Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge offers space for educators to conduct outdoor classroom activities in areas open to the public. Because Pierce, Franz Lake and Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuges in the Columbia River Gorge are closed to the public, educators are required to request a Special Use Permit before accessing or conducting activities on these refuges.
Click here to visit the Oaks to Wetlands Adventure – the educator’s website for Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
All groups planning to visit the refuge for a field trip are required to contact the refuge office at 360-887-4106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and make a reservation. Please download the 2013_2014 Refuge Educational Visit Packet, and send it to Josie.
Reservations are required to avoid conflicts with other groups. It is also recommended that educators or activity coordinators conduct a site visit prior to the scheduled field trip date to become familiar with refuge facilities, layout, and regulations.
If you are interested in applying for a transportation assistance scholarship, please fill out this Bus Transportation Assistance Application. The Friends will try to fund as much of your transportation costs as possible, but due to budget limitations may not be able to cover the entire cost of busing.
Field trip groups qualify for a fee waiver only if they are visiting the Refuge for educational purposes and integrating their field trip into a larger course of study that focuses at least partially on the natural or cultural environment.
The Refuges in the Complex do not have full time educators on staff, therefore guided tours are usually limited to when staff or refuge volunteers are available. Groups wishing to have a tour guide during their field trip must inform the refuge staff at the time the reservation is made. Being specific about tour information or topic(s) to be addressed during the trip will help determine who is selected as a knowledgeable guide. If a tour guide is not available, educators should be prepared to lead their own groups while on the refuge.
A Refuge Educator’s Guide is available to assist teachers and group leaders to prepare students for a visit to the refuge. It includes both indoor and outdoor educational lessons and projects. You may download a copy of the Refuge Educator’s Guide here as a pdf file – 4.6 MB.
Other resources include the Dusky Duffel backpacks which contain binoculars, field guide identification books and equipment, and lesson exercises that may be conducted in the field. Other publications are ususally available at no cost and include posters, coloring books, informational brochures, and flyers.
Periodically, teacher workshops are conducted on the refuge. Check the Ridgefield NWR web page for upcoming workshops.
For information about education and the cultural resources on Ridgefield NWR visit the Cultural Resources webpage for Ridgefield NWR (this takes you to the US Fish & Wildlife Service website) or visit the Cathlapotle Plankhouse website at www.plankhouse.org.
Special events including educational demonstrations and tours are offered periodically throughout the year. These events may be appropriate for educators to attend with their students. Please check the Special Events, Programs & Refuge News webpage for more information.