See special parts of refuge Saturday

Published 12:01 am Thursday, October 25, 2012

Come join the staff and Friends of St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge as we celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week by hosting Refuge Day Saturday at the refuge office located at 21 Pintail Lane near Sibley.

From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., there will be special activities, food and drink that will entertain and educate participants of all ages.

Activities include guided canoe trips, guided birding trips, black bear information and games, migration game, photography contest, photo ops with heavy equipment and stations for butterfly gardening, pond discovery, hog trapping, trail cameras, refuge information stations and a wildlife law enforcement station.

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Hot dogs, drinks and all activities are free!

Refuge staff will be leading guided canoe trips at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. through cypress-filled Gilliard Lake, truly one of the most beautiful lakes in the Miss-Lou. Be prepared to see centuries-old cypress trees, alligators, egrets and a number of other birds. This is always one of the most popular events, so call to reserve a canoe, 601-442-6696, or bring your own.

Refuge staff will also be guiding tours through the refuge impoundments, an area normally closed to visitors to minimize disturbance to the birds. Staff will be identifying the birds and answering questions about habitat management. Tours will leave from the refuge office at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The threatened Louisiana black bear is an interesting, native animal whose local populations are making an incredible recovery due to protection, education and habitat development. Learn what it is like to be a black bear at the black bear obstacle course and how biologists track their movements at the black bear information station.

Staff and friends will be guiding participants on a tour of the Hidden Pond with dip nets and through a microscope. Come see what creatures, large and small, can be found in the pond.

The Friends of St. Catherine Creek Refuge have started a new program, “Science in the Swamp.”

Teachers run the program for young biologists to spend one Saturday a month expanding their knowledge and building interest in biology. Find out what the program offers.

A wildlife photo contest will be judged and on display. Submit photos in the youth and adult categories by 9 a.m. Saturday to be included in the contest.

Our refuge law enforcement officer will be available to answer questions relative to refuge regulations and various topics.

Other on-going activities include the “Animal Olympics,” migration game and butterfly gardening demonstrations. The Magnolia National Recreation Trail is open for the public to view and use.

The eagles are back, the cypress trees are turning bronze in color, and the weather is great. It is a beautiful time of year to be on the refuge.

Bring your camera and binoculars to join us for fun, food and adventure as you discover what your local national wildlife refuge has to offer!

The refuge is easy to find and only 20 minutes from downtown Natchez. To get to the refuge office from Natchez, drive south from Natchez on U.S. 61 for approximately 12 miles. Turn right on York Road (Sibley) for 2 miles. Turn left onto Pintail Lane for 0.1 mile to the refuge headquarters. Call 601-442-6696 for information and canoe reservations.

National Wildlife Refuge Week is an annual event to especially encourage visitors to experience refuges. St. Catherine Creek NWR is part of a system of over 550 national wildlife refuges and 38 Wetland Management Districts dedicated to the protection of the nation’s natural resources, but also offers a range of wildlife-dependent recreation.

Each year, about 42 million Americans discover the wonders of nature by visiting a wildlife refuge for fishing, hunting, environmental education, wildlife observation, wildlife photography and interpretive activities.


Bob Strader is the refuge manager at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge.