Environmental Education
at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex

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The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex welcomes groups to take part in our environmental education programs. Programs/activities are available by reservation only and can take place at Sacramento NWR, Colusa NWR, Llano Seco Unit, or at your school. 

For Educators

2023-2024 Programs

Our Office/Visitor Center is currently CLOSED and under construction.  We are hoping to be moved in to the new building by late November or early December, 2023.  It will be a brand new, empty building that will eventually be filled with exciting educational and interactive displays, and will include a new Environmental Education Classroom, a Discovery Pond and Native Plant Garden.

Due to a lack of staff, it is unlikely there will be any ranger-led programs for the 2023-2024 season.  In the meantime, we hope to start rebuilding our programs and providing curriculum, materials and loaner binoculars to allow teachers to explore the refuge on a self-guided basis.

If you are interested in receiving updates or would like to schedule a self-guided visit, please download and fill out our Reservation Form and email to the refuge at sacramentovalleyrefuges@fws.gov.

Beyond 2023-2024 ... Information about bringing your Group to the Complex...

Educational activities are offered on-site from late October through February (limited rest of year). Free admission is offered to educational groups. The Complex can have up to 2 staff available to lead activities.

Plan Your Field Trip: 

  1. Programs Click here to check out our Educational Programs
  2. guidelines Click here to read our Field Trip Guidelines 
  3. Reservation Form Click here to submit a Reservation Form (email form to sacramentovalleyrefuges@fws.gov)
  4. FUNDING - If you are in need of funding to cover your busing costs (through your school) we may be able to help. Contact the refuge for information at 530-934-2801 or sacramentovalleyrefuges@fws.gov. Sponsored by Altacal Audubon Society and the refuge bookstore.

 Helpful Tips for Field Trips:

  • The Sacramento NWR is located in Glenn County about 10 minutes south of Willows. It is not in the city of Sacramento.
  • November‐February is the best time to view large flocks of waterfowl.
  • Have the students dress for the weather! Most of the activities take place outside. Dressing in layers and having durable footwear is recommended.
  • Carry‐In, Carry‐Out! Help the Complex by bringing your own garbage bags to carry out your lunch trash. Bring separate bags to place your recyclables in.
  • Every season the weather can be different! Often we can reschedule if there is heavy rain. Staff are weather resistant but sometimes we will cancel or alter a walk if very windy for safety of the students under the trees.

Learning Opportunities/Activities:

Grade 2What is a refuge?
.What should I bring?
.What wildlife lives on the refuge?
.Writing a story
.Post visit postcard
Grade 4Put this paragraph in order (Wetlands), answer sheet
.Put this paragraph in order (Waterfowl), answer sheet
.Post visit postcard
All-AgesVisitor Center and interpretive panels
.Discovery Room and diorama (see: Discovery Room Program Outline webpageWorksheet for 3rd-5th gradesWorksheet for 1st-2nd grades)
.Wildlife exhibits
.Educational videos
.Wetland Walk (see: Wetland Walk Program Outline webpageWetland Walk BrochureWetland Walk Map)
.Auto Tour and viewing platform

Other Links

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Sleuth K-12 Lesson Plans

 California Waterfowl - offers programs for schools in Sacramento and Yolo Counties

California Regional Environmental Education Communities (CREEC)
CREEC is is an educational project whose mission is to develop a communication network which provides educators with access to high quality environmental education resources to enhance the environmental literacy of California students.

Point Blue (formally Point Reyes Bird Observatory)
The PRBO is a non-profit organization with a mission to conserve birds and the environment using science to understand and find solutions to problems threatening wildlife populations and ecosystems.

Owl Pellets - learn about owls and their diet! The refuge can provide small quantities of unsanitized pellets straight from the wild for free. Here are some other organizations that offer them as well: Pellets Inc. and Acorn Naturalists.

For Kids

Junior Wildlife Ranger Booklet

The Junior Wildlife Ranger Booklet is available at the Visitor Center. Complete the booklet and earn a badge. Suggested ages 5-12. If working on it remotely or the visitor center is closed, contact us at sacramentovalleyrefuges@fws.gov to get your badge mailed to you. 

Junior Wildlife Ranger - Neighborhood Badge Program

Looking for a free hands-on activity to do with the kids in your life outside this summer? The first-ever neighborhood badge program awards youth 7 and up a badge for learning about environmental science and wildlife conservation. Complete all of their activities to earn all your badges! When you're done, scan the QR code to claim your digital badge. Learn More

California Junior Duck Stamp Program

Learn about the Junior Duck Stamp Program which is open for students in K-12th grade. Learn about ducks, geese, and swans and draw what you have learned to win prizes. Learn more.

Free Virtual Programs

Check out some of our past programs on Facebook: