A primary objective of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge is to provide an optimal environmental educational experience to all interested audiences. Our Environmental Education Program is free and includes staff led field trips which may last one to five hours. Tours are offered to teachers, Scout groups, classrooms from grade school to university level, and various conservation groups. Students are invited and encouraged to participate in hands-on activities that are designed to teach and expand on ecological concepts using the Refuge's particular habitats and management practices. Staff led field trips integrate science, local and national history, and physical education in these activities which are adaptable to students of all grade levels.
The meeting site for most environmental education activities and tours usually begin at Refuge Headquarters. There is a 6.5 mile auto tour route that is used to conduct all or a portion of Refuge field trips. The Refuge Auto Tour Route passes by deep water ponds, upland areas, moist soil, and some riparian habitats. Field trip participants learn of the strategic importance of the Refuge in the Southern San Joaquin Valley as well as the recent habitat changes native and migratory wildlife have had to grow accustomed to. To make a reservation for a staff led field trip, we ask interested parties to contact the Refuge at least two weeks in advance.
In addition to on site field trips, Refuge staff also provide on site environmental education covering such topics as water quality, the listing process, careers with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as hands-on games that cover topics as migration, environmental quality, and the benefits of recycling. Please contact the Refuge at 661-725-2767 and provide at least a three week notice before the scheduled instruction date.
The Refuge provides wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl benefiting shorebirds and other wetland dependant species. In addition, the Refuge also provides a home for several endangered species including the Buena Vista Lake shrew, Tipton kangaroo rat, and San Joaquin kit fox.