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A berry good time at the Refuge

Posted: August 23, 2012 - 2:52pm  |  Updated: August 23, 2012 - 3:16pm
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Red elderberries are eaten by many wildlife, but can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma in people unless cooked.
Red elderberries are eaten by many wildlife, but can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma in people unless cooked.

Wild berry season has arrived on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Bears enjoy big clusters of devil’s club and mountain ash berries, while robins and thrushes devour red elderberries. Wildlife and humans alike enjoy blueberries and cranberries. To find out which berries are safe for people, join us at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for our special Wild Berry Fun Day.

Our Wild Berry Fun Day is a “once-a-year only” special event taking place tomorrow, Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center (located one mile from Soldotna off Ski Hill Road). Enjoy wild berry displays, crafts, activities, free door prizes, and tasty berry snacks. All activities are free of charge and a great way to enjoy the end of summer!

Join in on special guided walks to learn which berries are edible and which are poisonous. On the walks we will be identifying rather than picking berries. Walks are easy, 1/4-mile in length and last 30 minutes. They will take place on the hour at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.. To ensure you have a spot on the walk, pre-registration is necessary. To pre-register or for more information, contact Michelle Ostrowski at 907-260-2839.

If you would like to go out on your own for a walk, we provide a self-guided berry identification guide for you.

Take time not only to taste wild berries this fall, but get outdoors often to appreciate the natural wonders of our beautiful Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Remember there’s always something special to discover!

Candace Ward works at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge as a park ranger specializing in visitor service and education. Her favorite wild berry guide book is “Alaska’s Wild Berries & Berry-Like Fruit” by Verna Pratt. For more on Refuge education programs, contact us at 262-7021 or check out our website at http://kenai.fws.gov or http://www.facebook.com/kenainationalwildliferefuge.

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