheat for the geese, mow the trails, pick up trash, and perform other chores assigned by refuge staff
  • Develop Second Saturday programs to educate the general public about wildlife conservation
  • Sponsor “The Refuge Rocks!” nature programs for children

  • Maintain the beautiful butterfly garden—a Monarch Waystation that has attracted species new to Grayson County

  • Facilitate Eastern Bluebird populations by maintaining and monitoring 45 nestboxes throughout the refuge

  • Provide interesting educational tram tours of the refuge via the “Wildlife Explorer”

  • Produce “The Featherless Flyer” newsletter and other publications to promote conservation

  • Maintain friendsofhagerman.com  website 

Join online today for as little as $10

Birding with Jack

Updated, Weekly Census Results

By Master Naturalist Jack Chiles, Mike Petrick and

Dr. Wayne Meyer (Pictured Right)

Each Tuesday a team of experienced birders, including Master Naturalist Jack Chiles, traverse 35 miles of refuge roads and hiking trails, documenting every bird they encounter. This Bird Census is reported to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology for use in research, and each week we will bring you a link to their actual bird count, and a summary of their adventures.

 See Jack's notes and latest refuge Bird Census Results       

Meet the New Photo Club Leader: Lisa Wilkins

Lisa retired in June 2021 after working for over 30 years in the telecommunications industry. Lisa was born in Wisconsin, and moved to Texas in July 2000. Lisa’s retirement plans are to volunteer with organizations to benefit animals and nature, along with improving her photography and birding skills. Her volunteer activities include FOH Nature Nook, FOH NWR Nature Photography Club, Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, and committee member of the Prairie and Timbers Audubon Society. At age 40 she got a tattoo, at age 50 she got a motorcycle, and at age 60 she bought a drum set. She has a few years to plan her next milestone event of 70 years.

Don't miss the Photo Club's Special

Fieldtrip to the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center

April 22, 2023, 6:30 AM – 9:00 AM 

Blackland Prairie Raptor Center

Brockdale Park: 1625 Brockdale Park Road, Lucas TX 75002

Blackland Prairie Raptor Center (BPRC) is hosting a special event for the photo club and guests. BPRC’s raptor ambassadors will be on display for you to photograph. The raptors will be tethered and perched on a natural setting or platform. This will allow for more natural photos, as typically the educational raptors are tethered and perched on a person’s gloved hand. You may be able to get as close at 6’ from the raptors.

  • Fee is $25 per person for members of the photo club or $40 per person for non-members.
  • Join the Friends of Hagerman NWR  Photo Club Here
  • Registration is required to attend this event.
  • Each person attending must register separately.
  • Registration closes on 4/20/2023.

All fees for this event will be given to BPRC to continue their conservation and rehabilitation of birds of prey. BPRC took in over 800 birds of prey in 2022! BPRC website is https://bpraptorcenter.org.

Google Map     Apple Map

Registration and More Information

Photo Club Workshop:

Beginning Lightroom Classic with Nancy Miller

Hagerman NWR Visitor Center

April 29, 2023, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Friends of Hagerman NWR Nature Photography Club will host a hands-on workshop for Beginning Lightroom on Saturday, April 29 at 9:00 am in the Visitor’s Center. Nancy Miller will teach the two-hour class and students are encouraged to bring their computers so they can follow along with Nancy’s instructions and examples. The workshop is designed for people who want to download photos, organize them in the best and safest system and begin post processing photos for basic enhancements for their photos. Organizing into folders, keywording and basic processing such as exposure correction, color enhancement and simple tricks that add power to photographs will be explained so that students will leave the class with the ability to take their photography one step further. Registration is not required, but would be appreciated. This is a great way to be a better photographer.


Butterfly Garden Walks

Enjoy a stroll through the 1/4 acre Butterfly Garden at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.  Garden docents will be on hand to help you identify the Texas native plants and the butterflies in the garden.  Come on your own or bring the family.  Use our close-focus butterfly binoculars to get a really CLOSE look.  Special activities for families available: scavenger hunts, meet the Metamorphosis Puppet and more. Garden walks are Come and Go or Come and Stay. The garden is free of charge and open to the public during Refuge hours.

Do you love butterflies and native plants? Do you enjoy being outdoors and meeting new people? If so, then consider joining a group of volunteers who serve as docents in the Butterfly Garden at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. New volunteer garden docents are always welcome and training is provided: simply attend a scheduled Butterfly Docent Meeting, or Contact Us for more information.

Registration is not necessary. 

Variegated Fritillary by Laurie Sheppard

The Little Sit

Sunrise Bird Count

Come and learn how to identify the birds of North Texas while enjoying the beautiful sunrise over Lake Texoma! Modeled after Cornell's national "Big Sit" event, a group of dedicated birders invite you to join them at sunrise to conduct a bird count as multiple species fly to the water and the surrounding land to feed.  Leaders will bring spotting scopes and will provide tips for identification of the many species you will see.

This event lasts a couple of hours, but all are welcome to come and go as they please. Participants are advised to bring a chair, binoculars and water. 

The First Saturday of every month, beginning 30 minutes before sunrise.

Location: H Pad, Sadler, Texas 76264 (H Pad is in Sadler, but it is part of the refuge) GPS Coordinates: 33.734961, -96.780582

Please register (optional) so we may inform you of unexpected changes:

Photo by Laurie Sheppard

Early Bird Walk with Jack Chiles

Master Naturalist Jack Chiles will lead our Early Birding event, weather permitting. Bring binoculars or borrow ours.  Meet at the Visitor Center and return in time for the Second Saturday program.

Please Register (Optional) so we may inform you via email of unforseen changes/cancellations.

Photo by Jack Chiles

Second Saturday: Hummingbirds with Dr. Wayne Meyer

Saturday, April 8th at 10:00 AM in the Visitor Center 

The Crazy Trio by Bert Garcia

Hummingbirds are loved by almost everyone, but most people know very little about them. This program will focus on their evolution and convolution with nectar-bearing plants as well as how to attract them. We will also talk about how to identify the few species that live in Texoma as well as several species that are starting to make their presence known that weren’t here 30 years ago.

Dr. Wayne Meyer is an Associate Professor of the Biology department at Austin College, where he has been teaching for 30 years. He started birding at 13 in Connecticut. In 1993 he finally achieved his life’s dream of being paid to look at birds when he joined the faculty of Austin College. He has birded both coasts of the U.S. extensively and now has spent a quarter-century birding in Texas and Oklahoma.

The proximity of Austin College to Hagerman NWR has made research on prairie birds easy and convenient and he has been studying song learning and singing in Painted Buntings for over a decade. Meyer is also a sought-after speaker for Master Naturalist groups and a frequent speaker at the Friends of Hagerman NWR Second Saturday programs.

Future Second Saturday Programs

The Refuge Rocks! Programs for Children

    • April 20, 2024
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Hagerman NWR Visitor Center
    • 9

    Trees are an important part of our world.  They provide wood for building and pulp for making paper.  They provide habitats (homes) for all sorts of insects, birds and other animals.  Many types of fruits and nuts come from trees - including apples, oranges, peaches, walnuts and pecans.  Even the sap of trees is useful as food for insects and for making maple syrup -- yum!  Come join us on April 20 for a free class to learn about trees. We'll be going out on the trail to measure the ages of trees and to make bark rubbings.  The attendees will make a fun tree craft to take home.  For ages 5-10.  Registration Required.   Photo credit:  Cindy Steele

    • May 18, 2024
    • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    • Hagerman NWR Visitor Center
    • 26

    Calling all bug and insect lovers!  Buzz in to learn about our creepy crawly bug friends in this Refuge Rocks program. Explore the magical realm of insects that are nature's superheroes. From ladybugs to praying mantises, learn about these tiny creatures' incredible powers and how they help our gardens thrive. Children will discover bugs' vital role in maintaining balance in our ecosystems. Get ready to unleash your inner bug enthusiast as we uncover the secrets of these fascinating critters and their essential contributions to our world.

    In this program, we’ll learn about the superheroes of the insect world through a short lesson, craft, and fun activities!  Come join us on May 18 for a free class for youth ages 5-10.  For ages 5-10.  Registration Required.   Photo credit:  C. Steele/Canva Pro

Future Refuge Rocks Programs

Puddles' Craft Corner

Hippity Hoppity Bunnies!

By Cindy Steele, Master Naturalist

Welcome back to Puddles’ Craft Corner. Quick! Name all of the famous rabbits that you know from television, books, movies, or holidays! You can probably think of quite a few! Bugs Bunny, Peter Rabbit, The Energizer Bunny, Rabbit in Winnie-the-Pooh, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Cadbury Bunny, The Easter Bunny, Peter Cottontail, and many more! But what do you know about rabbits in the wild? Let's explore these cute animals a little further.

Rabbits are mammals, which means they are warm-blooded, have backbones and hair. There are around thirty different species of wild rabbits, and they can weigh anywhere from less than a pound to over four pounds. These furry creatures can be found all over the world. Perhaps you have seen one of the most common types, the Eastern Cottontail. These wild animals have a white tail that looks exactly like a cotton ball and are common in our area!

How Do Their Bodies Help Them Survive?

From the tip of their twitchy little nose to the bottom of their cute little cotton tails, rabbits have adapted for survival.

Rabbits have special body features to help them survive in the wild. They have sharp long claws, which help them dig their burrows for protection. Their long ears are not only cute...

Come, Take a Tour on the Wildlife Explorer!

Enjoy a ninety minute tram tour of Wildlife Drive aboard our open-air Wildlife Explorer.  Learn about the fascinating history of the displaced town of Hagerman while watching for an abundance of wildlife.

  • Lots of stops for bird-watching and photography.   
  • Guided tours are weather permitting and seating is limited. 
  • Standbys are accepted if space permits. 
  • Recommended for age 6 - adult. 
  • Bring your binoculars or borrow ours.
  • Meet at the visitor center 15 minutes before departure. 
  • Groups of 6-8 may  Request a Group Tram Tour

Register for a Tram Tour Today!

Do You Like to Work Outside? The Refuge Needs You!

It takes a lot of people to have a beautiful garden!

The Wednesday Garden Team 

Love to work with native plants and meet other gardeners? Come and help us add plants, weed and mulch our beautiful butterfly garden. Garden Team volunteers get first dibs on thinned native plants as well as access to seeds and cuttings for propagation. 

Gardeners meet on most Wednesdays, but times vary.  Contact Us  to subscribe to the garden team weekly email. Provide own tools and gloves. Minimum age 18, or 16 if accompanied by parent/volunteer. 


Mowing and Refuge Beautification: The Work Crew

Do you enjoy working outside, mowing, sprucing up hiking trails, trimming and removing brush and general cleanup? Show your love for nature by joining the Outdoor Crew at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. Outdoor Crew volunteers meet on the First Tuesday and Fourth Saturday of every month.

Contact Us for exact times, dates and other details about joining the volunteer Work Crew.

Scouts welcome!

Thank You

To Our Contributors:

Jack Chiles,  Laurie Sheppard, Amber Grubb, Cindy Steele

Refuge Manager: Kathy Whaley

Deputy Refuge Manager: Paul Balkenbush

Visitor Services Manager: Spencer Beard 

Editor: Patricia Crain,  Laurie Sheppard

Friends of Hagerman NWR Foundation

6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, TX 75092

Phone: 903-786-2826

Contact Us  



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Events and activities hosted by the Friends of Hagerman are funded by donations and powered solely by volunteers.  There are no fees for admission to the refuge or parking; the refuge is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year, drive on any road unless gated.

6465 Refuge Road

Sherman, TX 75092



Kroger: Stop by the customer service desk at Kroger and link your Kroger Card to the Friends of Hagerman: the Friends will get rewards for every dollar you spend, at no cost to you.

Please add friendsofhagerman@gmail.com to your contacts to ensure delivery of registration confirmations, account information and the Featherless Flyer

See you at the refuge!

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