Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
A Paddle Ride through Mingo Wilderness Area
Midwest Region, July 19, 2012
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YCC paddling down the Mingo River.
YCC paddling down the Mingo River. - Photo Credit: US FWS
One of the large cypress trees that was seen along the ride.
One of the large cypress trees that was seen along the ride. - Photo Credit: US FWS
One of the many water snakes that was seen sunning on logs along the river.
One of the many water snakes that was seen sunning on logs along the river. - Photo Credit: US FWS

This summer the Youth Conservation Corps - YCC at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge has gotten the opportunity to take part in a number of great learning experiences. They have helped the refuge tremendously with projects ranging from trail maintenance and sign upkeep to assisting the biological program with invasive species control. Throughout all of these projects a focus is put on taking advantage of educational opportunities to teach them about the importance of Mingo NWR and the entire refuge system.


To capitalize on the educational aspect of the YCC program, a day was set aside for the YCC to take a paddle ride down the Mingo River through a portion of the 7,000 acre wilderness area of the refuge. The YCC was joined by Biology SCEP student Anna Weyers, CDIP Biology Intern Marina Rodriguez and Visitor Services Park Ranger Peter Rea. During this day-long paddle ride the YCC made a number of exciting discoveries about the wildlife, habitat and history of Mingo NWR.

Along the ride, the crew observed the bottomland forest and cypress swamp habitat that make Mingo National Wildlife Refuge so unique. The YCC learned about the history of the Mingo Basin and how it was formed over 18,000 years ago when an earthquake caused the Mississippi River to shift course and leave behind an abandoned channel that formed into the Mingo Swamp. They also discovered the more recent history when logging and drainage attempts for farming in the early 1900’s almost decimated the native plants and animals of the basin. However, the abundant wildlife sightings, which included a yellow-crowned night-heron, beaver, belted kingfisher, prothonotary warbler, green heron and even a deer swimming across the river, gave a reminder to the recovery of the Mingo Basin when it was established as a refuge in 1944.

Overall, the paddle ride provided everybody with the opportunity to experience the serene beauty of the Mingo Wilderness Area and to be in “…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Contact Info: Peter Rea, 573-222-3589, peter_rea@fws.gov
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