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For Educators

School Groups at Eagle Days at Mingo NWRThe diversity of plants, wildlife and habitat at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge provides for great learning opportunities for all age groups.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge provides great hands-on learning opportunities to discover the plants, wildlife and habitat of southeast Missouri. Interested teachers can plan a self-guided field trip to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Note: The entrance fee is waived for all school group visits.


Self-guided Field Trips:

•The Mingo National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center provides interactive exhibits on the plants, wildlife, habitat and history of Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.  Students can watch an 8 minute video discussing the purpose of the refuge within the the theater.  A bookstore is operated in the building that has nature/refuge-related books, shirts, hats and toys. 

•The Swampwalk Nature Trail is a self-guided 1 mile loop that winds through the bottomland hardwood forest of Mingo Refuge. While on the hike keep your eyes and ears open for any signs of wildlife as deer, owls and ducks are often spotted along the trail.

Bluff Road provides a great drive through the southern portion of the refuge with turkey and deer being a common sight along the drive.

Red Mill Drive is a one-way road that winds up through the eastern portion of the refuge. During the winter months this route provides great viewing opportunities for wintering waterfowl and bald eagles.

Flatbanks Area offers a picturesque view of the Mingo River and offers great access to the water’s edge. This is an optimal place for a pond study or for fishing trip. It also is a great place for a picnic if the weather cooperates.


Environmental Education Programs:

Refuge staff would be happy to work with you on providing a unique environmental education program for your class's visit to Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.  These refuge-led programs are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis dependent on staff availability and are limited to Fridays of each week. Teachers must be able to split up the students into groups of no more than 25 for the programs. To inquire about scheduling programs contact the refuge office at 573-222-3589. Environmental education program topics include:

Migratory birds: What does migration mean? Why do birds migrate? What makes Mingo National Wildlife Refuge so important to migratory birds? These are the questions we will look to answer during this program learning about migratory birds. Students will get to discover the migration process through the fun and interactive Migratory Bird Game.

Wetland Studies: Mingo National Wildlife Refuge consists mostly of wetland habitat, ranging from open marsh habitat to the heavily forested bottomland hardwood forest habitat. These wetlands are incredibly important to our ecosystem and provide homes to a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life. During this program, students will get the opportunity to get their hands wet exploring a wetland with dip nets and magnifying lens as they learn about the importance of wetlands.

Adaptations: Nature is full of amazing adaptions. Whether it is a beaver’s ability to gnaw down trees or an owl’s adaptation of stalking prey at night. Student’s will get to learn hands-on about what adaptations are and how they help the wildlife survive in their habitat.

Bald Eagles: Learn about our National Symbol and the many adaptations that make it a successful predator. Depending on time of year, students will get the opportunity to go out on the refuge and spot an eagle in the wild. (Note: the large Eagle Days event is held every other year at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and Duck Creek Conservation Area, next Eagle Days is schedule for February 2015.)


Discovery Trunks Loan Program:

The Missouri Department of Conservation provides a number of Discovery Trunks that are available for loan in several locations in southeast Missouri counties. Discovery trunks may be reserved in advance by educators. Discovery Trunks will be available at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge upon the completion of the new Visitor Center (projected completion date summer 2014). Discovery Trunk Topics Include:

•Bat Mini-Trunk
•Butterfly Mini-Trunk
•Caves and Karst
•Lewis & Clark
•Native Americans
•Outdoor Classroom Planning
•Reptiles and Amphibians

For additional information on the Discovery Trunk loan program, or to check out a trunk, contact Pat Holloway, Conservation Education Consultant by telephone at 573-222-3337 or email at

Last Updated: Jul 03, 2014
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