Environmental Education Programs

The environmental education program is designed to be hands on, engaging, and allow for students of all ages to discover ecological principles. Visiting groups may schedule one or more classes for their visit. All classes are free. All classes last 45 minutes and are guided by a staff member or volunteer. Class size is limited to 22 students. Larger groups may divide their attendees into smaller groups and rotate between classes. However, the Visitor Center will only host groups of less than 66 students during one visit.

To schedule a visit please contact Tim Parker at 301-497-5776 or email Timothy_Parker@fws.gov. 
Reservations should be at made four weeks before your desired visit.
Most calendar dates fill six weeks in advance.
Grants for bus transportation costs are available.

Due to technical problems RESERVATIONS for Tram Tours ARE NOT being accepted. 

  • Forest Ecology Hike (Outdoor Class)


    (All ages) This program explores the relationship between animals, plants and the landscape they occupy. A highlight of this program is searching for insects, arachnids, and other small creatures living on the forest floor. For students 5th grade and above this program may also include netting dragonflies and butterflies. (Students should wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Using insect repellent on clothing is recommended.)

  • Pond Ecology Hike (Outdoor Class)

    Spangled Skimmer

    (3rd – 12th grades) This program explores the relationship between animals, plants and the landscape they occupy. During the hike students will visit Goose Pond to discover the underwater life of dragonflies, damselflies, crayfish, water-boatmen and other invertebrates. (Students should wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Depending on water levels they should also bring a change of shoes.)

  • Forest Discovery Tram Tour (Outdoor Class)

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    (All ages) Our 40 person electric tram allows visitors to enter an area of the refuge closed to the public. This protected area offers participants a greater chance to see deer, blue heron, egrets, and hawks. Like our other outdoor programs, this class focuses on ecology.

  • Feathered Friends (Outdoor & Indoor Class)

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    (1st grade - adult) Beginning with a short walk outside, this program gives attendees a chance to see our local song birds. While indoors groups will meet an American kestrel or eastern screech owl.

  • An Otter's Tale (Indoor Class)

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    (K4 – 3rd grade) Students will join us in exploring the ocean world, as we follow a day in the life of a California Sea Otter. During this program, students will learn about the characteristics that allow the sea otters to adapt and survive in a cold and watery habitat.

  • Walking with Wolves (Indoor Class)

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    ­­­(1st – 6th grade) Students will recognize and identify different ways that wolves adapt to their environment. During this program, students will learn about the basic needs of wolves and how their habitat helps provide for those basic needs.

  • Crane Crisis (Indoor Class)

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    (3rd grade - adult) Crane Crisis introduces the students to the plight of the endangered Whooping Crane in an interactive presentation. Students will be given background information on how this species became endangered and how researchers are working to reestablish the crane population in North America.

  • Animal Skull Detectives (Indoor Class)


    (1st grade - adult) By examining a skull’s teeth, eye placement, and spinal connection, you can tell a lot about the past life of an animal. This animal identification activity is used with groups when the weather does not permit us to explore the forest.