Archived Story

Schedule revised for Wheeler Anniversary Celebration Dec. 7

Published 3:00pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Due to colder weather conditions predicted for the weekend, organizers of the 75th Anniversary Celebration at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge announce a revised schedule of events for indoor activities and have cancelled all outdoor events.

Set for December 7, the birthday celebration is planned to commemorate the establishment of the Refuge and to highlight the refuges’ history and success as a natural resource management demonstration project. Hosted by the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association, the celebration gets underway at 9 a.m. with a showing of “Historic Haven,” the 1966 film produced by the University of Alabama Center for Public Television on the history and mission of Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Larry and Cheryl Battson, founders of Wildlife Educational Services, will present their live wildlife program in three scheduled programs at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. They have worked with Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” and their animals have appeared on television programs such as “The Tonight Show”, “Oprah”, and the “Today” show.

The Teddy Roosevelt Show featuring Joe Wiegand entertains audiences nationwide with his reprisal of President Theodore Roosevelt. As a one-man theater show, Joe’s T.R. shares stories full of adventure, laughter, and inspiration. T.R. will be presenting at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. and will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event.

At noon, the public is invited for the cutting and serving of the birthday cake.

Exhibitors including Alabama Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, TVA, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Resource and Conservation Service, Alabama’s Mountains, Rivers and Valleys Resource conservation and Development Council, and the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Association also will be on hand to share information. All activities and programs are free to the public. Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the day.

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1938 by Executive Order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an experiment to determine the possibility and feasibility of attracting migratory birds onto a multipurpose impoundment. Soon after, ducks began wintering on the refuge and the project was deemed a success. Today, the refuge hosts over 600,000 visitors annually who come to fish, hunt, and observe wildlife in its natural setting. Covering 35,000 acres, it attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl each year and is home to Alabama’s largest wintering duck population. The Refuge also supports the state’s largest concentration of Sandhill Cranes and is the winter home for a small population of the endangered Whooping Crane. For more information on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, visit

The Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is located at 3121 Visitor Center Road in Decatur. For more information on the 75th Anniversary Celebration, visit

About The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCCVB)

The Decatur-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization promoting tourism and economic growth in Morgan County. For information on special events and attractions in Decatur, contact the DMCCVB at 800-524-6181 or 256-350-2028; or visit its website at

Editor's Picks