TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 26010 S. Smith Road Cheney, Washington 99004 9326
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is located on the eastern edge of the Columbia Basin, in Spokane county in northeastern Washington. The Refuge is situated within the "Channeled Scablands", an area formed by glacial floods at the end of the last ice age. Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 to provide productive breeding and nesting grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife.
The Refuge Environment: Turnbull NWR encompasses approximately 16,000 acres of the Channeled Scablands. The ecosystem that predominates the Refuge is unique within the National Wildlife Refuge System and has characteristics that distinguish it from natural reserves worldwide. The powerful forces of volcanism, glaciation and the largest flood in geological history have combined to forge a distinct environment. The combination of basalt outcrops, channeled canyons and ponderosa pine forests infused in a diverse landscape of over 130 marshes, wetlands and lakes, create an environment of aesthetic beauty as well as high quality wildlife habitat. Refuge ecosystems represent an ecological transition between the dry, sagebrush dotted grasslands of the Columbia Basin and the timbered Selkirk and Bitteroot Mountain Ranges that rise up to the east. The 3,036 acres of wetlands on Turnbull NWR represent some of the last quality breeding habitat available in eastern Washington for waterfowl, which have experienced tremendous population declines across North America due to loss and degradation of breeding, migration and wintering habitat.
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Turnbull NWR has been a center for on-site environmental education for over 25 years. With the support of a new non-profit organization established in 1997, the Friends of Turnbull, the refuge staff has been able to increase environmental awareness within Spokane, Washington area school children and the general public. It is the intention of the environmental education program to develop an educated and informed constituency, pro-active in protecting and restoring natural ecosystems.The refuge is currently offering a multi-faceted environmental education program consisting of four major projects serving up to 8,000 students each year. The following projects are offered during the winter through fall, respectively: 1) Discover Wildlife Outreach Project - providing age-specific, in-classroom thematic presentations to students of broad socioeconomic backgrounds; 2) Spring Field Trips - furnishing teacher workshops to familiarize educators with environmental education materials and techniques and facilitating on-site environmental education field activities for school groups visiting the refuge 3) Summer Interpretation - offering bird-watching and wildlife observation walks, and other outdoor activities for a variety of civic groups; 4) Fall Field Trips - extending the outdoor experience into the autumn months by challenging students to appreciate their natural world through the eyes of indigenous peoples.The refuge has an environmental education classroom at the refuge headquarters that is available to school groups and to the general public. Visitors can view mounted birds and mammals and other natural history exhibits, view wildlife videos or a video about the refuge. Groups wishing to use the classroom or to schedule environmental education or outreach activities should contact the refuge for a reservation.
The refuge is located south of the town of Cheney, Washington. Visitors can reach the public use area by driving 4 miles south from Highway 904 in Cheney on the Cheney-Plaza Road.
The refuge entrance is marked by a large entrance sign and arrow pointing down Smith Road. Drive about 2 miles east on Smith Road to reach the refuge headquarters and public use area. The environmental education classroom is located at the refuge headquarters.