A century ago, the National Wildlife Refuge System got its start when Teddy Roosevelt, one of our nation's foremost environmental presidents, began setting wilderness aside to ensure that future generations would always have unspoiled areas to enjoy. On March 14, 1903, he handed down an order to protect Pelican Island in Florida's Indian River. He wanted to preserve the island as a breeding ground for birds. In the crowded country that America has become, the survival of birds and animals now depends upon these places. In the past century, America's wildlife refuges have grown and prospered -- with a few recent exceptions to accommodate the logging industry. Today, the system includes some 94 million acres on 530 refuges. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state in the country. History and conservation buffs can catch a lesson on the system's birthday as Nathaniel Reed shows a short video about refuges across the country and describes their history at Hobe Sound Nature Center (13640 SE Federal Hwy., Hobe Sound). Naturally, given that this is a birthday, cake follows the presentation. Admission is free. Call 772-546-2067.
Friday, March 14
Has all this pro- and antiwar posturing got you down? Are you unnerved by the overwhelming public acceptance and mass consumption of duct tape? Are you frightened by the cowboys-and-Indians mentality of the government? Don't resort to watching another round of reality TV! Frank Black wants you to scream out your aggressions with him. The former Pixies front man swings into the Factory (2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) to promote his two new albums, Black Letter Days and Devil's Workshop. Black's unique career, forged without any help from the majors, has secured him a certain underdog status. Now he's ready to lay his oddly intriguing rock gospel on the unconverted masses of South Florida. And if you can't get enough of Black on tour, look out for the fall debut of "Teenager of the Year," an off-Broadway rock musical. It should be interesting to see how Black's trademark manic, screeching vocals translate into showtunes. Ex-Pixies drummer David Lovering, Scientific Phenomenalist, and Seville open. Tickets cost $12 in advance, $14 at the door. Call 954-566-6331.
Saturday, March 15
Jerry Garcia's death may have spelled the end of the Grateful Dead, but the rest of the band elected to continue under the name the Other Ones, even dragging out some old standards that the Dead had retired years before. But that decision posed a very large question: Who on earth is going to step in for Garcia and play lead guitar? It made sense to recruit the man Garcia once called his favorite unknown guitarist -- Steve Kimock. Kimock had his own band at the time, the short-lived Frisco sensation KVHM, but he gladly went along for the ride on the Other Ones' 1998 and 2000 summer tours. By 2000, KVHM had turned into the Steve Kimock Band, and nowadays, following a rumored spat with Dead bassist Phil Lesh, Kimock's own band receives all of the guitar whiz's focus. See the results when the Steve Kimock Band comes to the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale) for a two-day run, Friday and today, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Call 954-564-1074.
Sunday, March 16
Forget Mardi Gras. The South Florida Intergalactic Bead Festival has all the beads a person could hope for, without all the flashing. More than 40 vendors from 15 states display antique, vintage, ancient, synthetic, and modern handmade beads, bead books, and finished jewelry. Browse through an out-of-this-world selection of fire polish beads, Bali silver and copper beads, freshwater pearls, and unique gemstones. Participate in a beading workshop, or watch a hot-glass beadmaking demonstration. The festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Pompano Beach Civic Center (1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach). Tickets cost $5. Call 888-729-6904.
Monday, March 17
Writing is a fairly easy skill to learn. After all, if it weren't, half the staff of New Times wouldn't be here. But it's also a tough skill to master. One must know one's audience. And if that audience happens to be a bunch of kiddies, you'd best know how to hold their attention. As part of Delray Beach Public Library's (29 SE Fourth Ave., Delray Beach) Authors Series, Carol White discusses "Writing Poetry and Short Stories for Children" at 2 p.m. Admission is free. Call 561-266-9490.
Tuesday, March 18
Feed me, Seymour! Believe it or not, Florida is a hotbed of carnivorous plant activity. Aside from the rare Venus flytrap, which has been poached nearly to extinction, and a few other rare species of sarracenia, or pitcher plant, every species of carnivorous plant in the United States is found in Florida. The sundew, the pitcher plant, the bladderwort, the butterwort, and many other species of plants that just can't seem to get enough nutrition from soil and sun often take root in Florida, where they rely on a grisly diet of insects to supplement the usual plant diet. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the care and feeding of Florida's carnivorous native plants at the next meeting of the Native Plant Society. At 7:30 p.m. at Mounts Botanical Garden (531 N. Military Trl., Boca Raton), Michael Manna shows slides and discusses these greedy greens. Admission is free. Call 561-585-0114.