Mingo National Wildlife Refuge provides great hands-on learning opportunities to discover the plants, wildlife and habitat of southeast Missouri. Interested teachers can either plan a self-guided field trip to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge or can schedule refuge-lead environmental education programs (dependent on staff availability and class size). Note: The entrance fee is waived for all school group visits.
•The Swampwalk Nature Trail is a self-guided 1 mile loop that winds through the bottomland hardwood forest of Mingo Refuge. While on the hike keep your eyes and ears open for any signs of wildlife as deer, owls and ducks are often spotted along the trail.•Bluff Road provides a great drive through the southern portion of the refuge with turkey and deer being a common sight along the drive.•Red Mill Drive is a one-way road that winds up through the eastern portion of the refuge. During the winter months this route provides great viewing opportunities for wintering waterfowl and bald eagles.•Flatbanks Area offers a picturesque view of the Mingo River and offers great access to the water’s edge. This is an optimal place for a pond study or for fishing trip. It also is a great place for a picnic if the weather cooperates.Attention: The Mingo Visitor Center is currently closed due to construction. The new Visitor Center is projected to open in early summer of 2014 and will have interactive exhibits on the plants, animals and habitat of Mingo Refuge along with an indoor classroom and theater.
Refuge staff would be happy to work with you on providing a unique environmental education program for your class's visit to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. These refuge-led programs are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis and are dependent on staff availability. To inquire about scheduling programs contact the refuge office at 573-222-3589. Environmental education program topics include:•Migratory birds: What does migration mean? Why do birds migrate? What makes Mingo National Wildlife Refuge so important to migratory birds? These are the questions we will look to answer during this program learning about migratory birds. Students will get to discover the migration process through the fun and interactive Migratory Bird Game. •Wetland Studies: Mingo National Wildlife Refuge consists mostly of wetland habitat, ranging from open marsh habitat to the heavily forested bottomland hardwood forest habitat. These wetlands are incredibly important to our ecosystem and provide homes to a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life. During this program, students will get the opportunity to get their hands wet exploring a wetland with dip nets and magnifying lens as they learn about the importance of wetlands.•Adaptations: Nature is full of amazing adaptions. Whether it is a beaver’s ability to gnaw down trees or an owl’s adaptation of stalking prey at night. Student’s will get to learn hands-on about what adaptations are and how they help the wildlife survive in their habitat. •Bald Eagles: Learn about our National Symbol and the many adaptations that make it a successful predator. Depending on time of year, students will get the opportunity to go out on the refuge and spot an eagle in the wild. (Note: the large Eagle Days event is held every other year at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and Duck Creek Conservation Area, next Eagle Days is schedule for February 2015.)
The Missouri Department of Conservation provides a number of Discovery Trunks that are available for loan in several locations in southeast Missouri counties. Discovery trunks may be reserved in advance by educators. Discovery Trunks will be available at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge upon the completion of the new Visitor Center (projected completion date summer 2014). Discovery Trunk Topics Include:•Bat Mini-Trunk•Butterfly Mini-Trunk•Birds •Caves and Karst•Forests•Insects•Lewis & Clark•Mammals•Native Americans•Outdoor Classroom Planning•Raptors•Reptiles and Amphibians•WetlandsFor additional information on the Discovery Trunk loan program, or to check out a trunk, contact Pat Holloway, Conservation Education Consultant by telephone at 573-840-9788 or email at email@example.com.
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In 1976, through the Wilderness Act of 1964, Congress designated 7,730 acres of swamp, riparian areas, and Ozark Plateau uplands as the Mingo Wilderness Area.