Outer Island Unit Structured educational programs are available for schools, universities and professional groups on Outer Island. 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 an educational experience on Outer Island, visit the partnership website here.
Salt Meadow Unit Refuge staff partner with groups such as the Potopaug Audubon Society to provide several educational programs throughout the year. These programs have included presentations on birds like owls, woodcock, eagles, waterfowl, shorebirds and others. Programming related to other wildlife, the cultural resources and human stories of the refuge, and fun events like "Walk on the Wild Side" draw individuals and families from around the area.
Sheffield Island Unit The Sheffield Island Unit trail and lighthouse are available for use by school groups and individuals from May through September. Many school groups are included in the over 17,000 visitors to the island each year. The refuge uses the island for the capstone field trip of its Nature of Learning environmental education program.
Interpretive tours on the island are lead by refuge interns and by Norwalk Seaport Association staff. Tour guides explore the history of the lighthouse, the island's use as a camp for Native Americans to fish and hunt, as a 17th century farm, and as a 20th century mansion/retreat. Guides also bring groups along the refuge nature trail and beach to explore the island's native flora and fauna. To find out more about hours, group tours and ferry tickets, 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 Visitor Services Manager at 860-399-2513 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.