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Quivira event to highlight Gulf clean-up efforts
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If you want to attend:

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge will host a celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week Saturday, Oct. 16, and attendees will get a chance to help with the Gulf oil spill clean-up efforts. Activities start at 4 p.m. There is not fee to attend, but clean-up effort donations will be accepted. For more information contact QNWR at 620-486-2393.

QUIVIRA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE – When folks gather to enjoy a pork barbecue and western concert in the wide open spaces of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Saturday, Oct. 16, they will be doing more than celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week. They will help Gulf wildlife refuges with oil spill.

Although attendees will have a good time, there is a more somber side to the observance, as witnessed by four QNWR staff members who traveled the Gulf of Mexico to help with the clean-up efforts in the wake of the blown British Petroleum off-shore drilling rig.

"It was a disturbing site," said Bill Waln, Fish and Wildlife Service district fire management officer stationed at Quivira. "It’s never good to see wildlife covered in oil." Waln went to the coast at the end of July and beginning of August and worked in a remote area of the Mississippi River Delta.

However, he said the scope of the disaster wasn’t as wide scale as it seemed in television news reports. "It wasn’t all soaked in oil," he said. There were isolated areas along the Gulf coast where he saw oil coming ashore.

The U.S. Coast Guard and BP were handling the actual clean-up. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers were picking up injured wildlife.

As for the festivities, there is a full evening of activities planned for the "Gulf Oil Spill" Benefit Dinner and Concert. There is not fee to attend, but clean-up effort donations will be accepted.

Stories around the campfire by Judy Brewer, kids crafts and tram tours of the Kids Fishing Pond area will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Kids can also toast marshmallows at the campfire, after the barbecue pork dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Kansas cowboy minstrel David "Zerf" Zerfas will provide songs from the Kansas frontier during this year’s celebration. After reading and hearing first-hand accounts of the Gulf oil spill impact on Wildlife Refuges along the Gulf of Mexico, the Friends of Quivira Board and Quivira administration decided to provide a benefit concert and supper, with all proceeds, after expenses, sent to the National Wildlife Refuge Association Gulf Oil Spill Relief Fund. Many migratory birds that stop at Quivira travel through the Gulf on their way north and south along the Central Flyway, raising the risk of negative impacts to those birds.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association accepts applications from Gulf Coast Refuges for funds to rescue wildlife and for oil spill clean-up. Several QNWR staff have traveled to the Gulf to assist with wildlife rescue and clean up, seeing firsthand the challenges faced by these small refuges.

The benefit concert and dinner begins with a special act by Dennis Teichman, Stafford, featuring his song about Pelican Pete – a hermit who lived on the Refuge. Teichman has performed for several years in the area.

Zerf will perform at 6 p.m., following a barbecue pork supper. Zerf has been writing music since 1975, performing throughout Kansas with his band, Plastique, from 1979 to 1985. He studied voice for over five years with retired opera singer Gloria Bennett. He has performed at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas Sampler Festival, Chisholm Trail Festivals, Great Plains Chautauqua and the Annie Oakley Festival in Greenville, Ohio.

For more information contact QNWR at 620-486-2393.