Community Day commemorates 100 years

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge staff and Friends of Big Lake welcomed guests on Saturday to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with a community day/festival. The activities were in conjunction with the celebration of the Centennial Year of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Members of the Delta Archeological Survey research station in Blytheville were on hand with exhibits of artifacts found in the area. Items such as arrow head in the four stages of completion, old bottles, chains and many other items of interest were displayed. Area residents brought their own artifacts to be identified.

Dr. Claudine Payne, Station Archeologist, said the November meeting of the Delta Archeological Society will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Research Station located at 2520 Friday Spur, Blytheville. The featured speaker will be Dr. Jeff Mitchem, Arkansas Archological Survey of Parkin. For more information about the Delta Archaeological Society, interested persons can call Marion Haynes at 532-9104.

A fish tank was displayed giving those present the opportunity to get a good look at the type of fish in Big Lake. The tank was provided by Bill Rolin of Prehistoric Pets in Blytheville. Also, turtles, small and large, made an interesting exhibit to see.

Melvin Browning, chairman of Friends of Big Lake, assisted guests in creating bird feeders from pine cones to take home. Browning explained that the mixture was easy to make with 1 cup of flour, one cup of meal, shortening, and peanut butter. He made the mixture the right consistency to spread over a pine cone, and then roll in bird seed. Wildlife Posters, bookmarks and other collectible items were distributed.

Shawn Poe, award winning taxidermist, was on hand to demonstrate the art of mounting a duck.

A telescope was set up so visitors could get a good look across the lake

Among the guests at Big Lake were members of Manila Troop 32 and Pack 32 Scouts.

Big Lake Wildlife Refuge Manager Brian Braudis welcomed the guests giving them a "close-up" view of a yellow rat snake (his pet). He explained that most of the rat snakes in this area are black.

Nature walks were conducted throughout the day.

Posters entered in the Big Lake Wildlife Refuge contest were displayed and judged. The judges agreed that the young artists did an outstanding job. Winners in the fourth grade division were: Patrick Ward, first place and Abby Trammell, second place, both of Cooter elementary; fifth grade division: Zachary Lee, first place of Manila and Megan Travis, second place, of Cooter. In the sixth grade division. Jessica Monrow won first place and Charli Yates won second place. Both students were from Cooter.

The Big Lake Community Day is a great opportunity for citizens to see first hand what Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge has to offer Braudis said.

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