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For Educators

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Alligator River and Pea Island Refuges offer a number of services and programs for schools, scouts, 4-H and other organized groups. Refuge staff visit kindergarten and middle school classes in local counties throughout the school year.

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, Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society offers educational transportation grants to assist groups with refuge field trip expenses. Grant information and forms are located on the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society website.

Educators are encouraged to contact Cindy_Heffley@fws.gov 252-475-4180 for information about program opportunities.


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, adventure-filled, and an 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 the natural environment.  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. After a field trip they will be able to combine a hands-on experience with what they have already learned.  Best of all, our programs cover North Carolina 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 contacting Cindy Heffley at 252-475-4180 or cindy_heffley@fws.gov. Scavenger hunt materials are available at the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island to provide a great educator-lead learning experience. Large 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,  cindy_heffley@fws.gov 252-475-4180 to schedule a field trip for your group.

Step 4- Confirm Your Visit - Confirm details about your field trip with Cindy Heffley. 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 repellent 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 out 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. Arrange this with Cindy Heffley.
**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: Apr 28, 2017
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