Maps and Trails Information Layer - Under Construction

Currently, our maps and trails are under construction and we are working on improving the accuracy of our content. If you have any questions please contact the facility. 

Thank you for your patience!

Historical land use practices have created unique habitat at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge for many rare and uncommon species of animals and plants. The 50,000 acres of land has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area.
Father and son with small fish by Discovery Pond
Big Oaks Now Open to Public Use

Refuge now open Mondays, Fridays, and the second and fourth Saturday of the month.

Visit Us

For a first visit to Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, please allow at least an hour to stop at the office, take the safety briefing and obtain a daily pass. That’s also a great time to talk with the staff about activities available on the refuge, pick up a refuge map, and find out about current wildlife sightings.  

Location and Contact Information

      Educators Workshop Coming June 23-24

      Join us at Old Timbers Lodge on June 23-24 for a "Nature of Teaching" workshop for K-12 educators and others interested in environmental education. Curriculum and lesson plans feature interactive activities correlated to Indiana State standards.  Lunch is provided along with professional growth points.  A $25 fee is refundable at the end of the workshop.  Registration required (before June 10) and can be made at:


      The refuge offers guided tours by van throughout the public use season. Special guided tours can be requested for birding, wildflower hikes, and historical tours of the property. Visitors can also schedule tours of the historic Old Timbers Lodge.  For more information call the refuge Office. Tours of the refuge could be restricted due to pandemic restrictions.

      What We Do

      Wildlife and habitat management, especially for rare and endangered species, are the priorities for Big Oaks staff. Various kinds of surveys and monitoring take place annually on the refuge, usually in cooperation with local universities.  Past projects have included monitoring endangered Indiana bats, American burying beetles, and American kestrels. Volunteers and interns have assisted with many surveys of forest and grassland bird nest productivity, cerulean warbler nesting ecology, and small mammal biodiversity.  The most recent and on-going project on the refuge is providing habitat for monitoring the state-endangered crawfish frog.

      Our Organization

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Species

      Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge is a Globally Important Bird Area and hosts one of the world’s largest populations of Henslow’s sparrows. The refuge also provides nesting habitat for cerulean warblers, temporary wetlands and grasslands for state endangered crawfish frogs and habitat for many other rare species of animals and plants.

      North American River Otter
      northern river otter
      river otter
      common otter
      FWS Focus
      FWS Focus
      Bald Eagle

      A large raptor, the bald eagle has a wingspread of about seven feet. Adults have a dark brown body and wings, white head and tail, and a yellow beak. Juveniles are mostly brown with white mottling on the body, tail, and undersides of wings. Adult plumage usually is obtained by the sixth year. In...

      FWS Focus
      FWS Focus

      Projects and Research

      Big Oaks has been monitoring and managing for the state endangered crawfish frog for many years.  Other research projects have included the monitoring of Indiana bats, saw-whet owls,American burying beetles, and American kestrels.








      Northern saw-whet owls migrate through Indiana every fall and banding has taken place at Big Oaks for many years to learn more about the owl's distribution and abundance. Banding takes place on nights in early Novem ber where the birds are caught in mist nets (similar to a fine mesh tennis net).