Conservation Learning Opportunities
On your first visit to Muscatatuch the Visitor Center should be a first stop and has a large auditorium, interactive exhibits, a short orientation video, a bird-viewing room, and modern restrooms. There is also covered outdoor space with picnic tables for group activities on a back porch.
Adjacent to the Visitor Center is the Chestnut Ridge Interpretive Trail, a quarter-mile paved trail that is accessible to the physically challenged. There is also a four mile Auto Tour route that is great for driving in a school bus or van to view wildlife. The guide for the tour route can be pulled up on your smart phone from the Muscatatuck Wildlife Society website. The Endicott Overlook on the Auto Tour offers a good spot to get off the bus and look at birds in adjacent marshes from mounted telescopes.
In spring and fall the refuge hosts Conservation Field Day programs for third graders in neighboring counties. Educators from many different agencies come together for these programs which provide youngsters the opportunity to learn about wildlife, wetlands, soils, forestry, and water quality in interactive learning activities in a rotating station format.
Refuge staff and volunteer educators are happy to assist teachers and youth leaders visiting Muscatatuck when arrangements are made in advance. We can also do a limited number of off-site programs. Call 812-522-4352 x 12 or e-mail Muscatatuck@fws.gov to schedule your trip or to inquire as to availability.
The Refuge has lots of items available on loan to help classroom teachers and home school educators teach youngsters about wildlife. Educational trunks full of books, videos, posters, activity guides, and props are available on the subjects of wetlands, prairies, songbirds, and wildlife. A fur kit of native Indiana animals is also available along with a tub of assorted animal bones and skulls. A tub of binoculars, bird identification guides, and bird books can be borrowed for learning about birds, and a lending library of nature books and field guides is available whenever the Visitor Center is open. We also have lots of bird posters, handout information, and films/videos on many conservation subjects we are glad to share.
Adult Learning Opportunities
Each year in March and April the Refuge hosts an Indiana Master Naturalist class on Wednesday evenings from 6-9:30 pm. The course covers a different natural history topic each week and is focused on learning about Indiana natural resources. Programs vary from year to year but usually include Indiana geology, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, , birds, wetlands, compass and map reading, and tree identification, among other topics. Participants who complete the course and do 24 hours of volunteer work at a public agency receive a Master Naturalist pin and certificate from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. To learn more about the Indiana Master Naturalist curriculum visit the D.N.R. website.
Project WILD and Project WET workshops are hosted at Muscatatuck when at least 8 educators sign up. These award-winning environmental education curriculums meet State teaching standards and feature fun and interactive ways of teaching students about wildlife and water issues.
Student Learning Opportunities
The Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is a great way for students in grades K-12 to learn about waterfowl and wetlands. See our Junior Duck Stamp Contest page for more information about this very popular program.
A Junior Master Naturalist class is held every other summer at Muscatatuck during one week in July. The Junior class is a student version of the adult Master Naturalist class and features half-day sessions during the week on a variety of topics. The course is recommended for young people ages 9-12 years. Students completing the class who also complete 8 hours of volunteer service receive a Junior Master Naturalist patch and certificate.
A Junior Birder program is scheduled as requested for groups that have at least one-half day to spend on the Refuge learning about birds. Programs are age appropriate and go well with Boy and Girl Scout badge requirements. If interested in scheduling a program contact the Refuge at Muscatatuck@fws.gov
An Invasive Species service program provides staff-assisted learning about invasive plants to groups. Individuals donating six hours of service time to the Refuge also receive a patch.