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The last little bit of fall

It's been a busy last couple of weeks here on the refuge, so there's lots to catch up on!

The building of a new wetland is almost finished to provide another habitat for crawfish frogs and help mitigate the issues with the parasite the frogs are battling. Members of the fire crew bulldozed an area, created a drainage pipe, and constructed a low-sloping embankment to make the pond as natural-like as possible. The interns helped place native grass seed and straw in the area to encourage grass growth and make it similar to its neighboring pond.

Since the drought over the summer and the warmer temperatures southern Indiana has had this fall, the refuge has been able to conduct multiple prescribed burns which we get to help with. The burns we do here at Big Oaks help reduce invasive species, prevent grasslands from turning into more forested or shrub areas, and stimulate the growth of some plant species.

Here is a cool picture of the fireline during one of the burns progressing through the leaf litter.

We have done some more exploring around the refuge and we found what appears to be an adult Eastern Newt in a pond.

And the creeks are always beautiful to visit while we are out doing fieldwork.

By now most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, so we haven't been able to do as much of our invasive privet data collection. But before some of our prescribed burns, we collected seed pods from narrow leaf sunflowers and other wildflower species, which are important to pollinators such as bees and butterflies, to spread in the spring into other parts of the refuge.

And as always during the fall season, we have been busy helping with the weekend deer hunts, which have had great turnouts and some great deer harvested.

Stay warm out there!



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