Outer Island Unit Structured educational programs are available for schools, universities and professional groups on Outer Island Unit. Through a partnership with Connecticut State University, over 1,000 students visit the island each summer to learn about the island's unique ecology. For more information on arranging for an educational experience on Outer Island visit the Center for Education and Research on Outer Island website at Connecticut State University.
Salt Meadow Unit Refuge staff partner with Potopaug Audubon Society to provide several educational programs throughout the year. These programs have included lectures by owl and woodcock experts. Programs in the spring include eagles, waterfowl, and shorebirds, while owl programs are attended during the winter months. A spring treat includes a woodcock walk where the birds' ritualistic mating behavior amazes those in attendance. For more information on upcoming programs, please contact the refuge.
Sheffield Island Unit The Sheffield Island Unit trail and lighthouse are available for use by school groups and individuals from May to September. Many school groups are included in the over 17,000 visitors to the island each year. Educators can focus on the history of the lighthouse as an important navigational aid, or on the history of the island itself which started as a Native American community, was later used as a farm in the 1700's and was the home to a large mansion in the 1800's, and as a refuge for native flora and fauna today. To find out more about hours of ferry operation visit the Norwalk Seaport Association website.
Calf Island Unit Educational groups may obtain a special use permit to hold approved environmental education programming on the Calf Island Unit. Please contact the Refuge for more information.
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Did you know that there is a native cactus in Connecticut? Yes, Opuntia humifusa or the prickly-pear grows in all eastern states except Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Although it is rare and listed as a species of special concern in the state, you can find it on several units of the Stewart B. McKinney NWR.