Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Education Programs

The refuge offers free guided or self-guided programs that can be scheduled by contacting Nancy Corona by email at or by phone 321-861-0668. The 2-4 hour long programs are available to public, private, home school, and scout groups. Programs can be adapted to various grade levels. Please schedule your program three weeks in advance.

Sendler Education Outpost Pavilion

This pavilion was specifically designed to host environmental education programs. Its close proximity to the Indian River Lagoon and several other habitats make it ideal for field-oriented activities. It has picnic tables, restrooms, running water, and ample space for conducting class activities. It is free, however, please call to make reservations.



Program Descriptions

Habitats Are Homes - Grades Pre K- 2

Younger students visit several habitats and learn how they are homes for animals and plants. Students explore the habitats by using their senses and making observations.

Exploring Habitats - Grades 2 - 6

Students are guided along the visitor center 1/4 mile boardwalk by Refuge staff and volunteers to investigate hammock and freshwater pond habitats. Students explore the non-living and living parts of these habitats by making observations and using field equipment: field guides, hand lenses, thermometers, and binoculars.

Seining & Water Quality of the Lagoon - Grades 4- 12

Students work in small groups with an adult chaperone using a seine net to capture animal species found in the Indian River Lagoon. Captured animals are studied, identified and placed back in the lagoon. Basic water quality tests are conducted to teach the students about water monitoring and threats to the health of the lagoon. The program takes place at the lagoon shore line at the Sendler Education Outpost Pavilion. The pavilion is equipped with running water, picnic tables and restrooms.



Freshwater Pond Discovery - Grades 3 - 6

Students use field guides, microscopes, and maginfying lenses to observe pond animals and plants. Basic water quality tests are conducted to teach the students about water monitoring. Students learn about the importance of protecting fresh water habitats.

Birds & Bird Watching - Grades K - 12

Students learn about the natural history of birds and the techniques of bird watching through a presentation and field trip. Students use binoculars, field guides, and spotting scopes to observe a variety of bird species in the wild. This can be a walking or driving tour.



Sea Turtle Survival - Grades K - 12

Students learn about endangered sea turtles and how they can help them survive by viewing a presentation and touching natural artifacts: shells, bone, and stuffed specimens. Younger students can play an interactive game and make a sea turtle craft.




Biological Survey and GPS - Grades 7 - 12

Students working in small groups survey a 50 meter transect line that travels through three habitats: wetlands, overgrown scrub, and fire managed scrub. Students collect data on plant species, wildlife, and soil conditions and compare their findings. Students can learn how to use GPS units and mark waypoints along the transect lines. Students learn about scrub and wetland habitats, prescribed fire, data collecting, and comparing living and nonliving components of the three habitats.

GPS Mapping - Grades 7 - 12

Students learn how to use a GPS unit and mark waypoints along the Scrub Ridge Trail (1 mile loop) and create a map by plotting the points. Students also learn about scrub habitat, its plants and wildlife species and the use of prescribed fire for managing habitat.

GPS Scavenger Hunt - Grades 7 - 12

Students learn how to use a GPS unit and go on a scavenger hunt to find waypoints. At each waypoint students perform a science related activity. The refuge has 18 GPS units for loan and offers basic training in GPS use.

Manatee Education Box - Grades Pre K - 8

This outreach kit is filled with a variety of manatee related activities, crafts, and games. Designed for use in the classroom by public, private, scouts and home schools. Lesson plans are correlated to the Florida Sunshine State Standards. Contents include CD's, books, puppets, crafts, posters, activity books and much more. It can be borrowed for two or more weeks.

Manatee Mania - Grades K - 12

Students learn about the natural history of the endangered manatee through activities, examination of real manatee bones and a field trip to the manatee observation deck to observe manatees in the wild.



Way of the Right Whale Education Box

This outreach kit contains a video and information on the highly endangered Right Whale. It can be borrowed for two or more weeks.



Other Program Topics

  • Bald Eagle Presentation & Watch (October - March)
  • Reptiles & Amphibians
  • Insects
  • Plants
  • Alligators







Last Updated: