The Refuge is open to everyone free of charge from dawn to dusk every day. Please watch and enjoy (but do not disturb) the plant and animal life you find here. Smoking, firearms, hunting, fishing, camping, boating, and recreational vehicles (including bicycles, all-terrain vehicles, etc.) are prohibited on the property. Pets on leashes are allowed.
The bird blind is also open year round, but the feeders are stocked October through May only.
Updated March 6, 2015
The Nature Center Open House at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, has been cancelled due to snow and icy road conditions./
Surely things will be better by March 21, when the next one is scheduled.
JP and Jane Brantley, Education Directors
Open Houses at the Mary Ashby Cheek Nature Center will be March 21, April 11, and May 16 and 30, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Come enjoy the nature displays and photos, activities for children, and the rest room, available only during such public events.
Spring Wildflower Walks on the Martha Bissett Clay Wildflower Trail will be on March 28 and May 11 at 10:00 am. Plan to attend both if you can, because the wildflowers change rapidly in early spring.
REPORTS ON PREVIOUS EVENTS
Great Backyard Bird Count in the Blind – Friday-Monday, February 13-16, 9:00 am
We had good, if cold, birding on the first three days, then got snowed out on Monday.
We saw 15 species on Friday. Highlights were 12 Northern Cardinals and 16 Dark-eyed Juncos!!! On top of that, on the way to the Refuge, we saw 4 Wild Turkeys beside the road. They were gone by the time we returned.
On Saturday, four of us saw 14 species, including 2 species not seen on Friday (3 Eastern Towhees and 2 Purple Finches; no Fox Sparrows or Song Sparrows), and at least 50 American Goldfinches!. On the way home, at the pond near Alum Springs Pike, we saw 90(!) Canada Geese, 15 Redheaded Ducks, 6 Mallards, and a Great Blue Heron.
On Sunday, we saw “only” 13 species (no Mourning Dove, Hairy Woodpecker, or Carolina Wren), but we had 20 Northern Cardinals and 20 White-throated Sparrows, along with the Fox Sparrow and Song Sparrow we had seen on Friday.
Birding in the Blind – Saturday, January 24, 9:00 am
Cancelled due to cold weather and snow-covered roads.
Birding in the Blind – Saturday, November 15, 9:00 am
In 45 minutes, 18 species were sighted or heard: Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, American Crow (heard), Mourning Dove, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Blue Jay, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Towhee, Turkey Vulture (flyover), Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Fall Color Hike – Saturday, October 25, 10:00 am
We had a nice Fall Color Walk. The weather and the foliage were beautiful. The walk was highlighted by a walk to a Paw Paw tree where a ripe paw paw was cut open and sampled by our fearless leader, Rob Pendygraft. [As far as we know, he’s still alive.]
Birding in the Blind – Saturday, October 18, 9:00 am
On a brisk, clear morning in the newly refurbished Fred Loetscher Bird Blind (new roof, repainted interior), several residents came to visit (Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Carolina Wren) along with three migrating warblers (Chestnut-sided and Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Common Yellowthroat)
Fall Birding Hike – Saturday, September 27, 9:00 am
23 species identified. Highlights: Northern Flicker, Chipping Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwings (a flock!), Pileated Woodpecker
Summer Sunset Stroll – Saturday, August 16, 8:00 pm
A group of fourteen (!) enjoyed a 90-minute stroll out to and on Deer Trail undeterred by occasional sprinkles and earlier-than-expected darkness. Led by Rob Pendygraft, we saw bats (both Small Brown and Large Brown), heard frogs and insects, learned about the effect of beavers on the ecology of the Refuge around Island Pond and Woodland Pond, visited the new Monarch Way Station area and spent some time in the Nature Center.
Spring Birding Hike – Saturday, April 6, 2014 – 9:00 am
Four birders visited the Fred Loetscher Bird Blind for about 30 minutes and strolled Woodland Pond Trail and Bluebird Trail for about 1.5 hours and saw and/or heard 25 species, including a Red-winged Blackbird at one of the feeders, a pair of Great Blue Herons, Dark-eyed Juncos at the feeders, Belted Kingfisher at Woodland Pond, several Golden-crowned Kinglets on Woodland Pond Trail, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a few Chipping Sparrows and several White-throated Sparrows at the feeders, and a Pileated Woodpecker.
Birding in the Blind, Saturday, March 15, 2014, 9:00 am
On a clear, crisp morning, two birders saw 14 species in 45 minutes in the Fred Loetscher Bird Blind: .American Crow (flying over the adjoining field), American Goldfinch, Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Towhee, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, and White-throated Sparrow.
Fall Color Hike, Saturday, October 19, 2013 – 10:00 am
Braving intermittent sprinkles of rain, a small group took the Woodland Pond and Green Heron Trails to the beginning of the Roy Ellis Trail, at which point the rain became heavier, so we abandoned the hike and headed back to the parking lot.
Summer Night Walk and Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing
Sunday, August 11, 2013 – 8:00 pm
An intrepid group of fourteen walkers, four of whom were under 8 years old (including one in a stroller pushed by his patient father) took a leisurely tour of the Alcock Bluebird Trail around Island Pond, getting good views of bats sleeping and a Black Rat Snake on guard in the rafters of the Benjamin Bright Moran Gazebo; helpful information about many grasses, trees, and other plants in the meadow from Rob Pendygraft, Refuge Caretaker and walk leader; and an enjoyable view of the night sky enhanced by Rob’s pointing out of many of the constellations on view in a partly cloudy sky. We didn’t see a lot of meteors, but a few of them were very exciting to watch. At least half the group stuck it out in the meadow until 11:00 pm and then spent some time in the Cheek Nature Center checking out the exhibits there, including the new photographic display.
Spring Wildflower Walk #2 – Saturday, April 13, 2013 – 10:00 am
Fourteen walkers enjoyed the crisp, clear air and the delicacy of the flowers that have just begun to bloom in earnest on the Martha Bisset Clay Wildflower Trail. We also saw evidence of relatively new beaver activity in the field where several hundred trees were planted in March of 2007 along with the 200 sleeves around tree trunks put out by volunteers at the first Work Day two weeks ago. Following the walk, a few hardy souls spent awhile pulling Garlic Mustard along Carpenters Creek Road. We have been doing this for the last three or four years and seem to be making progress; there were fewer plants this year.
Volunteer Work Day #2 – Saturday, April 13 – 12 noon – 2:00 pm
Eight people planted several hundred tree saplings along the North Rolling Fork in the newly acquired parcel of land. Later this spring, warm season grasses will be sown in this 33-acre plot.
Volunteer Work Day #1 – Saturday, March 30, 2013 – Noon – 2:00 pm
Volunteers, including members of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority at Centre College, put guards on 200 trees in the field next to the Wildflower Trail to protect them from beavers, who have already destroyed more than 50 trees.
Wildflower Walk #1 – Saturday, March 30, 2013 – 10:00 am
There weren’t many flowers blooming because of the cold (lows in the ‘teens have been common lately), but a small group enjoyed the hike, including a close look across the North Rolling Fork at the small plot of land the Refuge has recently purchased.