Jim with a young Southern Broad-banded Watersnake. Jim serves countless hours lovingly caring for and feeding the creatures in his care, cleaning their habitats and meeting the public.
The LWF awards program recognizes "individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made a significant and outstanding contribution toward the protection and wise use of Louisiana’s natural resources in the previous year. Each honoree will receive a handsome wildlife statuette. The recipients will be honored at a celebratory banquet at Boudreaux's held in Baton Rouge on April 12, 2024.
Thank you, LWF! It's fantastic news that Jim Kolinski has earned the prestigious Louisiana Wildlife Federation's Volunteer Conservationist of the Year Award!
Jim Kolinski serves as curator and environmental educator at the Black Bayou Lake Conservation Education Center in Monroe, LA. Refuge Manager Erin Bellavia says "He really works full time here, and spends a lot of his own money on the animals." Jim serves countless hours feeding the creatures in his care, cleaning their habitats and meeting the public.
Jim talks well with people of all ages and provides experiential environmental education about reptiles and fish, conveying his love and making visits special!
He not only acquires and tends to the animals and fish, but he also maintains healthy habitats and keeps the tanks sparkling clear. He tracks the growth of the reptiles and takes steps to maintain their health and handleability as wildlife ambassadors!
He has helped multiple visitors overcome snake phobia and enables many events for the Friends of Black Bayou and local Louisiana Master Naturalists.
Thank you, Jim! Your loving care makes Black Bayou Lake Nature Education Center in Monroe, LA, accessible and wonderful.
Congratulations to each and every photographer submitting photos in the 2023 Friends of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge Annual Photo Contest
BEST IN SHOW:
"Patches" by Jeff Perot
Mark your calendars and make plans to attend the annual Fall Celebration out at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, Louisiana on Saturday, October 21, 2023 from 9am through 2pm. Stay around after the festival is over to keep exploring the wildlife refuge, and see how humans are taking great strides to keep wildlife safe in an environment where they are protected and respected.
There will be lots of FUN activities for kids and grownups, too! Educators will be on hand sharing information on the animals in our area, with lots of activities for hands-on learning. Face painting, button making, games, and more.
The winning entries in the 2023 Photo Contest will be on display. Deadline to submit entries by email is October 1, 2023.
Keep up-to-date on the plans and specifics with us here on our website, AND on our FoBB Facebook Group>>
We hope to see you there!
Subject to volunteer availability the Visitor Center will be open:
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 9 am - 4 pm, Saturdays 9 am - 1 pm and Sundays 1 pm -4 pm.
The Conservation Learning Center will be open:
Mondays 9 am - 1 pm, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 9 am - 4 pm, Saturdays 9 am - 1 pm and Sundays 1 pm -4 pm.
THANKS to the US Fish and Wildlife Service hiring an intern, Jackson Cox, to work at Black Bayou Lake NWR. Jackson will split his time between the Visitor Center, the Conservation Learning Center, and other projects around the refuges (volunteers will be around, too). Welcome Jackson! Thank you for your help.
Moonlight Frog Walk and Talk
Saturday June 3, 2023 at 7pm
Learn about frogs, how to identify their calls, as you enjoy a guided walk with others who want to learn what that sound is in the night.
Meet up in front of the Visitor Center
(We suggest bringing a headlamp or flashlight to help with nighttime footing.)
A good time was had by all at the Earth Day 2023 celebration event at Northeast Louisiana's Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge! There was also plenty of environmental education from soil science and herpetology to Climate Sience.
This sort of event is great for outreach and recruiting new FoBB members and volunteers.
Would you like to join Friends of Black Bayou?
Friends of Black Bayou Lake NWR and Louisiana Master Naturalist Northeast member Dr. Anne Frazier was educating for Climate Change awareness from her "Eyes on the Climate" table display at the BBL-NWR Earth Day Celebration on April 22nd..
Anne says "I had great contributions from Erin Bellavia (formerly Cox) on the orphan well capping project for the North Louisiana Refuges Compex that's funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021. Tyler Fricker prepared the global surface temperature maps for 1980, 2000, and 2020, and Jana Giles shared ideas for content and presentation".
She says "Having a lattice as the support for the display worked out pretty well. My notion was that if the day were windy (which it often is at the refuge), a lattice would be more stable than standard poster board. As it turned out, the weather was very nice without much wind."
Thanks to Anne, brochures on the "Louisiana Master Naturalist Program" and "Healing Nature" brochures were available along with a sign-up sheet for prospective new members. Sure enough, a prospective new member signed up on the day!
Check out Ani's FB post for some great shots!
In a nutshell, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) included $4.7 billion dedicated to remediating orphaned oil and gas wells. Of that amount, approximately $500 million was dedicated to public land agencies like the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Gas wells number in the thousands across National Wildlife Refuges in North Louisiana, many of which were drilled decades ago prior to Refuge establishment. Since many of these have been officially declared orphans, the North Louisiana Refuges Complex has received funding to plug and abandon (P&A) 133 wells on Upper Ouachita, D'Arbonne, and Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuges. Many of these wells have been leaking and in disrepair for years. Methane readings will be taken before and after P&A activities take place. The gas infrastructure will be capped and removed above ground and the sites will return to their native habitat conditions.
Erin Belllavia USFWS
Black Bayou Lake, D'Arbonne, Handy Brake, & Upper Ouachita NWR's
The winners of the 2022 Annual Photo Contest are announced! Congratulations to each and every participant, and thank you for submitting your amazing photographs! Thank you to the volunteers, the judges, and photographers.
Best of Show
The "Charlie Heck Memorial Best of Show" award goes to an amazing photograph entitled "Speared" by Jon Guice.
Events at the Refuge
There's always something happening at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.