The Arctic Refuge Virtual Bird Fest takes place November 8 – 14. Photo by Shiloh Schulte/USFWS.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge comprises 19.64 million acres in northeast Alaska that were set aside for the preservation of “unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” Tucked away in a remote corner of Alaska without any access roads, most people will never visit this wilderness. 

“We wanted to bring the refuge to the people,” says Allyssa Morris, the refuge’s environmental education specialist. 

For the past two years, the refuge has organized a virtual bird fest. This year’s event will take place November 8-14. 

More than 201 bird species have been recorded in the refuge and birds that nest in the refuge migrate to all 50 states. “The birds people see in their back yards could be the same birds that nest in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” Morris says.

The festival mimics an in-person bird festival. It includes video excursions into the refuge, guest speakers, and a featured artist. This year, all the events will connect to the theme, “birding is for everyone.” 

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