What started with a wood duck and a small flock of Canada geese has grown into an area with hundreds of types of wildlife.

A couple of years after Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1966, about 20 deer were spotted on the property east of Seymour. Then 30 coveys of quail were spotted in 1970.

Since then, turkeys, beavers, heron, river otters, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, whooping cranes and other animals have been spotted there over the years.

Today, more than 280 species of birds, 37 species of mammals, 44 species of reptiles and amphibians and 75 species of fish are known to occur on the nearly 7,724-acre refuge. Also, 33 dragonfly species, 60 species of butterflies, at least 24 species of mollusks and five species of crayfish have been found.

It’s no wonder nearly 172,000 people from all over the country visit the refuge on an annual basis. It’s one of only three national wildlife refuges in Indiana — and the oldest in the state — that are among more than 560 in the United States.

On Saturday, a 50-year anniversary celebration is planned at the refuge.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.

Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.