White River National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Visitor center. Credit: USFWS

Visitor center. Credit: USFWS

White River National Wildlife Refuge

White River NWR visitor services manager is currently vacant and may not be filled in the near future. With that being said, program requests should be made two weeks in advance so please contact the Refuge office in Saint Charles at 870-282-8200 to make reservations. Potlatch Conservation Education Center (PCEC) at Cook's Lake near Casscoe, is a conservation education facility that operates under a joint agreement between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Cook's Lake Environmental Education Center also has availability to teach the same courses as offered at White River NWR. If you would like to schedule a class call Tana Beasley at 870-241-3373.

Trees and Me (Grades 3-8; 45 minutes)

Trees and Me focuses upon the importance of trees in our environment and how man and animals alike participate in their many uses. Why are trees important to us? Come and learn about the diversity of trees and what their differences are. How do different species of animals, birds, snakes, and insects use trees? This fun interactive program reacquaints us with the importance of the natural world around us.

Skins and Skulls (Grades 3-8; 45 minutes)

Ever wonder what the skeletal frame-work of an animal looked like–especially its skull? How about reaching out and touching an animal’s skin, hide, or fur? What would that feel like? This fun and interactive program allows students to become a part of the animal kingdom for a day. We’ll learn about different animals and their habitat, how to recognize them by site, and what lies underneath their outer coating.

A Birds Eye View (Grades 3-8; 45 minutes)

White River NWR originally came into being with its designation “As a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.... “Executive Order 7173, 4 September 1935.
The Refuge is home to thousands of migratory birds each year–both waterfowl and neo-tropical birds. Come participate in this interesting program as we take a look at the Refuge from a “bird’s eye point of view.” This interactive program highlights the importance of protecting our migratory birds and providing them a sanctuary during their annual migrations.




  •  The Refuge can be an important link to Arkansas’ education system.
  • The Refuge’s state of the art exhibit hall provides a unique look at “100 Centuries of Man and the River.” Individual exhibits, displays, and audio-visual programs allow you to explore the unique flora, fauna, and water-systems that makeup the Refuge.


  • Refuge specific programming can connect participants to what is being taught in the classroom. Example topics are: water-systems, wildlife and wildlife habitat, and the bottomland hardwood forest environment.


  • It is recommended that the teacher and/or a representative make a preview visit to the Visitor Center. This will allow time to know staff involved and the location of restrooms, exhibits, educational classroom, location of trail systems, and the accessibility of the site. Those areas that may be used during the learning activity.


  • Be sure your students know:
  • The time and date of departure.
  • Point of departure.
  • Educational objective of the field trip.
  • Necessary expenses.
  • Lunch plan (if you are planning lunch during your visit)
  • Appropriate dress.
  • Parental permission forms as required by the school.
  • Rules (of the teacher and of the Refuge).
  • Field Trip supplies Ex: (camera, notebook, pencils, art supplies, etc.)
  • Special assignments/worksheets.
  • Available free time.
  • Time they will return to school.


  • Pre-trip activities in the classroom that will prepare the student for the field trip experience is recommended. The Refuge staff member that is providing the program experience can assist you in the design of such activities.


  • It is important that students, whether working as a class or in small groups, have proper supervision. We recommend one adult accompany every 12 to 15 students.
  • Discipline is the responsibility of the teacher and chaperones. Please explain to your students that appropriate, orderly behavior is expected during their visit.


  • This may require rescheduling or changes in activity plans. Check with Refuge staff involved with the program before visiting in such weather. Notify the Refuge immediately if any circumstances require you to cancel your visit.


  • We hope that your field trip will be both pleasurable and memorable. Please follow the above guidelines to help insure that your visit meets up to those expectations.
  • If you have any questions please feel free to contact Refuge staff involved with the program being offered.
  • Please feel free to offer feedback as we want it to be a compelling, interesting, and rewarding experience.

Ron Hollis,
Deputy Project Leader
White River National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 205
St. Charles, Arkansas 72140
(870) 282-8250


Last updated: May 10, 2013