Events and Programs

Canoeing Family on the Bayou waving

All dates and activities subject to change due to Covid-19 concerns.

  • Homeschool Day

    A group of owlets looking up

    4th Friday of the month: March 27, April 24, 9 - 11 a.m. 

    Join us for Homeschool Friday as we explore the natural world and engage in hands on activities. Everyone is welcome, but programs are geared for homeschoolers ages 12 and under. All homeschoolers must be accompanied by an adult through the duration of the program. This program occurs mud, rain, or shine. Meets at Bayou Lacombe Center.

  • Nature Explorers

    Children on trail being Nature Explorers

    Fridays: March 6 and 20 at 9:30 a.m. (ongoing 1st and 3rd Fridays)

    Join refuge staff for this FREE, 45-minute long fun-filled educational program for young children 0 – 6 years old. Learn about native animals, make nature themed crafts, go on a short nature walk, and more! Children must be accompanied by an adult throughout the duration of the program. Meets at the Bayou Lacombe Center.


  • Wonderful Woodpeckers

    Red-cockaded Woodpecker on the side of a pine tree

    Fridays, March 6, 13, 20 and 27, at 10 a.m.

    Join refuge volunteers for a FREE, guided bird walk at Boy Scout Road Boardwalk at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Learn about the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and view an active nesting cluster. Loaner binoculars are available on a first come, first served basis. Meet at the Boy Scout Road trailhead for this 1 ½ - 2 hour walk.

  • Bayou Trek


    Thursdays: March 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 10 a.m. 

    Meet at Bayou Lacombe Visitor Center and join a refuge volunteer for a FREE guided stroll of the historic grounds of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex. Learn about the unique history of the Bayou Lacombe Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local flora and fauna.

  • Work Play Days

    Volunteers at work play day

    Winter and Spring 2020 Work/Play Days dates: Saturdays March 14, April 4, May 2

    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. With events held at our Lacombe Headquarters 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. 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. includes optional canoe tour, when offered.


  • Maintenance Mondays

    Two girls raking leaves

    Monday March 2, 23, and April 6, from 8 – 10 a.m. (Ongoing 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month except holidays)

    Join the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges, Inc. on the 1st and 3rd Mondays to assist with light grounds maintenance and small projects at the Southeast Louisiana Refuges Headquarters in Lacombe. There is always something to do to help your National Wildlife Refuges, and this is a good way to meet other Friends members and community volunteers. Light snacks and water are provided. Rain, mud or shine. 

    For more information email Doug at this link.

  • Canoe Tours

    A group of canoeists on the bayou

    Spring 2020 Tours will be on Saturdays - March 7, 21, 28: Sorry Spring 2020 Tours are FULL

    Our free naturalist led canoe tours offer a chance to explore the natural and cultural history of Bayou Lacombe launching from our Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex Headquarters in Lacombe. Canoe Tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. All paddling equipment is provided. Registration for spring 2020 tours opens January 29 at 8 a.m.

    Click here for registration information.

  • Junior Ranger Spring Break Camp

    Children wearing firefighting clothes laying a hose on the ground

    April 13- 17, 2020

    Connect your child to nature at Junior Refuge Ranger Spring Break Camp. We'll introduce your youngster to nature and stewardship through exploration and discovery. Canoeing, hiking, birding, nature play, wildlife observation, arts and crafts, and more are part of this adventurous day camp. For ages 8 - 10. Registration opens February 2020.

    For more information click here.

  • Step Outside Day

    People riding in a pontoon boat

    Saturday April 25, 2020 

    Held at the Sherburne Wildlife Area Headquarter near Krotz Springs, the family-friendly Step Outside Day introduces young people to outdoor recreation activities. Pontoon boat tours, canoe paddling, archery, hands-on nature activities, bird house building and more! Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge cosponsors Step Outside Day with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. All activities are free.

  • Virtual Youth Fishing Rodeo

    family at youth fishing rodeo

    Saturday- Sunday, June 13-14, 2020

    Did you ever think you could win a fishing derby without paying an entry fee or weighing or measuring a fish? Here's your chance! The Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges and the Friends of Louisiana Refuges are hosting a Kid's Virtual Fishing Rodeo during Louisiana free fishing weekend June 13-14, and the rules are simple:

    1. Take a kid, 15 years old or younger fishing at any Louisiana water between 7:30 a.m. June 13 and 8 p.m. on June 14.

    2. Post a picture of your youngster holding their catch to the Southeast Louisiana Facebook page, OR message us through Facebook Messenger with a picture of your angler and their fish or send us an email with the photo to  Photos must be received by 4 p.m. Monday June 15.

    3. Have Fun!

    On June 17th the prize winners will be randomly selected from the pictures we receive. The weather is fine and the fish are hungry. Grab your fishing pole and head on out to a lake, river, bayou or bay and get your fish on!

    p.s. a limited supply of loaner fishing poles are available. Email us to arrange to borrow one!

  • Beach Sweep

    A group of volunteers on lakeshore at Beach Sweep

    Saturday, September 19, 2020

    Help keep your water and wetlands clean! Each year, Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges partners with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the Ocean Conservancy 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 email Becky Larkins at this link. 

  • Wild Things

    A father helping his young son to look through binoculars

    Saturday, October 10, 2020

    A FREE family-friendly 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, archery, a casting pond, a kids activity tent, bird house building, food, live music, and more. Admission, parking, tours and music are all FREE. Food will be available for purchase benefiting the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges. Held at the SE Louisiana Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

  • Cajun Christmas

    Little girl on Santa's lap

    Saturday, December 12, 2020

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

    More about Cajun Christmas at this link.

  • Bayou Gardens Open House

    Camellia display on a table

    Date TBD February 2021

    From 1935 through 1956 the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex 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 features free guided garden and site history tours, nature-friendly gardening workshops and presentations. Free refreshments are provided by Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc.