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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

First Fridays at the Refuge Soars Like and Eagle At Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Region 3, August 22, 2013
Members of the Dickerson Park Zoo With Bald Eagle During Eagle Interpretive Program at the Refuge Amphitheater
Members of the Dickerson Park Zoo With Bald Eagle During Eagle Interpretive Program at the Refuge Amphitheater - Photo Credit: n/a

August 2, 2013 started out rainy, but the sun came out and pushed the much needed rain away just in time for final First Fridays at the Refuge event of the season at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Sumner, Missouri. The earlier rain did not stop the 468 people from coming and enjoying good food and outdoor fun.

The food consisted of hotdogs provided by the Chariton County Farm Bureau and a fish fry put on by the Friends of Swan Lake. This was the second year that the Friends of Swan Lake hosted a Fish Fry as a fundraiser to raise money for future First Fridays at the Refuge events. The other part of the fundraiser was a silent auction held by the Friends. Individuals, businesses, and organizations donated items to put up for silent bids, such as framed prints, hunting knives, fishing supplies, a pop-up blind, and hand crafted items. There was also a quilt raffle featuring a queen-sized quilt made of discontinued prints of mallards and wood ducks and crafted by Ruth Daugherity and Dorothy Kaye of the Friends group. The raffle has been going on since February and the lucky winner was Benjamin Olsen of Lawson, Missouri. The goal of the fish fry, silent auction, and quilt raffle was to raise money for future programs and projects at Swan Lake Refuge. Judging by all of the silent auction items selling, the quilt raffle tickets overflowing from the box, and almost all of the fish and potatoes getting eaten, the fundraiser was a great success!

The fundraising events were not the only things going on at the August First Friday. The Stream Box, Observation Tower, walking trail, and Prairie Grass Maze were all up and running as usual, but there were some additional activities. Linda Hoover set up her easel and markers to draw caricatures of refuge visitors at the visitor center, and the Currey Korn Family band was playing in the Amphitheatre while people wandered around or sat and ate.

There was an archery station run by the student chapter of the Wildlife Society at Missouri Western, Yellow Creek Ducks Unlimited had a booth where they had games and prizes, and the Ecological Services Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had two booths, one about bats and the other on reptiles, which included a turtle touch tank and live snakes that had just hatched.

The main event of the night started at 7:00 p.m. in the amphitheatre. Employees from Dickerson Park Zoo arrived and brought two very special animals with them: a Bald eagle and a Golden eagle. Eagles are heavier than they look and have powerful talons and feet! One employee had the powerful birds to sit on her heavily-gloved arm that was supported by a stick as the crowd learned about the importance of eagles and how they were brought back from the brink of extinction. Dickerson Park Zoo staff even discussed how they got the eagles and why the two birds played a large role in conservation as outreach and education animals. Everyone enjoyed the eagle show, the music, the food, and all of the activities. In a summer full of activities, events, and fun, this was a great way to wrap of the First Fridays at the Refuge program for the summer!

Learn more about Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/swan_lake/


Contact Info: Steve Whitson, 660-856-3323 ext. 13, steve_whitson@fws.gov