The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge is taking advantage of a relatively new facility to get a little classroom preparation done before venturing outside to encounter nature.
A three-part Introduction to Birding workshop is nearing completion at the refuge's visitors center, which opened in 2011.
"Prior to having the visitors center, we didn't even have a place for people to meet up with a refuge staff member," Park Ranger Madeline Yancey said.
She said that with the center's audio and visual capabilities, it's much easier to teach about the wildlife that can be found on the refuge.
Yancey, who has been bird watching since childhood, is leading the birding workshop. The first session revolved around the definition of birding. The second, which was held Saturday, focused on identifying the scores of bird species that visit the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge each year.
Yancey said that in September, the third section of the workshop will culminate in attendees using what they have learned to go out on the refuge and find some of the birds they've learned about.
The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge has a schedule of its events on its website, www.fws.gov/refuge/san_luis. You can call the refuge at (209) 826-3508.