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Annual Events



    December 10, 2016

    Each year Santa and Mrs. Claus make a special visit to the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center. Kids of all ages are invited for story time, cookies, and hot cocoa. To mark this special occasion, photos with Santa are provided at no cost. 2 - 4 p.m.



    January - October

    Get your boots on the ground at one of our volunteer service days. The “Work” portion might include clearing trails and general garden maintenance, ending at noon. A light lunch is provided by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc. Then the “Play” starts after lunch with a canoe outing on Bayou Lacombe. A perfect way to get outdoors, meet new people, and make a difference for stewardship! All equipment is provided and new volunteers are always welcome. Held at the Southeast Louisiana U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters in Lacombe.

    9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. includes optional canoe tour.

    Upcoming Work/Play Days 2017: Saturday, Jan 7, Jan 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, Sept. 23

    For reservations and more details call (985) 882-2025 or email, or Jim Schmidt at



    Spring and Fall

    The guided canoe program “Paddling Thru Time: People & Louisiana’s Wetlands” explores the transition of a coastal bayou from forest to marshland and offers a chance to see native wildlife. The outings are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals must register to participate.  

    2017 Canoe Dates:  Saturday March 4 and 25, April 1

    Click here for registration information.



    February 18, 2017 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

    View the lovely gardens at our Refuge headquarters in Lacombe in full bloom! From 1935 through 1956 the headquarters property was a horticultural attraction called Bayou Gardens. In its prime, the garden bloomed with over 400 varieties of camellias and azaleas. The open house is a collaborative effort with local camellia societies. Free garden tours and presentations are provided by local experts, and refreshments are provided by Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc. 


    Bear Fest

    April 15, 2017

    The festival in Franklin, Louisiana, serves to educate local residents about the native Louisiana black bear. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Friends group members help sponsor the youth education area that has been a highlight of festival activities. Exhibitors feature educational material and programs relating to bears, natural resources, and habitat found in south Louisiana. Today the festival features both great music and food. 


    Step Outside Day

     May 7, 2016 

    Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge cosponsors Step Outside Day with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This annual event is a big draw for kids and promotes youth outdoor education and stewardship. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the Friends Group host pontoon boat tours, paddling, bird house building and other environmental education activities.



     June 3, 2017 

    Calling all kids from ages four to twelve! Get your fish on at the "Bogue Chitto Youth Fishing Rodeo." The rodeo is sponsored by the Southeast Louisiana Wildlife Refuges in collaboration with Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc., and is supported by many community partners. Held at the Pear River Turnaround Fishing Access Site at Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. Fishing is from 7:30 - 11 a.m.

    Click here for more information about this event.

    Learn More

    Summer Camp Observation

    March 28th - April 1st, 2016

    How did you spend your summer vacation? 

    Refuge Ranger Summer Camp returns to promote outdoor skills and stewardship through exploration and discovery. We offer canoeing, hiking, birding, forestry, biology, orienteering, firefighting and much more. 

    Learn more


    Beach Sweep

     September 19, 2016 

    Each year, Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges partners with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to clean up waterways and beaches around the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Volunteers are needed on the northshore to clean up Bayou Lacombe and the lakefront along Big Branch Marsh.

    For more information call (985) 882-2025 or write to:


     Saturday, October 14, 2017 

    A FREE fun family event celebrating National Wildlife Refuges Week. Activities include: a Wildlife Youth Art Exhibition, canoe and pontoon boat tours, wildflower walks, guest exhibitors, live animals, hayrides, a casting pond, a kids activity tent, bird house building, food, and live music. Admission, parking, tours and music are all FREE. Held at the SE Louisiana Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2016
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