Release Date: 04/29/2008

The 5th annual STEP OUTSIDE Day, open to all children and adults and targeted to those with special needs, and the Neotropic Songbird Tour will be held on Saturday, May 10, in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin.

STEP OUTSIDE Day offers diverse outdoor activities at the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Headquarters, near Krotz Springs.  It is located on LA Hwy. 975 three miles south of U.S. Hwy. 190 on the east side of the Atchafalaya River levee.  Registration begins at 8 a.m., and activities run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

The Neotropic Songbird Tour, also on the Sherburne WMA, starts with assembly from 7 to 8 a.m. at the Whiskey Bay (Sherburne WMA) Exit on Interstate 10. Look for a gravel pull-off just after turning onto LA Hwy. 975.  The Sherburne WMA offers one of the highest densities of nesting neotropic songbirds in North America.
STEP OUTSIDE is a national program administered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to increase participation in outdoor sports.  Last year more than 550 registrants participated in the event. 

This year's event will include fishing, archery, boating, target and trap shooting, wood crafts construction, nature photography, bird watching and decoy painting.

Also featured will be exhibits on adaptive equipment, water safety, Louisiana black bear information, turkey trapping demonstrations, trapping techniques, and turkey and duck calling.  Be sure to stick around for the prize drawings that take place during the lunch hour near the registration tent.

No alcoholic beverages or glass containers will be allowed on the premises.  Due to the nature of activities, liability waiver forms must be completed.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are the local sponsors. 

STEP OUTSIDE Day is targeted to people with disabilities or those with little or no opportunity to engage in such activities, providing them with mentoring and safe, hands-on experience.

Pre-registration is encouraged. To register or get detailed driving directions to the Sherburne Headquarters, call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Atchafalaya Basin Floodway System Project Office, at 337-585-0853 or the LDWF Region 6 Office at 337-948-0255.

During STEP OUTSIDE Day a presentation will be held by the National Audubon Society to dedicate the Atchafalaya Basin as an Important Bird Area.  The Important Bird Area program identifies areas to concentrate conservation efforts to provide vital habitat for breeding, migratory and wintering bird species.  The Atchafalaya Basin is being identified for globally important concentrations of white ibis, wood storks and painted buntings.

The Neotropic Songbird Tour will introduce participants to bird identification through observation and their specific calls.  These vocalizations, originating from the dense understory of the tall canopy of deciduous bottomland hardwood forest, are usually the first clues to the area's wealth of bird species.

Tour participants will be guided to multiple sites where facilitators will be available to assist them with bird identifications.  At each site it may be possible to hear 15 species of birds.  Some birds are easily seen whereas others are elusive, so binoculars may be useful.

Songbird tour stops are each estimated to last 30 to 45 minutes.  The tour will include a mist-netting demonstration and conclude around 10:30 a.m.

Participants are then encouraged to continue five miles north from the last stop to the Sherburne WMA Headquarters to participate in STEP OUTSIDE Day.

Links to STEP OUTSIDE Day and its sponsors:
Bird Checklist of US Fish & Wildlife Service
Recreation in New Orleans District, Corps of Engineers

For more information, contact Tony Vidrine at 337-948-0255 or