Region 4 Let's Go Outside!
Southeast Region
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Education Program Examples

Lets Go Outside Logo

Youth Fishing Events

Promote one of our 6 priority public uses, conducting a Youth Fishing Event at your site. Designing and executing a Youth Fishing event can be time consuming and frustrating if not done before. Other Refuges and Hatcheries have already conducted these programs. Feel free to use these examples to gain knowledge, conduct a program, and improve our program examples.

Youth Fishing Event at J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR

1. Find a group to invite, disadvantage groups are a great choice.  30 is a good size.
2. Select the Site on refuge.
3. Find volunteers and /or staff to assist.
4. Invite other organizations to set up booths, share knowledge etc.
5. Create activity skills sections; knot tying, casting, PFD race, etc.  Rotate them through stations.
6. Find boats, or supplies needed to conduct program.
7. Find any sponsors on behalf of your friends group for food and /or drink, prizes.

Timeline for Youth Fishing Event (4 hours)
8:30am Group arrives, have group leader divide into groups
9:00am Introductions, Agenda for the day, safety, expectations
9:15am Start learning stations:  Tie Knots, PFD race, Casting a fishing pole, Cast netting, touch tank, fish id…etc.
Rotate every 15 minutes by blowing a whistle
10:30am Board boats and fish
Noon:  Arrive back to dock for lunch, ice cream and prizes
12:30pm Thank sponsors give out prizes, take group picture.

J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR
Park Ranger Toni Westland  239/472-1100 x236

Youth Fishing events are held quarterly on the refuge.  Held at refuge concession, on Tarpon Bay, they supply the boats,
live bait, and fishing poles.  Local restaurant and ice cream supplier provided the hotdogs and dessert.  Ideal group size is 30. 
6 per boat.  5 Skill Stations:  casting, knot tying, touch tank (learn creatures under water), PFD race, cast netting.

READING in the REFUGE/Story time & Craft Hour

Reading In the Refuge

This program is designed for Pre-k children, families, homeschoolers, and daycares. 
Children and families attend and learn about different creatures found in the wildlife refuge. 
Different subjects each week.


How the program works:
First:  Read a story,
Second:  Conduct a program with tangible creatures,
Third:  Make a craft to take home. 
*Each student is asked to share their creation with another person and teach them about the importance of that wildlife.

Program examples YOU can use!
How to promote Reading in the Refuge-Press Release


BiT Logo

Welcome to the Biologist-in-Training Program. This exciting program is designed to guide students through a fun, hands-on exploration of exotic habitats.

Fourteen National Fish Hatcheries and six Fisheries Resource Offices across the Southeast offer BiT program materials to groups and individuals at no cost.

This program can be easily completed anywhere water flows, not just fish hatcheries.

The BiT activity booklet includes five fun interactive activities, students are eligible to receive an official BiT certificate and patch or sticker!
For more details visit the BiT website.



Mommy/Daddy and Me

This program is a type of family hike but developed specifically for pre-school aged children. Stroller-aged children and their parents are invited to the refuge for a hike and scavenger hunt. This is a good way for stay at home Mommy/Daddy’s to network and make friends. This simplistic hike creates fun exploration for families along a refuge trail. This basic scavenger hunt teaches colors, numbers, shapes, movement etc.  The park ranger, volunteer, or guide, leads the group helping find and identifying basic nature objects. Families work together and everyone is given a prize at the end of the hunt.

Toni Westland/USFWS
Family on Beach Hike

Family Beach Hikes

Design and execute a 1 hour family beach walk on your refuge lands.  Make sure families have water, hats, sunscreen to meet their basic needs.  Start out identifying common sea creatures and give interesting facts about them.  Have the families hold the animals and talk about their importance in the environment.

Head out to the beach and have them find and identify the local shells and creatures.  If you can no identify the creatures, make sure you have a field guide/card for them to look it up.  This is a good way to sell books sold in your Friends bookstore.


Family I-Spy Hikes

These family hikes are held on Saturdays in the refuge.  Families caravan through the refuge, following a Park Ranger or volunteer naturalist.  As stops are made, the leader announces “I spy something…”  These are riddles that the families solve together.  If the families on the tour do not have binoculars, loaning them from the refuge is helpful.  This program can be used with out them with the I spy objects closer.  Handing out magnifying glasses for little objects to spy is fun also!

Alternative:  You can have the kids also “I spy..” to the group.  As the kids get more comfortable they will like to participate also.  This is a fun day to get them motivated about “spying” on nature and begin to develop their teaching skills!



Youth Photography Classes and Contests.

© Vandy Major
Youth Photo Contest

Photography Classes:

Conducting youth photography classes can be easily executed with inviting photography classes from schools.  These classes come already staffed with what makes a good picture.  Take this opportunity to teach the classes about the ethical wildlife photography before starting.  While teaching them about the native wildlife, they can take pictures of them. 

Photography Contest:
Have the students pick one entry to be in a photography contest and the tour conducted earlier in the refuge can help the students be able to identify the wildlife.  Find the judges to pick the top 3 entries.   Find sponsors to donate prizes for the top 3 winners.  Hold an award ceremony at the refuge of at the school.  Invite media to cover this event.

Alternative:  If a budget allows invite a famous photographer to your refuge to inspire and teach young students and the public about nature photography.  “Ding” Darling Refuge had Dudley Edmondson at their refuge in Oct 2008.  He traveled to a disadvantaged school, gave a public program at the refuge, and conducted a photography class for 2 schools through the refuge. 

Alternative:  Family Photography Contest.  Have them take pictures as a family and submit one entry, or have them IN the picture!  Have a contest where they can win prizes!

Last updated: March 5, 2009