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National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources. Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about local wildlife, plants, habitats, and ecology?  Email deerflat@fws.gov to check on program availability and reservation policies. Refuges are wild places, and we want to teach you more about them!

Scroll down to find out more about our environmental education programs

Field trips

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge makes an excellent outdoor classroom for cross-disciplinary studies by students of all ages. We may be able to guide some groups, but most field trips will be self-guided. Email deerflat@fws.gov to find out more or to schedule a field trip. Self-guided visits must be scheduled with the Refuge to be sure that they do not conflict with other scheduled activities.

Friends of Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge offers a bus scholarship to supplement partial State funding of field trips. Email deerflat@fws.gov to find out about scholarships.

Please do not park buses in the Visitor Center parking lot during field tripsThey can be parked at the nearby boat ramp parking lot after dropping off students. 

Self-Guided Field Trips 

School groups, scout and other youth groups, families, and community groups are invited to schedule a self-guided field trip at the refuge. The Lake Lowell Unit of the refuge offers a great outdoor classroom for hands-on explorations of  sagebrush sagebrush
The western United States’ sagebrush country encompasses over 175 million acres of public and private lands. The sagebrush landscape provides many benefits to our rural economies and communities, and it serves as crucial habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including the iconic greater sage-grouse and over 350 other species.

Learn more about sagebrush
 upland,  riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
, and lake habitats. Leaders can consult with refuge staff to help them plan activities during an independent visit or can borrow a self-guided field trips trunk,
Traveling Trunk, or materials from the Environmental Education Library. You must reserve these supplies!

Self-guided programs must be scheduled with the Refugeto be sure that they do not conflict with other scheduled activities, to reduce overcrowding of Refuge facilities, to minimize wildlife disturbance, and to ensure a better opportunity for wildlife observation. This also helps us determine the number of people participating in various activities on the Refuge. This information may be used to obtain funding for improvements to our public use programs. 

Please do not park buses in the Visitor Center parking lot during field trips. They can be parked at the nearby boat ramp parking lot after dropping off students.

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Traveling Trunks

Enhance your science curriculum by borrowing a free traveling trunk. The trunks are designed to help you meet your student’s needs and bring the wonder of the natural world indoors. Each trunk contains a teacher’s manual with topic information and suggested activities, hands-on materials for the activities, as well as related children’s books and videos. Email deerflat@fws.gov to find out more or to reserve one of the trunks. Borrowers must pick up and return the trunk from the refuge and may keep the trunk for 2 weeks.  

Browse through available trunks below. 

All About Owls (Grades 3-8)

Idaho is famous for its birds of prey. Explore the unique adaptations of nocturnal birds of prey and dissect owl pellets to learn what they eat. This trunk includes a mounted barn owl, displays to explain owl wings and eyes, a great-horned owl skull, books and a video about owls, as well as pellets for students to dissect.

Bird Beaks (Grades 4-10)

Birds use their beaks as tools for many tasks. Conduct hands-on experiments to explore why birds have different kinds of beaks. Includes eight experimental beak kits, a variety of bird skulls, and a book about birds and their beaks.

Bug Box (grades 1-6)

Insects are everywhere and are a great model for learning about lifecycles. Observing real insects, reading about them, and making crafts will help solidify your lessons about the bug world. This trunk contains many books, magnifying cubes, and lifecycle blocks for your classroom use.

Fire! (Grades 2-12)

Discover the fascinating science of fire. From fire ecology to fire safety, this trunk covers it all. Includes hands-on activities to help students better understand the basics of fire and the history behind it.

Fish! (Grades 1-7)

Explore the world of fish with hands-on activities. This lesson focuses on defining characteristics and habitat needs of fish, as well as the art of fish printing (Gyotaku). Includes preserved samples of local fish, a fish skeleton, rubber fish for fish printing, and coloring activities and songs.

Jaws & Levers (Grades 4-12)

Simple machines are everywhere, even in nature! Explore the physics of mammal jaws and the functions of different classes of levers, as well as the biology of wolves and coyotes. Includes different types of levers and tools, a coyote skull, display panels, and a book about wolves. 

Refuge in a Box (Grades K-12)

Take a field trip to the refuge without getting on the bus! This trunk has touchable skins, skulls, and sign (e.g., bird nests) from a wide variety of Idaho wildlife. Includes a National Wildlife Refuge System video, descriptions of the touchable items in the trunk, and activities and books about discovering, conserving, and appreciating life on earth.

Scat and Tracks (Grades 3-9)

Budding biologists learn about animal sign while practicing critical thinking, comparing, memorizing, and observing skills. This lesson challenges students to use knowledge of an animal’s lifestyle and size to identify its scat and tracks. Includes artificial scat and tracks to use in the activities, as well as books about scat and tracks.

Shoots and Leaves (Grades 1-6)

Plants make the world go round! This trunk is full of activities to complement your lesson about plants. Includes papermaking supplies; books to read aloud; seed, bark, and leaf identification games; craft ideas; and a video.

Suitcase for Survival (Grades 3-12)

Take a closer look at species you wouldn't normally think about. From elephant ivory to giant python skins, this trunk examines endangered species, biodiversity, and the reasons why some species are in peril. Includes confiscated animal items from all over the world, as well as books and videos on these vulnerable species and the niches they inhabit.

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Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest

K-12 students are invited to combine their love of art and their love of wildlife by participating in the annual Idaho Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition. There is a Junior Duck Stamp Curriculum available.

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