Casscoe Nature Center offers classes on hummingbirds and other wildlife in July

CASSCOE – This unincorporated community is, to use a cliché, off the beaten path. In fact, Potlatch Cook’s Lake Nature Center is down a dusty gravel road.

Turn off Arkansas 33 at the post office and stay on Cook’s Landing Road. Avoid Arkansas Junction 33. It’s easy to turn around.

The center opened in 2000. Located in the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge, it is one of nine nature centers operated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Stuttgart is about 20 miles away.

Potlatch once owned the property. In 1999, he entered into an agreement with Game and Fish, the Game and Fish Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to set the property aside for conservation education.

Hummingbird banding continued for most of the center’s operations, said Wil Hafner, the facility’s director. He works with Game and Fish educator Lori Bailey and volunteer Tana Beasley.

Colibri sessions are scheduled for July 15 and 30. Both days will have a session from 10am to 11.30am and a session from 1pm to 2.30pm

Hefner said hummingbird classes are scheduled based on bird migration, with the highest population in June, July and August. Classes can accommodate a maximum of 18 participants. A smaller class, he said, allows people to get closer to hummingbirds.

It’s not just hummingbirds here. More than 140 species of birds have been observed and identified at different times of the year, according to the Game and Fish Commission.

Hafner said the center offers courses on fishing and hunting, bluebirds, toads, wild game and fish cooking and processing, and more.

July offers activities for out-of-school children: nature journal on the 5th, “Toad Abode” on the 6th, cooking for children on the 7th, sea bream fishing 101 on the 8th and boater education on the 9th.

Also in July, a wild game appetizer cooking class on the 14th and 16th.

The center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. It is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Information about all nature centers, including how to register for classes, is available at agfc.com.

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