Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association

help protect the future of nature

We protect wildlife because they inspire us. Your support will make a big difference.


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The Refuge

The Refuge

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) consists of 37,000 acres of Federal land that represents a diverse biological community.

The Refuge also supports the largest concentration of Sandhill Cranes in the state and is the winter home for an increasing number of the endangered Whooping Crane.

The cranes (Sandhills and Whooping) can be easily viewed from the comfort of the Wildlife Observation Building which is a short walk from the Visitor Center.


1) Wildlife Live Cam Project

WWRA will be providing funds for the installation of a live cam inside one of the Wood Duck nesting boxes at the Visitor Center.

The camera will be mounted in the box and powered by a solar panel. The image will be transmitted to the Visitor Center where it will be shown on a flat panel television.

If this is successful, the project may be expanded to other nesting boxes in and around 
the Visitor Center and Observation Building.

The initial project should be up and running by fall.

2) The Invasive plant species project

Invasive plant species are here, both on the refuge and in the Alabama countryside. Your Wheeler Refuge Wildlife Association is responding to the challenge! On behalf of the association, board members April Waltz and Don Collier applied for a public education grant from ALIPC (the Alabama Invasive Plant Council) last spring. They received $1000 to promote education on invasive plant species at the Wheeler Refuge Visitor Center.

The grant will provide funds to publish a brochure with information on ten to twelve invasive species with pictures, history, ecology and management techniques used for control.

We are also supplying ongoing information in our quartly newsletters.The November 2009 issue focused on three invasive species: kudzu, Cherokee rose, and Chinese privet. The Janruary newsletter introduced three additional invasive species: bamboo, English ivy and nandina.


You are invited to become a member of the Wheeler Wildife Refuge Association. Members are our most important resource and are critical to the continuing success of our organization.  Membership dues make it possible for the Wheeler Wildlife Association to continue supporting the projects and educational programs at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Our 100+ members participate in a variety of ways from financial support through donations or membership dues to actively volunteering. Every member is important in helping our organization continue to grow.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Subscription to our quarterly newsletter
  • 10% discount on purchases at the Bookstore & Gift Shop
  • Keep in touch with national and local issues regarding refuges
  • Voting privileges at the annual meeting
  • Keep informed on current wildlife and habitat information in Northern Alabama
  • Invitations to special member–only events such as Field Trips
  • And most important of all…the knowledge that your contribution is helping to maintain this unique natural resource called Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge for present and future generations of visitors.

Membership contributions will:

  • Finance various education and conservation activities
  • Improve and create sites for the observation of birds and other wildlife
  • Enhance public awareness along the Tennessee River
  • Support the restoration and preservation of wetlands and associated areas

Won’t you become a Friend of Wheeler Refuge? Just print out and complete the attached MEMBERSHIP FORM and mail it with your check to the Wheeler Wildlife Association.

Innovations that are changing wildlife conservation – live cam project

Innovations that are changing wildlife conservation – live cam project

Many institutions like Wheeler national Wildlife Refuge are resorting to technology resources to study the activities of animals in their natural habitat without affecting their behavior. The main goal of this kind of innovative projects is to preserve these species and improve their health and quality of life. Additionally, such strategies enable people to enjoy the most captivating biodiversity of our world.

Endangered species that can be preserved with the assistance of technology

In Estonia, a project involving a camera and an immense forest is allowing through streaming a dynamic interaction with a small group of ospreys. The creators of the program installed a filming device right next to the nest in which a chick of this species is being raised. During the day, people can observe in real time, how parents bring food to feed their baby bird, among other activities.

Technology innovations are allowing the implementation of similar projects in many places around the world which help to identify the most suitable strategies to preserve endangered species. For instance, SEO/Birdlife is undertaking conservationist programs through the installation of webcams on the nests of threatened feathered creatures.

Birds like the Swallow and the Peregrine Falcon can be appreciated with all their magnificence with the assistance of high definition cameras that are strategically located near their nests. These devices are installed in such way that they not affect the natural behavior of these animals, helping to collect valuable knowledge related to their biology and their livelihood.

On the other hand, National Geographic magazine and the University of Georgia have joined efforts to implement a project that consists in the study of outdoor activities of domestic cats. Through the footages collected in real time it is possible to observe life form the perspective of these felines who carry a tiny camera with them.

Raising awareness in regards to the importance of all kinds of life

Webcam projects also involve educational purposes, since they allow people of all ages to observe the magnificent equilibrium of nature and the complexity of all living beings that surround us. Many conservationist institutions like Wheeler national Wildlife Refuge provide an open window to wildlife. Thanks to the launching of a network of filming devices, during a specific season, it is possible to observe live images of some of the most emblematic species.

Webcams have revolutionized the relationship between humans and wild animals. These devices offer a privileged perspective from which it is possible to appreciate different species and learn much more about them without harassing them. Nature fans become invisible and silent observers of the most fascinating creatures without interfering with their activities.

Live transmissions of wildlife have as a main goal to raise awareness about what really means to observe an animal on its natural habitat without producing a negative impact. The audience can contemplate the way each creature unfolds on its habitual surroundings while respecting its space. Kids can learn from an early age the important is each living being for the equilibrium of the environment. It will help to create a consciousness of responsibility in future generations that will actively work on the preservation of a healthy planet.