8 Easy Steps for A Successful Field Trip at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Note: These steps are for a field trip to the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (East Entrance) near Folkston. Step 1- Familiarize Yourself with the Refuge- 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 before their field trip to become familiar with the activities and facilities. Step 2- Schedule Your Field Trip- Contact the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center (912-496-7836) to speak to the Environmental Education Coordinator to schedule a field trip for your school group. You will also need to contact Okefenokee Adventures if you want your students to take a boat ride, use canoes, or have lunch prepared for them. If contact is not made with a ranger before the field trip, your school will have to pay the regular entrance fees and may not get assistance during their visit. For school groups wanting to visit the Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo, you must call the Park office at 912-637-5274 to schedule your trip. Step 3- Obtain a Fee Waiver- Fill out a Reservation Request Form. Email the completed form to Sarah_Wyatt@fws.gov or call the Visitor Center at 912-496-7836.Step 4- Confirm Your Visit- Confirm with Visitor Services staff any last details about your field trip by contacting the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center. 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. The refuge does have educational resources and activity sheets available, please contact the visitor center in advance of your visit if you are interested in these resources.Step 6- Arrive at the Refuge- Make sure that your students will arrive on time at the refuge so that all planned activities can be completed as scheduled. Use the directions from this website and make sure that your bus drivers know that you are going to the Suwannee Canal Recreation Area (East Entrance) near Folkston, not one of the other entrances to the Okefenokee. Step 7- Encourage the “Spirit of Wonder”- Help your students discover some of the amazing things that are found at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. While we encourage field trips to be organized and structured, you should also make sure your students have some free time to just observe and explore nature in a contemplative manner. Step 8- Continue the Learning- Review with the students what they learned on their field trip, and have them study an animal, plant, or natural process they discovered at Okefenokee.
Click HERE to download the Reservation Request Form.
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Okefenokee has the great distinction of not only being a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, but also the National Wilderness Preservation System. This designation is given to federal lands that are affected primarily by nature and where people are only visitors. Managed using minimum tools, Wilderness Areas are places where visitors can experience unconfined and solitude recreation.