Education & Field Trips

No matter the age of the child, the subject matter being presented, or the experience of the teacher, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful destination to teach and inspire. Just 20 minutes north of the Interstate 5 bridge, the Refuge uniquely offers opportunities for both environmental and cultural education to students of all ages.

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Field Trips 2018

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In light of our changing community and the increased need of educators to be supported through new learning standards, we have decided that this is a perfect time to evaluate and revise our education programs. We have been doing much of the same thing for a decade now and know that we can serve you and your students better.

In order to engage educators and their support staffs while still offering programming throughout the year, we will be making small changes as we go. Please keep posted to this website or contact us to be put on our list for updates. We look forward to engaging you in this process!

If you have further questions after reviewing this website or want to be put on our contact list, send inquiries to RidgefieldEducation@fws.gov.

As part of a pilot program to be more equitable to our surrounding communities we are offering in classroom presentations to elementary grades every Thursday in February and March. We hope this will make our programming available for those schools that are not able to attend an on-site trip.  In order to serve as many students as our resources allow, classrooms that participate in this program will not be eligible for an on-site guided field trip in the same school year.

*Middle and high school teachers interested in classroom programs please contact the Refuge directly.
Application Period: January 1st through January 31st OR UNTIL FILLED
Applications will only be accepted through our online form here.

 

Activity Choices: 

Lower Columbia River Chinookan Trade Art

The overarching theme of this activity is to guide students in understanding how culture is impacted by location in the natural environment and give students a sense of place. Focusing specifically on Chinookan peoples of the Lower Columbia River, this activity connects topics of Indigenous culture and trade to the natural geography, weather, and geology of the Pacific Northwest. Students first explore the natural landscape of our region and how differences impact what natural resources are available to humans over a changing landscape. In the second portion, students will be grouped together to represent unique populations of Chinookan peoples and will trade resources specific to each geographical region on the river. Students will also get a brief introduction to Chinuk Wawa, an indigenous trade language that is still spoken today.

Salmon Lifecycle and Mineral-based Pigment Painting 

The overarching theme of this activity is connecting students to the idea that one resource can have multiple uses for a culture and how art is an important communication tool. This activity focuses on connecting the life cycle of salmon to the Indigenous art of the Lower Columbia River. Students participate in an interactive introduction exploring salmon development from egg – to fry – to fish and their their travels from the Columbia River, to the open sea, and back again.  After an introduction to specific Chinookan art motifs the students get to participate in the Chinookan practice of using salmon eggs as the binder for their mineral based paints and create their own original artwork.

Classroom Visits

As part of a pilot program to be more equitable to our surrounding communities we are offering in classroom presentations to elementary grades every Thursday in February and March. We hope this will make our programming available for those schools that are not able to attend an on-site trip.  In order to serve as many students as our resources allow, classrooms that participate in this program will not be eligible for an on-site guided field trip in the same school year.

*Middle and high school teachers interested in classroom programs please contact the Refuge directly.
Application Period: January 1st through January 31st OR UNTIL FILLED
Applications will only be accepted through our online form here.

 

Activity Choices: 

Lower Columbia River Chinookan Trade Art

The overarching theme of this activity is to guide students in understanding how culture is impacted by location in the natural environment and give students a sense of place. Focusing specifically on Chinookan peoples of the Lower Columbia River, this activity connects topics of Indigenous culture and trade to the natural geography, weather, and geology of the Pacific Northwest. Students first explore the natural landscape of our region and how differences impact what natural resources are available to humans over a changing landscape. In the second portion, students will be grouped together to represent unique populations of Chinookan peoples and will trade resources specific to each geographical region on the river. Students will also get a brief introduction to Chinuk Wawa, an indigenous trade language that is still spoken today.

Salmon Lifecycle and Mineral-based Pigment Painting 

The overarching theme of this activity is connecting students to the idea that one resource can have multiple uses for a culture and how art is an important communication tool. This activity focuses on connecting the life cycle of salmon to the Indigenous art of the Lower Columbia River. Students participate in an interactive introduction exploring salmon development from egg – to fry – to fish and their their travels from the Columbia River, to the open sea, and back again.  After an introduction to specific Chinookan art motifs the students get to participate in the Chinookan practice of using salmon eggs as the binder for their mineral based paints and create their own original artwork.

Spring 2018 Field Trips

Field Trips during the spring of 2018 will be offered in the months of May and June.  The month of April will be reserved for training volunteers so that your experience on-site is both accurate in its content as well as engaging to your students.

Up to three classes (max 90 students) can be accommodated each day, Tuesday through Friday.  Programs are NOT offered on Mondays.  Programs are free and reservations are taken on a first come first served basis.

Application period: February 1st through March 15th

Applications will only be accepted through our online form.  The link to the form will be available here during this time period only.

*Ridgefield School District Teachers – Please contact the refuge directly about current programming.

Teacher Orientation (REQUIRED)

As part of our education program improvements we are requiring one representative from each field trip day to attend an Orientation on one of the following days.  This is required for every school, no matter your involvement in field trips or training opportunities in the past.  Attendance to these events is good for three years. Orientation will include important logistics, expectations, potential activities and their content, and give educators a chance to give feedback and ask important questions.

Space is limited to please sign up at Ridgefiededucation@fws.gov for the first date you are available.

• January 27th

• February 25th

• March 24th

• March 31st

Opportunities for Learning on the Refuge

Any topic can be taught and inspired through nature. Use our trails as your outdoor classroom. We are happy to provide you with advice on creating an educational program that is age appropriate and geared toward your learning objectives.

Please do check to make sure that your activities are appropriate for the site before visiting and that there are no other schedule groups or maintenance that may inhibit your visit.

Learn More

Transportation Assistance Funds

Applications will be accepted after February 1st, 2018:

Each year, the Friends write grants and raise funds to support busing assistance for the schools and groups that visit the Refuge for educational field trips.

 

Educator Resources

We have a variety of resources to help educators plan their field trips or to add richness to classroom presentations. Explore these materials  on the Educator Resource page.

Common Questions

Most questions that you may have are located in the Educator’s Guide found in the Educator Resources section. However, here is an easy guide to some of the most common questions asked by groups.

Learn More

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