For Educators

Educators 512x219

The refuge offers an excellent outdoor classroom available to educators for free. 

Free Environmental Education Programs:  

Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge provides free environmental education programs for students ranging in age from Pre-K to college. Refuge staff work with educators to provide programs that meet the current curriculum needs of a classroom, and topics can range from environmental awareness to animal identification. The free presentations can be done at the school or arrangements can be made for students to schedule a field trip to the refuge. We understand that many school budgets are slim, and we want to find a method to tailor this unique learning experience no matter what the budget allows. Again, the programs are free and we encourage educators to reach out to us and discuss the possibilities.

Educators can contact the refuge to learn more and to schedule a program. We have free booklets that provide further detail on the types of programs that can be offered.

Refuge Field Trips:

  • Field trips to the refuge can include a walk through the wetlands where students can see wildlife, learn about the importance of wetlands, water quality issues, wildlife conservation issues and more.
  • A trail leads students through an oak hickory upland forest into a bottomland hardwood forested area and ends at a 1,200 foot elevated boardwalk and overlook. An excellent outdoor classroom, the refuge has accessible areas near the trail where more formal presentations can be made. A restroom, pavilion and viewing blind are located in this area for use by students.
  • The ideal group size is 30 or less. Refuge staff will often break a class of this size into smaller groups for the activities. Keep in mind that more students will require more staff, volunteers and chaperones so please be sure to provide an accurate count of your students.

Want To Schedule a Field Trip to the Refuge?  

  • Discuss your needs with refuge staff so they can schedule a program that meets your needs.
  • Contact the refuge to schedule a free field trip. 

Prepare Your Students:  

  • Remind students (and their parents) they are visiting a national wildlife refuge and discourage them from wearing their best clothes, shoes, etc. 
  • Students should dress for the weather and outdoor conditions.  They should wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the outdoors and consider the cold/hot weather.
  • Long pants are preferred over shorts. Remember, this is a national wildlife refuge and we have poison ivy. 
  • Wear appropriate shoes -- Ideally, shoes should be water resistant and come above the ankle. Hiking boots, old tennis shoes or rubber slip-on boots will work. If these are not an option, remind students not to wear their best shoes, sandals or flip-flops.
  • Wear name tags.  This helps educators and students interact more effectively.

Chaperones: Parents and volunteers are encouraged to accompany your class. At times we may divide a class into smaller groups. More adult supervision helps makes the programs go more smoothly. 

Students with disabilities:
Educators should contact the refuge in advance so staff can work with you to accommodate special needs.

Contact the refuge to learn more about the refuge’s free environmental education programs or to schedule a free field trip.