spiritislandThis year Mille Lacs NWR is “terning” 100! Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge is the NWR System’s smallest refuge (only .57 acres!) and is composed of two small rocky islands in Mille Lacs Lake. These small patches of rock may not look like much, but they are an important habitat for colonial nesting birds, including the Minnesota state threatened common tern. To celebrate the significance of Mille Lacs NWR and its history, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the Minnesota State DNR, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and the Friends of Rice Lake, is throwing a BIG party for the smallest refuge! The public of all ages is invited to join us for our FREE centennial celebration on Friday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Father Hennepin State Park in Isle, Minnesota. For those attending the celebration, entrance to the state park will be free and a free lunch will be provided by Friends of Rice Lake NWR.

There will be many family-oriented activities at the event. Kids can play games to learn about common terns and their habitat while speaking to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists about how they manage the islands. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe will have engaging and interactive history displays. Biologists will use mist-nets to catch live birds and introduce families to the magical world of birds. There will also be games and displays about a variety of critters including ducks, pollinators, and other animals. Participants will even have a chance to assemble and bring home their very own bat house! Friends of Rice Lake will provide a free, catered sandwich lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Refuge birthday cake will be served shortly after lunch.

All activities will be held at the public beach area of Father Hennepin State Park, which is located at 41296 Father Hennepin Park Rd, Isle, MN, 56342. For more information about the event, please contact Michelle Garcia at 763-389-3323 xt 13 or [email protected]

Mille Lacs NWR is part of Sherburne Refuge Complex, which is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Sherburne Refuge Complex is located near the cities of Princeton, Zimmerman, and St. Cloud, in central Minnesota. Website: www.fws.gov/refuge/sherburne Mille Lacs NWR is not open to the public and is in Mille Lacs Lake. Website: www.fws.gov/refuge/mille_lacs/

The mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwmidwest, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.