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The Refuge Roundup:

8:00 Until Sold Out: Native Plant Sale 

8:00 - 9:30 Early Bird Walk 

10:00 Second Saturday: Buzz Off! 

10:00 Tram Tour (Reservations Required)

10:00 Until 2:00 The Ice Hole Food Truck: Serving pulled pork, hot dogs and chips

10:00 Until 4:00  Crafts by Cindy Steele, at the pavilion, a come-and-go activity

11:00 Until !2:30 View the Annular Solar Eclipse 

11:30 Nature Hike Adventure

12:00 Tram Tour (Reservations Required)

12:00 Grand Opening of the Environmental Education Park at the Pavilion

12:15 Butterfly Garden Walk and Monarch Tagging

1:00 Spiders! In the Visitor Center

2:00 Tram Tour (Reservations Required)

2:15 Mammals by Dr. Bryon Clark in the Visitor Center

3:15 Snakes! In the Visitor Center

The Friends of Hagerman 

Online Auction

9 AM October 12th

through 5 PM October 14th

This is the time of the year that we invite the public to support our local Refuge and its programs. Projects resulting in our beautiful Butterfly Garden, our popular Wildlife Explorer electric tram, the new public restroom, and the Environmental Education Park are available, thanks in large part to donations and financial support. All monies raised from the auction will be reinvested in educational opportunities and programs for both children and adults.

Auction items Include:

  • Guided Fishing Trip for Three for Striped Bass on Lake Texoma
  • Gift Certificates for Wilson Farms, Napolis, 903 Brewery and more!
  • A Cheesecake-A-Month for a Year!
  • A Two-Night Stay for Six at the Texana Guesthouse in Fredericksburg
  • Check back here on October 12th to bid on these items and more!

Click Here to Participate!

8:00 Until Sold Out: Native Plant Sale 

Saturday October 14th, In the Carport of the Visitor Center Parking Lot

During the Refuge Roundup, the volunteers from the Hagerman Butterfly Garden will conduct a plant sale from 8 AM to Noon (or until we sell out). The plants were thinned from the Hagerman Butterfly Garden and the volunteers' home gardens. The plants for sale are primarily native plants that are food or host plants for pollinator insects.  A few non-native pollinator plants are included.

A partial lists of plants for sale are:

  • Gregg's Mistflower
  • Turks Cap
  • Rock Rose
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Boneset
  • Tall (Canadian) Goldenrod
  • Passion Flower
  • Winecup
  • Mealy Blue Sage
  • Fall Obedient Plant
  • Drummond's Petunia
  • Many Others!

Proceeds from the sale go to promote Friends of Hagerman activities. Most popular plants typically sell out out quickly so come early!

8:00 AM Early Bird Walk with Jack Chiles

October 14th, Meet at the Visitor Center

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

10:00, 12:00 and 2:00: Come, Take a Tour on the Wildlife Explorer!

Extra Tram Tours for Refuge Roundup on October 14th*, Meet at the Visitor Center

Enjoy a 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. 

*Additional times listed below

  • 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. 
  • School, church, families or other groups of 6 to 8 people may request a special group tram tour on days other than regularly scheduled tram tour days.  Group Tram Tour

10:00 Buzz Off! Exploring Mosquito Ecology and Control Strategies with Loriann Garcia

Saturday, October 14th, in the Visitor Center

Mosquitoes! Who loves them? Although mosquitoes get a bad reputation, and kill more people than any other animal, they do have positive roles in the ecosystem. Loriann Garcia will tell us about the good and the bad and how to control them.

11:00 Until 12:30: View the Annular Solar Eclipse

Come to the refuge to view the annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023 during the Refuge Roundup! The Bluestem Master Naturalists will have a telescope set up for viewing from 11:00 AM until 12:30 PM in the Visitor Center Parking Lot.

11:30 Nature Hike Adventure

Saturday, October 14th, Meet at the Visitor Center

Join us for a nature hike on Harris Creek Trail.  We'll walk from the Visitor Center and search for creatures large and small!

Photo by Laurie Sheppard

12:15 Butterfly Garden Walk with Butterfly Tagging

Saturday, October 14th in the Butterfly Garden

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.

During Refuge Roundup on October 14th, observe the experts catch and tag Monarch Butterflies, then release them back into the wild.  Kids may get to see the monarchs close up and some may get a chance to let it touch them before it takes off. 

Registration is not necessary

Pipevine Swallowtail (right) by Laurie Sheppard

SPIDERS! with Jasper Bird 

Saturday, October 14th in the Visitor Center

Meet Jasper Birdd--a real Spider Man--and learn all about his extensive collection of live spiders.


Saturday, October 14th in the Visitor Center

Meet Jordan Foster, a local snake expert and learn about his collection of  live snakes.  You might even get to hold one--though not the venomous ones!

Refuge Update:

The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday 9-4, Sunday 1-5.  The American White Pelicans are migrating through, and it's a great time to visit the refuge!

Upcoming Activities:

The Friends of Hagerman is Hosting

23 Family Friendly Events in October!

Calendar of  Events 

Were YOU There?

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

Refuge Beautification

Refuge Rocks! with Cindy Steele

Majestic American White Pelicans Pay Visit to the Refuge

By Linda Richmond

Photo by Jack Chiles

With adults weighing in at 17 pounds, these five-foot long birds have an amazing 9 to 10-foot wing span.  The only bird in North America with a larger wing span is the California condor. American White Pelicans travel together in large flocks, making brief visits to Lake Texoma’s shores in the fall and spring. Flocks feed on fish in the shallow waters, rest on the sandbars, and recharge before continuing on their migration journey.

Thousands of American White Pelicans amass at the Hagerman refuge starting in late September through early November. Some groups pass through again in the spring, but larger numbers visit in the fall migration, explained Master Naturalist Jack Chiles who has conducted weekly bird counts every Tuesday for the past 35 years. The largest number of white pelicans he ever recorded at the Hagerman was a whopping 10,000 on September 25, 2018.

“They pack together real tight when they’re sitting on the sand bars. When you look at a group of pelicans you might think there are several hundred, but it could be 1,000. When they start taking off, it’s amazing, because more and more groups of them keep taking off, and then you see there’s a bunch still there.”

Photo by Chris Sanders

White pelicans have long necks and massive bills. Their webbed feet make for water-ski landings and strong swimming. The species is perhaps best known for the expandable pouch on their bill, which can hold up to 3 gallons of water. They use it to scoop fish from the water. Once they catch a fish, the birds lift their heads to drain the water out the sides before swallowing their catch.

What’s the best way to view them? “The birds are very tolerant of people most of the time,” Chiles said. “Of course, anytime that you visit the refuge, your best blind is your car. Birds don’t pay much attention to anybody in a car, but once you get out, they’re more cautious.”

White pelicans eat mostly small to midsized schooling fish in Lake Texoma, such as shad or bass.  However, they have been filmed scooping up fish as large as their bill, which they must then wrangle to swallow, often still wriggling. They are opportunistic feeders, and may also eat other creatures such as salamanders, crayfish, turtles, or tadpoles or whatever is available.

Unlike the brown pelican, this species never plunge-dives from the air. Rather, white pelicans may be seen working cooperatively, forming a circle or a tight line on the water’s surface, beating their wings to drive schools of fish toward shore. Once the fish are forced into shallow water, the birds make easy work of scooping up their dinner. If another bird’s catch looks tasty, the white pelican is not 

Photo by Win Goddard

above stealing its supper from another bird, even one of their own kind.

White pelicans travel in V-formations. In these tight groupings, each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of them, reducing the wind resistance each bird experiences. This conserves their energy. The birds take turns being the lead bird, falling back when they get tired.  These formations might also help the birds communicate with and keep track of each other.

Humans pose their biggest threat. The birds have relatively few breeding colonies, and human disturbance and destruction of their habitat, such as the flooding or draining of shallow wetlands pose major concerns. For example, a land bridge formed on the Great Salt Lake in Utah recently destroyed a major nesting site for the birds, Chiles said. White pelicans build their nests on the ground, so they choose islands to protect their offspring from predators that could reach them by land, he explained.

On the sand bars of Lake Texoma, when the white pelicans are rested and fed and the weather conditions are just right, flocks begin to take off, heading South to their wintering grounds on the Gulf of Mexico. The flocks depart in midmorning when sunlight begins to warm up the ground. The rising heat forms what are known as thermals. These columns of warm air rise and help lift large-winged birds such as pelicans into the sky.

Photo by Chris Sanders

“If you want to see them when they’re taking off, which is pretty spectacular, they start around 10:00 in the morning,” Chiles said. “In my experience, it takes about an hour for most of them to get airborne.” The birds soar gracefully on their very broad, stable wings, very high in the sky. “When they get really high, often all that is visible are the black edges on their wings.”

The trailing edges of the white pelicans’ wings are black due to a pigment called melanin, Chiles explained. The melanin stiffens these feathers and makes them stronger for flight. “When you watch a huge flock of them fly it’s really something because when they turn a certain way, it’s like they all disappear.”

Birding with Jack: The Weekly Bird Census

Left to Right: Mike Petrick, Nancy Riggs, Jack Chiles and Terry Goode

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.

September 26, 2023  Complete Bird Census List

59 species, Observers: Jack Chiles, Mike Petrick

American Avocet

Broad-winged Hawk

It was a still morning as we ventured out to do today's census. We walked to the photo blind on Harris Creek Trail at the start and it was very quiet. We did see a couple of American Kestrels there. We then proceeded to the Goode Area and saw a Brown Thrasher and a Common Yellowthroat on the way there. At Dead Woman Pond we saw a Belted Kingfisher. We continued on past Dead Woman Pond and saw the first of three Broad-winged Hawks for the day. I don't remember ever seeing as many as three Broad-winged Hawks in one day at the refuge. Later as we went down Wildlife Drive we saw White-faced Ibis and we finished the day with a count of 165 for that species, down quite a bit from the large numbers of Ibis we have been seeing. Shorebird numbers were also way down from what we have been seeing for the last month, but we did manage to get 12 shorebird species including a Sanderling. Early in the day there were more than 750 American White Pelicans that had overnighted on the sandbar at the end of Plover pad but many of them left when the thermals developed around 10 a.m.. We had the first Northern Flickers of the season. A Tricolored Heron is still present in the vicinity of the Harris Creek Bridge. One of the best sightings of the day was an Ovenbird past Meadow Pond near the railroad tracks. That is only the third Ovenbird I have ever seen on the refuge. We finished the day with 59 species. Today's photos, American Avocet and Broad-winged Hawk.

See the rest of Jack's notes and the latest Bird Census Results       

Junior Ranger Program: Advanced and Intermediate

Complete a scavenger hunt, a leaf rubbing and identify a few common birds to become a Junior Ranger.  At the end of the journey report back to the Visitor Center where you will be guided through the pledge (above) and receive your merit of completion. 

Print the Hagerman-specific Activity Packet  or pick one up in the Visitor Center.

The Junior Ranger Pledge

As a Junior Ranger at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge,

I pledge to protect outdoor creatures small, big and huge.

To keep the water, air and land clean.

To make enjoying nature a routine.

I will share my new skills with family and friends.

When people and nature work together, everybody wins!

The Photo Club: Photo Shoot in the Butterfly Garden

October 7, 2023 at 1:00 PM

Join us for an afternoon in the Butterfly Garden for a photo shoot at Hagerman NWR. We will be shooting in the butterfly garden as well as the garden in front of the visitor center. Bring any of your other butterfly shots that need to be identified and we can help with that as well.

This event is limited to FOHNWR Nature Photography Club members only. Registration is not required. Click here to become a member of Friends of Hagerman and select a membership with Photo Club.

This shoot is weather permitting so please check back within 48 hours of the event for updates.

For details and registration, please click the link below:

Plant of the Month: Fall Aster by Shawn Stone

In Fall we find that the plentitude of spring and summer blooms starts to slow down, resulting in bare spots in the garden as well as less nectar options for butterflies and other pollinators. One plant that helps fill this gap is the Fall Aster which waits until October – November to burst out with its blooms. This is a great native alternative to planting chrysanthemums for fall color and are more reliable in our Texas soils.

Fall Aster is also known as Aromatic Aster, Aromatic American Aster, Wild Blue Aster, or Shale Aster is native to Texas and can be planted throughout the state. It grows in full sun or partial shade and forms a mounded plant between 2-3 feet in height. It is drought tolerant and needs little water or fertilizer once established. Native asters generally need little care. They will die back after the first frost and will need to be cut back to the ground in late winter/early spring. The “aromatic” portion of one of its many names comes from the smell of the leaves when crushed vs the flowers. There are several native Texas varieties – Heath Aster and Willow Leaf Aster which are both white, and Texas Aster in the lavender/purple color. In garden centers that carry native plants, you can usually find asters starting around September.

Several native species of aster serve as a host/larval food plant for the Pearl Crescent butterfly but butterflies and bees in general will flock to asters in the fall when other food sources are no longer blooming.

For more information, visit: Wildflower.org or Neilsperry.com

Photos from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Neil Sperry, and Austin Native Landscaping.

Join Us With a Membership

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, mowing the trails, picking up trash, painting and 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!   An individual membership is $10

The "Big" Little Sit

Sunrise Bird Count

Normally this event is the "Little Sit", but this one is the Big Sit because the entire country is participating!

Meet Jack and the Bird Census Team 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:

Sunrise at the Little Sit

Photo taken by Laurie Sheppard

Join Cindy Steele for:

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

There will be no Refuge Rocks program in December

Puddles' Craft Corner

Creepy, Crawly Spiders! Craft

By Cindy Steele, Master Naturalist


No pictures to show


Welcome back to Puddles’ Craft Corner! It’s that creepy, crawly time of year again, so it just makes sense to learn about one of the creepiest, crawliest animals on the planet…spiders!

Ick! Ewww! A spider! This may be the reaction of many when they come across these creepy, crawly eight-legged creatures, but do you realize that spiders are an important part of our ecosystem? They help keep our planet from being covered with insects! Spiders are eight-legged creatures known for making silk webs to catch insects. They live everywhere in... 

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 volunteer 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!

Visitor Center Volunteers Needed!

Do you enjoy meeting all kinds of people from all over the world, and like-minded people in our area?  If yes, consider joining our team of Visitor Center Volunteers.  You will greet refuge guests, distribute maps and other refuge information, and make sales in the gift shop.

Shifts available every day of the week: Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 12:30 PM and 12:30 to 4:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 PM.  Training is provided.  Contact Us if interested.

Thank You

To Our Contributors:

Jack Chiles, Cindy Steele, Linda Richmond, Chris Sanders, Win Goddard

Refuge Manager: Kathy Whaley

Deputy Refuge Manager: Paul Balkenbush

Visitor Services Manager: Spencer Beard 

Editors: 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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