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The Refuge Rocks! is Back With its  Biggest Event of the Season:


This Saturday, June 4th!

10am to 12:00, Ages 4-16

Let's celebrate Texas Free Fishing Day by coming out to the refuge to fish with us.    Come to the first pond on Refuge Road - look for the sign.  We provide poles and bait or you may bring your own.  We will also have some fishy craft fun!  Parent or other responsible adult must accompany children.  Sturdy shoes, hats, sunscreen and insect repellent recommended, as well as lawn chairs.  You may bring a picnic lunch and non-alcoholic beverages...no glass containers please!  There is no advanced registration needed for this event.  This program will be cancelled in case of bad weather. 

This fishing event is Free and open to the public.  Funded by donations, powered by volunteers.  Fishing license not necessary.

We hope you will join us!

Next Month's Refuge Rocks is  on July 16th

Refuge Update:

The visitor center is open Monday through Saturday 9-4, Sunday 1-5. 

The wildflowers are beautiful; it's a great time to visit the refuge!

A Little Hagerman History

Perhaps you’ve wondered as you traveled around the refuge, “where did those names come from?” Probably the one most curious one is Dead Woman Pond, but I can shed no light on that. However, I found an interesting article first published in the July 2009 issue of the Featherless Flyer where longtime volunteer Doug Raasch explained a bit of Hagerman history and who some of the geographic features of the area were named for. Raasch himself has a trail named for him, to recognize his long service to the refuge and its visitors. You may have seen some of his handiwork if you have used one of the trail map handouts – he was the author of the ones we still use today. Raasch died in 2016 following a long illness. Read on to see the original article as he wrote it...

--Laurie Sheppard

(Originally published in the Featherless Flyer, July, 2009)

By Doug Raasch

When is Goode good ? Maybe Goode is goody. No dude, Goode is gewed. Look at Steedman Marsh, but pronounce Steedman as Steadman. We have Deaver Pond and Dunning Pond, but don’t forget those Derby Ponds. OK, enough of that.

The more you use Hagerman Wildlife Refuge, the more you become familiar with the names that define and identify geographic points. In the early 1940’s, small family farms grew a little cotton, grazed a few cows, fattened a hog, gathered chicken eggs, and most of all, raised children. Those farmers that tired of the toil, moved to the small but bustling town of Hagerman. Unfortunately, while this little town was a good place for a railroad switch, it was also a perfect spot to build a lake.

As World War II was expanding, huge Lake Texoma was filling with runoff from 91,430 square miles up the meandering Red River. When Harold Ickes established a wildlife refuge in February, 1946, it was apparent that the little farms and the little town lost the race for survival. Migrating waterfowl were the winners and still rule to this day. Oddly enough, there is nothing bearing the name of Ickes.  Ickes Pond?? Ickes Marsh ?? Harold’s name is a bummer for titles.

As the local folks abandoned their homesteads, the family names were left behind to become eternal markers on the maps of the refuge. Area cemeteries hold the familiar names on the grave stones. The grave of J.P. Smith, the father of Hagerman town, overlooks the Hagerman cemetery. Georgetown cemetery holds the long and prosperous line of the Goode family. The Steedman family has burial plots in Mt. Tabor and West Hill cemeteries.

Fortunately, a number of descendants of the early settlers still live in the area. They are a diverse and interesting group, friendly and willing to discuss what they know about families in the area. Violet Jones Bruce and her brother Herschel Jones remember Hagerman as a near perfect place to grow up. Their father worked for the KATY railroad and made the decision to move to town in a house across the street from the school. Since their front yard was a playground, Vi and Herschel always had ball games available. Vi rode a goat to school once, but when high school came, brother and sister took the bus to Denison high school. One of the main events that the people of Hagerman looked forward to was the “hog killin’”. This get-together provided the opportunity for trading, which was Daddy Jones true calling. Cars, cows, horses, canned food and any other necessity came from his shrewd bargaining.

Dr. Carlos Araoz and his late wife, Eulalia Steedman Araoz, are Life Members of the Friends of Hagerman. Eulalia’s family history traces back to L.A. Steedman and wife Lilly Jane who left Sherman in 1908 to farm the area around Deaver Switch. L.A.’s father was a Grayson County judge for eight years beginning in 1888. The post office at Steedman, Texas was located in the family home. The year 1907 marked the formation of the Hagerman Independent School District. In 1920, a two story brick school house was completed to accommodate the three teachers with the names Steedman, Ballard, and Goode. The upper floor of the school house became a meeting place and a cultural center for the north Texas area, featuring debates, literary societies, music, and plays. The last program took place in 1942, with Lake Texoma threatening just outside.

Gerald Payne is a descendant of the Goode Family and has direct connection to the refuge. Gerald explained that the Goode family lost most of their farm to Hagerman refuge, but his family still owns 97 acres along the boundary near the Refuge Road entrance.

E.Y. Goode moved from Kentucky to Grayson County in a covered wagon. E.Y. eventually bought 2500 acres of land and became the Chisom Trail Cattle Inspector. He had the power of attorney to confiscate cattle judged to be stolen and return them to their rightful owners. The Goode family farm eventually covered the area that became Perrin Field. After building a 14 room house, the farm became the 55 Ranch. E.Y. was one of the original owners of the M & P Bank.

Other farms that have familiar names are Curtis Terry (Terry Lane); Wiley Dunning (Dunning Pond); Daucy Harris (Harris Creek); John Ballard (Cedar of Lebanon); Richard Meyers (Meyers Creek).

The next time you plan an outing at Hagerman, look for the ghost of the characters that make up the history of the refuge.

(Note: Photo of the entrance to Raasch Trail by Laurie Lawler)

Our New Notification System:

Bird Alert!

Have you ever heard about the interesting bird, rare to Hagerman, that dropped in for a brief visit....three months ago?  Yeah, it has happened to us, too.

To solve this annoying problem and help cultivate your "Life List" of bird sightings, we have developed the "Bird Alert!" notification system.  Participants will receive an email every time the sighting of a qualifying bird has been verified by an expert birder.  

Current Friends of Hagerman NWR Members have automatically been added to the "Bird Alert!" System.  Newcomers are welcome to join us!

Don't forget that our weekly bird census with field notes is available online, updated every Wednesday.

Simply Contact Us to be removed from our alert system.

Photo is of a Wood Stork, rare to Hagerman NWR, taken in Aug 2021 by  Kim Kai

Introducing Our Newest Monthly Event:

Click Here for details

Early Bird Walk with Jack

Saturday, June 11th, 8:00 am, Meet at the Visitor Center

Master Naturalist Jack Chiles and Ornithologist Dr. Wayne Meyer will lead our Early Birding event, weather permitting. Enjoy an easy walk along Harris Creek Trail, learning about the birds in the area. Bring binoculars or borrow ours. Meet at the Visitor Center and return in time for the Second Saturday program.

Registration is appreciated so we may notify you of unforeseen changes/cancellation.

Second Saturday: Astronomy with David Whelan

Saturday, June 11th at 10:00am in the Visitor Center Lecture Room

Details:  There are certain things that we can directly measure for stars, such as their distances and brightnesses. Much of what else we think we know, for instance about their sizes, masses, surface temperatures, chemical makeup, and internal properties, comes to us by inference. Eclipsing binary star systems can offer us (almost) direct physical insight into the sizes and masses of stars, which can in turn help us understand the observable properties of similar stars more generally; even non-eclipsing binary stars are useful for deducing physical properties. Dr. Whelan will illustrate these points both from an historical perspective and by using recent discoveries made at Adams Observatory.

Bio: Dr. David Whelan is a stellar astronomer at Austin College. His research focuses on trying to understand the nature of intermediate- and high-mass stars -- stars for which little remains known about their physical nature and evolution. Unraveling these mysteries requires use of the Adams Observatory, where he concentrates on observing stellar spectra for classification and quantitative analysis. He earned his M.S. and PhD degrees at the University of Virginia, and previously worked as a researcher and software programmer for the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, with the Infrared Spectrograph team at Cornell University.

Registration Appreciated

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. 
  • Free, funded by donations and powered by volunteers.

Puddles' Craft Corner

A Home for the Birds!

By Cindy Steele,

Master Naturalist

Have you ever seen a bird flying with a twig in its mouth? Sometimes that’s what you see and that’s all you think. A bird is building its nest. But if you think a little deeper…this tiny little bird is building its home. It’s building the bed where it’s babies will be born, where it will hopefully stay safe and where it will live until it doesn’t. Sometimes, a bird flies by carrying a pretty large twig and it catches your eye. The twig is more like a stick and much larger than you think this tiny bird could carry in its beak. This starts you thinking and noticing all the activity going on in your neighborhood as your local bird residents busy themselves getting their nests ready for their families.

With spring almost over and summer starting, birds have been busy collecting nesting materials. They’ve been spotted flying overhead with twigs and bits of fuzzy stuff. Birds are some of the most amazing architects of the natural world and are fascinating to study.

Have you ever found a bird’s nest while exploring outside? They are absolutely extraordinary. What makes it even more incredible is that these little creatures do it all with no hands! Bird nests can be made of twigs, grass, plants, mud, spider silk, moss, hair, string, feathers, and almost any other materials birds can get their beaks on. Some birds, like eagles, build...

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  Census Results       

Shop Amazon Smile to Support the Friends of Hagerman

Amazon SmileDid you know that you can support the Friends of Hagerman while shopping on Amazon? If you shop on Amazon using this Amazon Smile link, the Friends will receive 0.5% of eligible purchases. Simply go to smile.amazon.com and sign in with your Amazon account. Under "Your Account" select "Change your Amazon Smile Charity" and enter "Friends of Hagerman" in the charity search box. Once your results appear, select the Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge Foundation. Every time you make a purchase on Amazon Smile, the Friends will get a donation. Thanks for helping us make Hagerman a great wildlife refuge!

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.

Thank You

To Our Contributors:

Jack Chiles,  Laurie Sheppard, Doug Raasch, Cindy Steele, Cathy Van Bebber, Kim Kai

Refuge Manager: Kathy Whaley

Deputy Refuge Manager: Paul Balkenbush

Visitor Services Manager: Spencer Beard 

Editor: Patricia Crain

Friends of Hagerman NWR Foundation

6465 Refuge Road, Sherman, TX 75092

Phone: 903-786-2826

Contact Us  



Friends of Hagerman NWR

The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year, drive on any road unless gated.

Admission to the refuge, parking and most events/activities are funded by donations and powered by volunteers. 

6465 Refuge Road

Sherman, TX 75092

Contact Us


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 

Special thanks to Nancy Miller for the amazing photo of the Visitor Center

See you at the refuge! 

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