Environmental Education

Kids looking at aquatic invertebrates

 "Environmental education (EE) teaches children and adults how to learn about and investigate their environment, and to make intelligent, informed decisions about how they can take care of it" (definition by the North American Association for Environmental Education).


Comprehensive Conservation Plan Environmental Education Objectives

Environmental Education-Classroom Visit to RefugeContinue and expand environmental education programs and activities on and off the refuge for at least 1,500 adults and 4,000 students of all abilities. These programs will focus on the values and importance of the natural, historical, and cultural resources of the refuge and the Bitterroot Valley, including the refuge’s efforts to maintain, enhance, and restore native plant and wildlife communities on the refuge.   

Strategies to meet stated Objectives

  • EE-Journaling Workshop 256 x 192Recruit a visitor services specialist to develop and present programs. 
  • Develop programs and materials that could be used year-round and encourage teachers and students to explore the refuge beyond the popular spring season. 
  • Through partnerships, continue to organize and provide at least 15 on- and off-refuge annual and special events for adults and students. 
  • Provide at least five offsite school presentations annually. 
  • Conduct teacher workshops annually to better orient and equip teachers to independently explore and learn about the refuge resources. 
  • Establish and widely publicize field trip planning procedures for teachers. 
  • Use current and new education kits to provide at least five offsite school presentations annually. 
  • Continue to allow teachers and students to independently explore the refuge’s public use areas, determining if any participants require special assistance due physical limitations. Provide an orientation on where and how to best explore the refuge, and provide teachers with background information before their arrival. 
  • Develop exploration backpacks that can be checked out and used by students; these backpacks will include suggested projects, species they would see, along with some field supplies such as invertebrate sampling nets, water testing kits, and binoculars. 
  • Environmental Education-Scavenger along Kenai TrailWorking with local teachers, continue to maintain, develop, and provide multimedia educational kits related to refuge resources and make them available to local teachers and students for use in onsite visits or in their classrooms.  
  • Develop an education program that focuses on climate change in the Bitterroot Valley. 
  • Work with local teachers to develop a refuge-specific curriculum that meets State standards. 
  • Develop an education kit that explains the history and value of the restoration efforts proposed under this alternative. 
  • Continue to serve as the coordinator for the State Junior Duck Stamp Program. 
  • Expand opportunities to collaborate with universities to provide outdoor classrooms for students wanting to learn about the refuge, its management programs, its current issues, and the values of the Refuge System. 
  • Develop a partnership with local universities to provide opportunities for students to conduct research and monitoring projects that are beneficial to the refuge, and provide an opportunity for students work with refuge staff. 
  • Add a classroom and associated supplies to the expanded visitor center for environmental education programs. 
  • Organize or participate in five additional annual environmental education events on and off the refuge. 
  • Environmental Education-Scout Group learning about MammalsPursue partnerships and grants to acquire additional resources for environmental education programs.  
  • Expand the refuge’s online presence (social media, blog, Web site) to include interactive educational opportunities and help teachers plan field visits. 
  • Provide training opportunities for added staff and volunteers to improve their capabilities and knowledge in developing and presenting environmental education programs. 
  • Meeting Service graphic standards, use both the refuge’s Web site and a tearsheet to list all the educational resources available through the refuge and the Service, and make this available to schools and other interested groups. 
  • Continue to collaborate with the State to provide hunter education training. 
  • Provide assistance to students interested in completing school science projects related to the natural resources found on the refuge, including mentoring and project development. 
  • Collaborate with the State, universities, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and other entities to create focused activities (environmental education and other visitor uses) for environmental education and visitor service programming, including special events. 
  • Participate in events sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe, including the River Honoring event for students. Provide information on refuge resources and the Bitterroot River Valley, where the Salish Tribe had lived for centuries.