PROVIDENCE, RI: Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will be hosting lots of fun, nature-based educational programs all autumn long. From family bird watching and hunter education classes to a beautiful guided outdoor walk, there's something for everyone. Join DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife's Aquatic Resource Education, Hunter Education, and Wildlife Outreach staff to learn about Rhode Island's fish and wildlife resources or to try out a new outdoor skill this fall!
Most of the programs being offered are free of charge and family-friendly. Visit our website for a complete list of up-to-date programs. A list of programs and registration information are listed below:
HUNTER EDUCATION PROGRAMS Firearms Familiarization (Ages: 10+, Parent/guardian required to be in attendance for participants under 18) Are you interested in hunting or target shooting, but don't know where to start? Designed for beginners, in this course you'll learn about the six actions of firearms, ammunition, storage, transport, safety, and more!
Date: Saturday, Sept. 17 Location: Hope Library, 374 North Road, Hope, RI Time: 10 AM- 2PM Registration: Register here. Cost: Free
Learn to Hunt '22 (Ages: 10+, Parent/guardian required to be in attendance for participants under 18) New to hunting? Need some guidance? We're here to help you! Students will be split into groups and assigned an instructor to assist with activities. Each group will be given coordinates to find their own hunting camp, hike to the destination, while encountering some surprise wilderness first-aid scenarios. Students will learn to safely carry training firearms through the woods and around obstacles while maintaining safe muzzle control. At the camp, the group will work together to build a natural ground blind and setup a provided tree stand. Everyone will sit through a simulated hunt while discussing various aspects of what they should be observing. Finally, students will follow a blood trail to a downed 3-D animal where they will learn what to do after the shot as well as field dressing techniques. All equipment provided, please do not bring your own firearms or ammunition. Students should come dressed for a day outdoors involving on and off trail hiking and sitting for long periods of time. Indoor bathrooms are on site as well as a refrigerator and microwave. Please bring bug spray, lunch and snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. Class is rain or shine unless severe weather is predicted, in which participants will be notified.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 15 Location: RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Office, 1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place, Exeter Time: 10 AM- 5 PM Registration: Register here. Cost: Free
WILDLIFE OUTREACH PROGRAMS Rhode Island Coverts Workshop (Ages: Adults) Are you interested in creating wildlife habitat on your own land? The RI Coverts Workshop is a great place to start! This workshop will provide you with background info on wildlife habitat, ecological concepts, and forest management practices that you can apply at a smaller scale. You'll meet professionals from various organizations to learn how to help wildlife on your property, and will take a field trip to see past participants' habitat projects! Staff from DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife and DEM's Division of Agriculture and Forest Environment will be joining the lineup of speakers for this awesome workshop, in partnership with the RI Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the University of Rhode Island!
Date: Saturday, Oct. 15 Location: Canonicus Camp and Conference Center, 54 Exeter Rd, Exeter, RI Time: 8 AM-4 PM Registration: Call Paul Dolan at 401-500-0399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost: $20 (includes materials and lunch)
Nature on the North Branch (All ages) Division of Fish and Wildlife is teaming up with the Pawtuxet River Authority and Watershed Council for a morning of fall nature fun! Our RIDEM Wildlife Outreach staff will be leading a family bird walk and will be sharing information about the RI Breeding Bird Atlas 2.0. There will also be nature crafts and other fun activities for the whole family. Questions? Contact PRATakeFiveChallenge@gmail.com.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 22 Location: 2 Lincoln Ave, Coventry, RI 02816 (at the Phenix-Harris Riverwalk) Time: Birding at 9 AM, craft drop-in or walk 10 AM – 12 PM Registration: Register here. Cost: Free
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM Summer Deer Survey (All ages) DEM biologists are collecting reports of does (females), bucks (males) and fawns (young) across Rhode Island until the end of September! Observations can be submitted through the Survey123 app on your smartphone or home computer. Data from this survey provides information, such as fawn to doe ratios and reproductive success, which will help guide management decisions that support a healthy deer herd in the state. Photos are optional but recommended where possible.
Date: Aug. 1- Sept. 30 Report Wildlife Sightings: www.dem.ri.gov/reportwildlife
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.