Explore the great outdoors this month

June is National Great Outdoors Month, a reminder to get outside and explore nature, whether it’s hiking at the wildlife refuge, camping by a lake or simply walking or biking around your neighborhood.

Whatever your outdoor preference may be, nature is calling.

There are many ways to observe National Great Outdoors Month, such as volunteering as a summer camp counselor or maybe taking some nature photos or attending an outdoor art class.

Check out some books from the library and find a green space to sit outside and read. Go swimming, take a guided hike or learn how to identify birds and do some bird watching.

Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, located 3 miles east of Seymour on U.S. 50, offers a variety of outdoor activities and also provides indoor education about nature.

Park Ranger Donna Stanley said they are celebrating National Pollinator Week at the refuge visitor center during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today through Saturday.

“There will be special displays and a children’s pollinator game with prizes,” she said. “Information on how to help pollinators and gardening for pollinators will also be available.”

Stanley said summer wildflowers that provide food for beneficial bees and butterflies are starting to bloom. Milkweeds, black-eyed Susan, spiderwort and several species of sunflowers are beginning to open in the visitor center area.

“The children’s Nature Discovery Area adjacent to the visitor center was improved recently by the addition of some large fossil-containing boulders courtesy of the Hayden quarry,” she said.

According to fws.gov/refuge/muscatatuck, one of several points of interest at the refuge is strolling the Chestnut Ridge Trail.

Summers are hot and humid at Muscatatuck, and insects may be bothersome, so hats and insect repellent are useful. Trails are often wet, so sturdy walking shoes are recommended, and remember to bring water to drink.

Another point of interest is driving the auto tour, which provides wildlife viewing and wildlife photography opportunities from your vehicle.

Those opting for the auto tour can stop at the parking area by the Endicott Observation Deck and walk down an old farm road that is a good and accessible birding area.

Approximately 3 miles south of the visitor center are the historic Myers Cabin and Barn, well-preserved buildings left by former refuge residents.

Two old cemeteries located on the refuge, Barkman Cemetery and Myers Cemetery, are interesting places to visit, too. The four refuge hiking trails and two observation decks also are good places for wildlife observation.