San Diego NWR Complex
Pacific Southwest Region


Sweetwater SafariSweetwater Safari

Students and teachers are introduced to the wonders of the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and to the endangered species in their own backyards by the fictitious but accurate field guide of H.D.Hernandez, a researcher with a sense of humor.

This science-based field experience for fourth grade students meets State of California standards for language arts, science and social studies. The program is a free, exciting, self-guided backpack adventure that can be adapted for slightly younger or older students. The curriculum includes four activities in the field: Plankton catch and identification, bird identification, Evidence of Animals, and Plant identification. Students draw plants, animals, or signs of animals, birds, and plankton as they participate in each exercise, then take their information and drawings back to the classroom to be included in both a classroom journal and in individual field journals. Binoculars, field scopes, plankton nets, brightly colored field guides and other equipment is contained in the backpacks that students carry from one station to another. Teachers can choose all the activities or just one or any combination. For more information, please contact our Environmental Education Specialist, Chantel Jimenez at

StudentsTijuana Estuary Explorers

Tijuana Estuary Explorers is another of our backpack field experiences that meets California 3rd - 5th grade standards for Math, Science and Language Arts. Education staff at the Tijuana Estuary guide students and teachers in four field activies: Salt Marsh Plants, Going Birding, Build a Watershed and Plankton Catch. Like its sister program at Sweetwater Marsh, students work in the classroom prior to and after their field experience to relate what they've learned to their everyday lives. For more information, please contact our Environmental Education Specialist, Chantel Jimenez at

KidsHabitat Heroes

Habitat Heroes is a new education/restoration and GIS mapping program that targets invasive plant species and pollution at the South Bay refuge. The Habitat Heroes Education Project, sponsored by the Friends of the San Diego Wildlife Refuges, brings together elementary, secondary, and post secondary students, volunteer groups and members of the community to understand and address the growing threat of invasive species to the South San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Based on GIS technology, traditional and internet-based instruction, cross-age student mentoring, and habitat-based investigations, students and volunteers collect and disseminate information about this significant threat to the diversity of San Diego's ecosystem. They work with Refuge volunteer groups, habitat restoration experts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff, and environmental educators to remove non-native species and cultivate and plant native species. For more information, please contact our Environmental Education Specialist, Chantel Jimenez at

VanThe Pelican Van

The Pelican Van at our Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge attracts attention wherever it goes - and it goes to schools throughout the Orange County coastal area. Piloted by members of the Friends of Seal Beach, the Van and its educators travel to schools and community events to spread the word about the National Wildlife Refuge System, wildlife and habitat conservation, and the Refuge System’s unique mission – to put “wildlife first.” Please call 562/598-1024 for more information on available materials and programs, and how you can book the Pelican Van for your school or community event.

Where wildlife comes naturally!
Last updated: August 6, 2010