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SELA Refuges Programs

Southeast Louisiana Refuges Calendar of Events

The Southeast Louisiana (SELA) refuges sponsors or supports several events. Some of them are recurring events that draw large crowds every year. Some coincide with nationally or regionally recognized celebrations. See the event descriptions and photographs below for more information. Check back here and on the refuge web sites for updates.

Feel free to Contact Us about supporting, participating in or attending these events.

Work/Play Days

Volunteers pruning a tree

February - September

Get your boots on the ground at one of our volunteer service days. These events are typically held at our Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe. 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.

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

Upcoming Work/Play Days 2016: Saturday, Oct. 1

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

Canoe Tours

The front of a canoe landing on a vegetated bank

Spring and Fall

“Paddling Thru Time: People & Louisiana’s Wetlands” is a guided canoe outing exploring the bayou of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Held at Bayou Cane near Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the outings are offered by the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc. on a first-come, first-served basis. FREE. Pre-registration is required.

2017 Canoe Dates: to be announced

For more information or registration email

Bayou Gardens Open House

A bright pink flower growing on a vine.

February, 2017 Date TBD

From 1935 through 1956 our SE Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property in Lacombe was a horticultural attraction called Bayou Gardens. In its prime, Bayou Gardens bloomed with over 400 varieties of camellias and azaleas. Enjoy the gardens in spring bloom at our annual garden open house. The event 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.

Bayou Teche Bear Fest

A refuge employee and a person in a bear costume facilitating an activity.

April 2017

Celebrate the Louisiana Black Bear at this festival in Franklin, Louisiana. Join us at a youth education area that explores the unique features of our native bear. Or sign up to take a FREE kayak, canoe, or pontoon boat tour of Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge. Food, music, activities, and exhibitors come together at this unique festival.

Learn More

Step Outside Day

Children fishing no the bank of a pond.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Build a bird house, learn archery or target shooting, take a pontoon boat tour, or paddle a canoe! All of these activities and more are on tap at Step Outside Day! 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. Held at the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area Complex Headquarters three miles south of Hwy. 190 near Krotz Springs.

Youth Fishing Rodeo

An adult helps a child remove the hook from a fish's mouth.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Calling all kid 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.

Learn More

Beach Sweep

A volunteer holding a full garbage bag collected from the beach.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Celebrate National Public Lands Day at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and with the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges Inc.! We'll partner with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to clean up waterways and beaches around the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Volunteers are needed on the lake's northshore to clean up Bayou Lacombe and the lakefront along Big Branch Marsh.

For more information call (985) 882-2025 or by email.

Learn More

Wild Things

Children sitting around a table doing arts and crafts.

Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 10am to 4pm.

Join us at our headquarters in Lacombe, Louisiana for this FREE fun family event. 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.

Learn More

Cajun Christmas

A baby and a child sitting with Santa.

December 10, 2016

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, cookies, and hot cocoa. To mark this special occasion, photos with Santa are provided at no cost.

For more information call (985) 882-2025 or by email.

Refuge Ranger Spring Break Camp

A child in a life preserver on a boat looking through binoculars.

April, 2017

Junior Refuge Ranger Spring Break Camp, held at the Southeast Louisiana Refuge Headquarters in Lacombe, promotes outdoor skills and stewardship through exploration and discovery. Canoeing, hiking, birding, forestry, biology, orienteering, firefighting and much more are part of this adventurous week. Registration opens in March. Check back here later for more details!

Last Updated on August 30, 2016