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Planning Your Field Trip

Advance reservations are required for all school groups visiting the Refuge. Reservations allow staff to avoid conflicts between other groups and resource management activities, and to arrange logistics for those groups requesting services.

See this list of steps to request a field trip. You can also keep a copy of the quick checklist to track your progress.

*Guided tours in the fall of 2016 will be limited due to reduced staff availability.  Groups larger than two classes are encouraged to submit requests for the spring season instead.  The ability to guide smaller groups in the fall is to be determined, however, we encourage you to submit your request as these are filled on a first-come first-served basis.  

Please direct further questions to 

  • Step One - Become Familiar with the Refuge

     Become familiar with the Refuge, what a trip can offer your students, and how it ties into your curriculum. This website as well as the Educator’s Guide will give you an introduction to the Refuge and tips for making the most of your trip, before, during and after.  

    At a minimum we require that one teacher onsite each day has attended one of our teacher training events.  We also suggest that all teachers review Chapters 1 and 2 from the Educator's Guide found on the Educator Resources Page.

  • Step Two - Choose Your Activities

    Get an idea of what you would like your students to learn and experience when visiting the Refuge and what activities might help you achieve this. Most classes participate in a Plankhouse tour and guided nature walk that is catered to their unique learning objectives.  These activities are 45 minutes in length and accommodate no more than 30 students for each activity at a time.  Groups larger than 30 are broken into rotations.  See this sample schedule to understand this rotation schedule.  

    When more that two classes or over 60 students are involved, teachers are often asked to lead a third activity. There are some sample activities in the Educators Guide found on the Educator Resources page, however you can also come up with your own. Refuge staff will let you know if they are compatible with the site and time frame. Just remember that activities that involve collecting materials may not be compatible and are considered on a case by case basis.

  • Step Three - Submit Request

    Fill out the online field trip request form with as much detail as you can. It is very important that you provide three potential dates as well as the time span you are available for. Please check with your busing company to confirm your earliest arrival and latest departure times.

    Group Visit Request Online Form 

    If you would like to request assistance with transportation costs send the following form to the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge at: PO Box 1022; Ridgefield, WA 98642 or email

    Bus Assistance Form 

    Learn More
  • Step Four - Arranging Details

    Expect to get a confirmation that your application was received and questions concerning the details of your trip. HOWEVER, your field trip is not confirmed until all of these questions are answered and you get a Field Trip Confirmation Letter from the coordinator. If you are requesting a spring date, your request goes onto the log in the order it was received and you will hear your confirmation and further details in early February. 

    Please make sure to share these details with the rest of your teaching staff and with chaperons as well!  

  • Step Five - Preparing Your Students

    Now it is time to prepare your students! This can be a lot of fun and is very important to ensuring the best experience for all. The Educator's Guide on the Educator Resources page is full of great ideas.  Here are a few more Tips for Teachers to prepare your students.  Be creative and get them thinking!  The better prepared they are for this trip the more they will learn and the smoother the logistics of the trip will be.

  • Step Six - After Your Trip

     Reflection is a big part of the learning process. After students are done with a trip to the Refuge they are often so excited that they are very open to solidifying their learning through some wrap-up activities. There are a few suggestions in the Educator's Guide but feel free to create your own.  

    Refuge staff and volunteers also take time to reflect after each field trip as well as at the end of the season.  It is very important to receive feedback from you so that these programs can continue to get better.  Evaluations also help to encourage grant funders to support these programs.  

    Please fill out and return this Field Trip Evaluation Form* as soon as possible after your trip.  Feedback from each teacher involved, as well as chaperons is very much welcome and needed.

    *If you are requesting bus funding from the Friends, this evaluation will be required in order for you to receive that award.    

Last Updated: Feb 03, 2017
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