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The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will once again celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week at the 17th annual Wild Things festival on October 18th at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Headquarters in Lacombe.

 

Now in its 17th year and still growing, Wild Things is one of the most popular nature/conservation events in the region. This free family event showcases the National Wildlife Refuges and hosts over 40 guest organizations and individuals that share wildlife and conservation-oriented displays, presentations, and hands-on activities for the whole family.

 

Some new additions this year include more live animals to both touch and see, more guided tours, a new outdoor selfie photo station, and a Twitter based nature scavenger hunt that will get participants active and outside! The visitor center provides an opportunity to get out of the sun and learn more about the local area resources. The popular “hayride shuttle” will return, offering a fun way to get around the 110-acre site. The casting pond will also be back providing kids a place to try their luck hitting targets with spin-cast fishing gear. The Kids Tent hosts fun nature crafts and learning games, with face painting all day long.

 

Competing with the natural beauty of the site, over 400 young artists from throughout the region will have their talent showcased as part of the Wild Things Youth Art Show. Entries are still being accepted for the contest and exhibition, always a major attraction, featuring paintings and drawings by area youngsters ages 5-18. Contest winners will be announced at midday. The art entry deadline, Oct 2nd at 4 pm is strictly enforced. Contest rules, entry forms, and a resource list of suggested subjects are available online at http://www.fws.gov/southeastlouisiana or phone or e-mail Diane Barth for more information at: 985-882-2021 or diane_barth@fws.gov

 

Free pontoon boat tours will also be offered on Bayou Lacombe. More energetic guests can paddle a canoe on Bayou Lacombe among the cypresses and Spanish moss of this beautiful waterway. Van tours will escort visitors into Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge for a firsthand look at how wildlife biologists help endangered species.

 

Wild Things is a great place to learn about exciting volunteer activities and projects throughout the area. A totally free event, Wild Things allows people of all ages to connect with the great wild resources of our area, learn new skills, make new friends, and get involved in preserving our public lands. It is a great way to get connected with nature and help make a difference in preserving our natural heritage.

 

Live music will start at 10 am with performances by Park Rangers playing a selection of songs from the kids album “Songs for Jr. Rangers” featuring music about the forests, wildlife, and ecology of our region. Add plenty of delicious food, and all the makings of a great day of family fun can be found at Wild Things. Proceeds from food and drink sales benefit the non-profit Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, who assist with providing the public with opportunities to learn and enjoy the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges.

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Admission, parking, and all tours and programs are free. Wild Things will take place from 10 am until 4 pm at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges headquarters at 61389 Hwy 434 in Lacombe.

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges consists of eight refuges and over 160,000 acres of a coastal wetlands system that includes marshes, bottomland hardwood forests, lakes, swamps and bayous. The diversity of wildlife found here is unique to the world. For more information contact Supervisory Park Ranger David Stoughton at 985-882-2025 or david_stoughton@fws.gov

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