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For Educators

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Alligator River and Pea Island Refuges offer a number of services and programs for school, scouts, 4-H and other organized groups.  Refuge staff visit both Kindergarten and Middle School classes in local counties regularly throughout the school year.   On a limited basis, educational may be scheduled. 

Alligator River is the lead refuge for this Complex.  If you were web- surfing on one of the other refuge sites, you may find your way back to that refuge by following one of these links:  Pea Island - Mackay Island -  Currituck -  Pocosin Lakes - Roanoke River


The Refuge Friends group- the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society offers transportation grants to assist groups with educational field trip costs.

Educators are encouraged to contact the refuge at any time to obtain information about educational opportunities.  Contact or 252-475-4180 to schedule an educational program or a field trip.

For Educators   

There’s no better place to teach children about the environment than at Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges.  The refuges can be an exciting, adventurous, and inspirational experience for your students. It is a chance for children to make their own special connections to nature and wildlife, and for educators to nurture their students’ respect and love for our natural environment.  And to top it off, all of our programs are offered to you FREE OF CHARGE!  We offer your students the opportunity of learning about their environment outside of your classroom.  They will be able to relate a hands-on experience with what they have already learned.  Best of all, our programs cover NC Core Curriculum.  The refuges are the perfect places to bring your class to open their eyes to nature.  We offer programs covering wildlife of North Carolina.  Just about anything you would like to teach can be done here–we welcome your ideas.  All programs can also be adapted to work with any age group.

School and Home Schooling Field Trips

Refuge-led learning programs are offered free of charge to preschool through college classes, including topics such as Turtles, Black Bears, Red Wolves, Geocaching, Birds, Wildlife Photography, and more.  Visits can be two to four hours.  Arrangements for programming must be made several weeks in advance by calling Cindy Heffley at 252-475-4180.  Scavenger hunt materials are available at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island to provide a great educator-lead learning experience.  Groups not requesting a guided program are asked to contact us prior to your visit to avoid overcrowding of the facility.

Steps for A Successful Field Trip
Step 1- Familiarize Yourself with the Refuge you are planning to visit- Review refuge information and maps of the area.  Share this information with those involved with the trip.  If possible, have a teacher(s) visit the refuge or visitor center before the field trip to become familiar with the facilities.

Step 2- Schedule Your Field Trip- Contact Visitor Services Specialist Cindy Heffley to schedule a field trip for your group.  If contact is not made before the field trip, you may not get assistance during the visit. 

Step 4- Confirm Your Visit- Confirm with Visitor Services staff any last details about your field trip.  Go over the details including your trip schedule with all of your teachers and chaperones before the field trip. 

Step 5- Prepare Your Students- Have each teacher review with their students acceptable behavior and the proper clothing to wear at the refuge.  Plan to wear sneakers or closed-toed shoes if you are going to be walking outside.  A hat, sunglasses, and insect repellant will make the trip more enjoyable.  Water is only available at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center, so plan on providing water for your students if your trip is on one of the refuges.  It is always recommended to be prepared for changing weather conditions.  Plan to wear something comfortable when in the outdoors so you can best enjoy your visit to the refuge!  There are no picnic facilities at the refuges, so plan on bringing a blanket or towels if you will be staying on the premises for lunch.

Step 6- Arrive at the Refuge- In order to protect the refuge and to provide students with high-quality experiences, please adhere to the following guidelines. *Maximum number of students is 30.  If your group exceeds 30 students, please plan to split up into smaller groups. 
**Grades Pre-K-3: adult-to-student ratio of 1:5 is required.
**Grades 4+: adult-to-student ratio of 1:10 is required.

Page Photo Credits — Children are natural learners!  by Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2014
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