Andrew Hoffman Intern at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge to speak

Beth BlackPark Ranger

Beth Black
Park Ranger

Andrew Hoffman, intern at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, will speak on Monday, February 4th, at the monthly meeting of the Big Oaks Conservation Society.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Madison – Jefferson County Public Library in Madison, IN.  Join us February 4th as Andrew discusses: The World Underfoot: Amphibians of Big Oaks NWR.  Andrew’s talk will be following a year of typical amphibian activity at Big Oaks, highlighting different species as the seasons change and following some species throughout the year.

Crawfish Frog- An adult crawfish frog at its home burrow.  Big Oaks is home to what is likely the largest population of this state endangered species in Indiana.  These frogs live in crayfish burrows in grassland areas and require shallow grassy wetlands for breeding.

Crawfish Frog- An adult crawfish frog at its home burrow. Big Oaks is home to what is likely the largest population of this state endangered species in Indiana. These frogs live in crayfish burrows in grassland areas and require shallow grassy wetlands for breeding.

As Andrew talks about the different species of amphibians, he will also touch on conservation and management issues and the importance of Big Oaks as a refuge for these secretive creatures. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hanover College (2010) and a Master of Science degree from Missouri State University (2012). Andrew is currently pursuing potential Ph.D programs.

Fourtoed Salamander - A female four-toed salamander guards her eggs.  This is the smallest of Indiana's salamander species and is considered a species of special concern.  They require mossy wet areas in which to lay their eggs.  The females will remain with the eggs under clumps of moss until they hatch and the larvae drop into the water below.

Fourtoed Salamander – A female four-toed salamander guards her eggs. This is the smallest of Indiana’s salamander species and is considered a species of special concern. They require mossy wet areas in which to lay their eggs. The females will remain with the eggs under clumps of moss until they hatch and the larvae drop into the water below.

Dr. Robert Mulford will be the guest speaker for the Big Oaks Conservation Society on March 4th. His talk will cover the highlights of the development of his acreage near Versailles, Indiana as a large tract of wildlife habitat.  Note: March’s meeting will be at the Tyson Library in Versailles.

The Big Oaks Conservation Society is the non-profit support group of the Big Oaks NWR.  Society members work closely with refuge staff to enhance public awareness, use, and appreciation for the natural and cultural assets unique to Big Oaks NWR.  Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Madison- Jefferson County Public Library in Madison, Indiana.

Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) consists of approximately 50,000 acres on the former Jefferson Proving Ground (JPG) located in Jennings, Ripley, and Jefferson Counties in southeastern Indiana.  The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and provides public use opportunities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, interpretation and environmental education.  The refuge has one of the largest contiguous forest blocks in the southeastern part of the state as well as one of the largest grassland complexes in the state, both of which provide wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities to refuge visitors.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses more than 550 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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