The first Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge Greenwing Day successful
Approximately 100 children and parents were on hand Saturday, April 6, at Timms Point Landing on the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge for the first Greenwing Day held at Big Lake.
Brian Braudis, Big Lake Refuge manager, was very pleased with the attendance and support.
The Greenwing Day will be an annual event. It was co-sponsored by Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"It was successful thanks to the support of the entire community," Braudis said.
Shuttle vans picked up the guests and transported them from the Big Lake headquarters to Timms Point where nature lovers got a beautiful view of the Lake, a look at the eagles nest and much more.
The Northeast Arkansas Audubon Society had three telescopes set up giving visitors the opportunity to view the large eagles nests across the lake.
Currently there are 12 eagles living on the refuge and one nesting pair has been raising young at the refuge since 1993.
Roy Bray with Ducks Unlimited welcomed the guests and talked about how Big Lake had played an important role over the last 50 years.
"It is a resting area for migratory waterfowl," he said.
He told of the work being done by Ducks Unlimited. Because of the efforts of that group, refuges have been established enabling the breeding and migration of waterfowl.
Bray said the purpose of Greenwing Day is to interest young people in wildlife conservation.
"If we can pique their interest in the great outdoors, they will be able to continue the efforts their forefathers started," Bray said.
Demonstrations included duck calling, dog training, taxidermy, and a rocket net for duck banding.
Greg Brinkley of Marion, Drakes Duck Call Company, and one of his young students presented a duck calling demonstration. Brinkley currently holds fourth place in the nation in duck calling competition. He reminded the youth that safety always comes first.
Taxidermist Tom Collins had a variety of birds and animals exhibited for the young people to view and demonstrated the art of taxidermy.
The young and old alike enjoyed a demonstration by Mike Zamora and his dog, Britney. Zamora gave several good tips for amateur trainers that are working with their dogs.
A rocket-net demonstration was presented by Richard Hines, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife at the White River National Wildlife Refuge in DeWitt.
Participating in the event were a number of local, state and national dignitaries including Manila Mayor Melvin Browning, Mississippi County Judge Steve McGuire; State Senator Steve Bryles; Tom Smalling, State Greenwing co-chairman for Ducks Unlimited; Jeff Lawrence, DU southeast region director; Tommy Carter, State DU chairman; Jimmy Brooks, game warden for the Big Lake Wildlife Management Area; Barry Wood, national senior vice president for DU; and representatives from the office of U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson.
Following the demonstrations everyone was treated to a picnic of hot dogs, chips and soft drinks.