Let’s Go Outside!
Connecting People With Nature
  • Youth Organizations
  • Archery and the Outdoors
  • Plan Outdoor Trips
  • Learn about Wildlife & Habitat
  • Participate in a Service Project

Youth Organizations

Scouts with the Blue Goose

Credit: USFWS

The US Department of the Interior wisely manages federally-owned public lands, waters, and other natural, cultural and historic resources. This includes protecting and enhancing certain fish and wildlife resources, national parks and national wildlife refuges; providing outdoor recreation opportunities; and promoting participation by individuals, organizations, and communities in caring for these lands, facilities, and resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to encourage the development of a stewardship ethic for the range of public lands and their resources, through public and private sector initiatives.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) enjoys a proud history working with a range of youth organizations to help young people develop academic, leadership, and citizenship skills through a variety of enrichment experiences, such as field trips, skill-building activities, community service projects, cultural exchanges, volunteer and internship opportunities, and environmental stewardship projects. These programs build character; help youth develop self-confidence and personal fitness; reinforce ethical standards; provide service to others that can influence youth in their adult lives; and provide them with opportunities to try new things. By combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun, the USFWS helps youth build a more environmentally conscientious, responsible, and productive society.

In addition to these opportunities, the USFWS would like to recognize youth and their achievements and/or accomplishments related to the environment and/or conservation. A Certificate of Recognition may be completed at the link provided below. These certificates are meant to honor youth achievements and/or accomplishments within an individual’s respective youth organization program. Only youth advisors, mentors or staffs of youth organizations are to complete these certificates for presentation ceremonies recognizing the accomplishments of these individuals.


This certificate does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information or content. All content provided on this certificate is for informational purposes only.

Additional Online Resources

Interested in Volunteering?  http://www.fws.gov/volunteers/

Is there a National Wildlife Refuge nearby? http://www.fws.gov/refuges/

Want to learn more about conservation careers?: https://www.youthgo.gov/

Planning to take your Youth Group on a trip? http://www.fws.gov/letsgooutside/educators.html  or

Questions or Comments:  Scouting@fws.gov


4-H is one of the largest youth programs and reaches over 7 million people per year.  Since 1979, the USDA and DOI have been partnering to honor and support programming that connects people with nature.
 Some of these programs include:

    • Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program
    • 4-H Programs of Distinction
    • 4-H GIS/GPS Partnership projects
    • Assisting kids with their wildlife 4-H projects
    • The National 4-H Sport Fishing Program



In alignment with DOI’s America’s Great Outdoors program to create a new generation of citizen stewards and mentors, 4-H is playing an important role toward achieving this goal.

For further information about 4-H programs, please contact:

James Kahler, Program Specialist, 4-H National Headquarters, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Email:  JKahler@nifa.usda.gov.

Is Archery the Outdoor Sport for You?

Archery Activity at a Fish Hatchery

Students enjoy archery and many other outdoor skills at National Fish Hatcheries.
Credit - USFWS

Archery is a sport with few limitations to participation and one that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Archery is safe, fun, and easy to learn. It is a discipline suitable for all ages, sexes, and abilities.

Archery is a sport that just about any person can find some level of success in. Children that may not be a star at some of the more traditional sports may find archery is a sport in which they can excel while learning patience, focus and team building skills. Or it can be a family sport with an almost endless variety of ways to participate, such as Olympic style Target Archery, Archery Games, 3-D Archery or Bowhunting.

Programs such as the Archery Trade Associations “Explore Bowhunting” not only teach participants about Archery, but the curriculum is composed of 22 Nature based activities that teach many of the same skills used in Wildlife Photography or Wildlife Viewing.

For more details select one of the Links below

Archery as an Outreach Tool: Includes a brief video Trailer and more detailed FAQ page

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Contact your Local Wildlife Refuge or FWS Fisheries office to see if they host an Archery program.

Plan Outdoor Trips

Guided tour at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

Guided tour at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Credit - USFWS/George Gentry

Getting your youth group outdoors can be as simple as opening the door to the backyard or as exciting as going camping.  And as youth grow bigger and more capable, adventures outdoors can grow in complexity with them.  The important thing is to begin when they are young to let them experience the wonders of nature. For more things to do and places to go, visit the sites below:

Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges

Your Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges

Nature Rocks

Learn About Wildlife and Habitat

child touching snake

You can find animals that are native to your area by visiting your local National Wildlife Refuge
Credit - USFWS/Steve Hillebrand

Help youth get into nature by figuring out what animals live in your local area.  Then once you have done that, go to a local park or wildlife refuge with your youth group and explore some more.  Once you figure out which animals are local to your area, learn more about them.

Youth may have a project that requires photos of animals.  We have a digital image library that may be useful to you.  Search the web site above for the photos you need.

Participate in a Service Project

Girl Scouts at Anahuac Refuge

Girl Scouts restore habitat at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge,
Credit - USFWS/Steve Hillebrand

Across the country our National Wildlife Refuges work to enhance fish and wildlife resources for you.  Think about giving back by organizing a service project for your youth group.  It could be as simple as picking up trash or as complex as restoring habitat. Contact your local national wildlife refuge or U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service office for more information and discuss possibilities.

Last updated: December 19, 2016
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