Become a Junior Refuge Manager

Apr. 26—MADISON — Do you care about the conservation of our native wildlife and its habitat? Do you love being outdoors exploring? Then come to Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge in Madison to learn how to earn the Junior Refuge Manager Badge.

Pick up a booklet and complete activities including word searches, scavenger hunts, drawing and more to earn your badge. Learn about our history, plants, animals, and management activities on Big Oaks NWR. It will be fun for the whole family.

Booklets can be picked up at the gatehouse, where visitors may also borrow backpack with field guides, magnifying glasses and binoculars.

If this is your first time visiting Big Oaks, allow extra time. Once per year visitors are required to watch a safety briefing (20-minute video) and obtain a pass to get on the property. Plus, it is 15 miles to the public use area.

The refuge is open for public use from mid-April through November on Mondays, Fridays, and second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Hours during our turkey hunts are different on the following days: 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 28, 29 and May 4, 5, 11 and 12. It will not be open for public use on April 27.

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge consists of approximately 50,000 acres of the former Jefferson Proving Ground located in Jennings, Ripley, and Jefferson Counties in southeastern Indiana. The refuge is managed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and provides public use opportunities, such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, interpretation and environmental education.

The refuge has one of the largest contiguous forest blocks in the southeastern part of the state as well as one of the largest grassland complexes in the state, both of which provide wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities to refuge visitors.

Big Oaks Conservation Society is a local non-profit Friends Group that supports the mission and activities of Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge. They along with a class at Ivy Tech and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Retirees Association helped make this program possible.

To learn more about Big Oaks Conservation Society visit their Facebook page.

For more information about the refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit — Information provided