“Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge - A Home for Endangered Species” is the theme for the annual Refuge Appreciation Day. The event, hosted by the Friends of the Patoka River NWR and the Patoka River NWR, will be Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 9 am until 2 pm CT at Wirth Park in Oakland City, IN.
Featured morning programs are about endangered and recovered Indiana species. There will be programs on the state endangered swamp rabbit and the alligator snapping turtle. The Hardy Lake/Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center will present both endangered and recovered species of live birds. Morning programs will begin at 9:30 am CT.
Throughout the day, visitors will be able to explore over 20 booths that showcase nature, the environment, and conservation. Children’s crafts will take place in the small shelter house, and food, including breakfast and lunch provided by the Oakland City Eagles, will be available for purchase. The event and parking are free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather the event will be held indoors at the park. Come and enjoy nature at its best!
Schedule of Events on Central Time
9 am - 2 pm Booths and Children’s Crafts Building open to the public
9 - 9:10 am Presentation of Friends Award
9:10 - 9:25 am Endangered Species at PRNWR by Heath Hamilton, Assistant Refuge Manager
9:30 - 10:25 am Swamp Rabbit by Brad Westrich, INDNR
10:30 - 11:25 am Alligator Snapping Turtle by Ethan Kessler, INDNR
11:30 am - 12:45 pm Live birds, Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center by Leslie Grow, INDNR
On Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 9 am Central Time (10 am Eastern Time) the Friends of Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge will sponsor a free program on fall preparation for pollinator/wildflower plantings. The program will take place on Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge at Boyd’s Trail parking area, just east of Snaky Point.
The presentation will focus on establishing a pollinator/wildflower planting. Proper ground preparation, seed sources and mixes, timing of planting and planting techniques will be discussed. David Howell, wildlife biologist and Friends of Patoka River NWR board member, will present the program.
To get to the Boyd’s Trail parking lot, drive east on SR 64 from Oakland City. Just outside the city, turn left (north) onto paved CR 1275 E. Continue about a half mile and bear left onto CR 1300 E, which becomes gravel. Continue one mile to the Boyd’s parking lot on the left. Look for posted brown Refuge signs along the way.
For more information, contact David Howell at 812-455-5256.
Join Chuck Mills for a visit to the largest Interior Least Tern nesting colony in Indiana. Chuck has been the Indiana Interior Least Tern biologist for 25 years.
Least Terns commonly nest on river islands and sandbars. They are considered endangered nationwide, and were first found nesting in Indiana in 1986. From that single pair, the population has risen to around 300 individuals. They were first found nesting on the splitter dike of the Duke Energy power plant lake in western Gibson County. Last year, they nested on the splitter dike and at Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area just to the south of the 3,000-acre Gibson Lake. They also nested at Goose Pond State Fish and Wildlife Area and the AEP power plant near Rockport.
Chuck will be leading a tour to the Cane Ridge colony which has the best location in the Midwest for observing nesting and foraging Interior Least Terns. There should be excellent opportunities for both observing and photographing the birds.
The event will begin at 8:00 am CDT on June 15 at the observation platform at Cane Ridge. This area is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service out of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge office.
From Princeton, IN, travel 5 miles west on SR 64. Turn south off SR 64 onto SR 65 and travel about 1.3 miles. Turn west on the gravel Levee Road. Travel 2.25 miles on the Levee Road. Turn south at the “t” onto CR 850 W, then take an immediate west turn on CR 75S. Follow CR 75S 2.25 miles to Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area.
The Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge is open from sunup until sundown. However, on May 18 the Refuge Office will make an exception and issue a special use permit to allow for a guided night hike on the Refuge in the light of a full moon.
The 2.5 mile hike of moderate difficulty will begin at Boyd’s Station at 8 pm CT. Participants need to wear appropriate hiking clothes and shoes, and bring their own flashlights or headlamps and insect repellant. The hike is open to all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. The hiking permit is specifically for the guided night hike and no other areas of the Refuge may be accessed on this evening.
To get to Boyd’s Station travel east on SR 64 through Oakland City and look for the large brown Refuge sign indicating a left turn to Snakey Point Marsh at CR 1275. Continue to follow the brown Refuge signs until you reach parking lots on both the left and right sides of the road. Boyd’s Station is on the left.
The hike will be canceled in case of inclement weather. For more information, call 812-457-4859.
April showers bring wildflowers. Join Patoka River NWR wildflower enthusiasts Marietta Smith and Nancy Gehlhausen and discover what is blooming on the Refuge on Saturday, April 13 at 9:00 am CST. Meet at the Grandy’s parking lot at the junction of SR 64 and SR 57 and plan to drive or carpool to a designated location on the Refuge. Exploring will be off trail through the woods. Suitable clothing and shoes, as well as insect repellent, are suggested. The Wildflower Walk will take place rain or shine unless there is severe weather forecasted. For more information, call (812) 749-3311.
Join the Ohio Valley Birding Festival on April 12 at the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge for a birding walk in search of warblers, waterfowl, and grassland sparrows. The hike, led by Evan Speck, will begin at 7 am CT at Boyd’s parking lot. To get to Boyd’s parking lot, take SR 64 east out of Oakland City, IN. A brown Refuge sign will direct you to turn left/north at CR 1275. Follow the brown Refuge signs that direct you to Snakey Point Marsh where the parking lot can be found. This event is open to the public and is sponsored by the Evansville Audubon Society.
Saturday evenings, March 2 and March 9, the Refuge Friends will offer a unique birding experience for the whole family. Most outings aren’t focused on just one animal, but woodcocks are so neat they get a whole night all their own! Just what is a “Peent”? It’s the sound made by male woodcocks while performing their courtship ritual flights.
Join us at Boyd’s Trail parking lot on Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge at 6:00 p.m. Central (7:00 p.m. Eastern) for a brief presentation on the woodcock. Then we’ll walk over to Maxey Marsh Trail and hope the woodcocks are in the mood to put on a show.
This event is open to all, regardless of age or experience. Yet, since this is an event in the evening that is dependent on a fairly quiet environment, parents are encouraged to stay with their children. Consider arriving early to enjoy the sunset and walk some trails.
Directions: From SR 357 (Main St.) in Oakland City, go east on SR 64 one mile to CR 1275E (look for brown Refuge sign). Turn left (north) on 1275E. Follow the signs to Snakey Point Marsh and continue on to the parking lot on the left at Boyd’s Trail.
Have questions or need directions? Look us up on Facebook @PatokaRefugeFriends, or call 812-569-4009.
PRNWR Friends Board member Ron Young will present a program on wildlife photography at 5 pm CT Tuesday, January 15 at Oakland City Columbia Township Public Library. Besides showing his beautiful photographs, he'll share stories and offer tips on how to get the best picture. The library is located at 210 S. Main Street in Oakland City. It will be a nice break in the middle of January. See you there!
The Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) will celebrate the “Year of the Bird” in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Act at the annual Refuge Appreciation Day. The event, hosted by the Friends of the Patoka River NWR and the Patoka River NWR, will be on Saturday, October 13 from 9 am until 2 pm CT at Wirth Park in Oakland City, Indiana.
Featured morning programs are all about birds. At 9:15 am CT, the Indiana Falconers Association will present a program on falconry and do a hunting demonstration with a live goshawk. At 10:45 am CT, the International Crane foundation will talk about the federally endangered Whooping Crane, a fall and winter visitor that can be found on the Refuge. At 11:45 am CT, there will be a live Birds of Prey program presented by the Hardy Lake/Dwight Chamberlain Raptor Center that may include a bald eagle.
In addition to the morning programs, at 1 pm CT attendees will have the opportunity to take a bus tour of the Refuge or take a car caravan for a guided 1.5 mile hike to the new Buck’s Marsh boardwalk. Throughout the day, visitors will be able to explore over 20 booths that showcase nature, the environment, and conservation. Children’s crafts will take place in the shelter house, and food will be provided by the Eagles and Ducks Unlimited for purchase. The event and parking are free and open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held indoors at Wirth Park.
Please come and enjoy the nature of Southern Indiana at its best during Refuge Appreciation Day!
Friends Board Meeting