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Big Oaks Field Trip, June 3

2017/05/11

Field Trip, Saturday, June 3, 2017: Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 50,000 acres in 3 Indiana counties (Jefferson, Jennings, and Ripley) and overlays that portion of the former Jefferson Proving Ground that lies north of the historic firing line where munitions were once tested. Since 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has managed the wildlife resources of the proving ground. Big Oaks provides food and shelter for a wide variety of plant and animal species, including more than 200 species of birds and 46 species of mammals. Stream corridors and forested areas on the refuge provide excellent habitat for the federally-endangered Indiana bat. The refuge also supports breeding populations of river otter, which were reestablished in 1996. More than 500 pairs of state-endangered Henslow’s sparrows are estimated to breed in the large grasslands of Big Oaks Refuge. The refuge has been designated as a “Globally Important Bird Area” because of its value to Henslow’s sparrows and other migratory birds. Gary Stegner and Refuge Manager Joe Robb will lead our visit. A downloadable brochure is available at https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/BGOGeneral2015.pdf. The trip will leave at 6:30 a.m. from the TJ Maxx parking lot (on Locust Street across from McDonald’s) for the 75-minute drive to the refuge. After a picnic lunch at the refuge, we will return to Oxford in the afternoon. Pack a lunch and, as always, bring binoculars if possible.

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