PROVIDENCE, RI – This summer, have some fun in the sun by attending an educational program with the Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)! Connect with the outdoors and learn some new skills this summer; from fishing days to hunter education classes to guided walks, there's something for everyone. Join DFW's Aquatic Resource Education Program, Hunter Education Program, and Wildlife Outreach and Volunteer Program staff to learn, explore, and enjoy.
Most programs being offered this season are free of charge and open to families. A list of programs and registration information are listed below. For a complete list of up-to-date programs, click here.
AQUATIC RESOURCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Beginner Saltwater Fly Tying Date: Tuesday, July 18, and Tuesday, July 25 Time: 5-6:30 PM Location: Brownell Library, 44 Commons, Little Compton, RI Age group: Ages 10+ Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.gle/59XDrnYJvAE1LrSy8
Learn to tie saltwater flies for fly fishing in this beginner's class. No experience necessary! All materials and equipment provided. Pre-registration required.
Beginner Freshwater Fly Tying Date: Tuesday, August 24 Time: 6-7:30 PM Location: Greene Library, 179 Hopkins Hollow Road, Greene, RI Age group: Ages 10+ Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.gle/t1q7aYske1kd1GXY8
Learn to tie freshwater flies for fly fishing in this beginner's class. No experience necessary! All materials and equipment provided Pre-registration required.
HUNTER EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Learn to Hunt Date: Saturday, August 5 Time: 9 AM-3 PM Location: RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Office, 1B Camp E Hun Tee Place, Exeter Ages: 10+ Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.gle/7Bnm8bpGranYrNgVA
This comprehensive course touches upon all of the advanced hunter ed courses to help guide new hunters. Land navigation, wilderness first-aid, tree stands, ground blinds, trail carries and crossings with training firearms, and shoot-don't-shoot scenarios are all covered. Mainly outdoors, students should come prepared for a lot of hiking and bring a lunch, snacks, water, backpack, sunscreen, bug spray, and solid daylight florescent orange vests or hats if available. A limited supply of safety orange vests will be available to borrow. Class will be cancelled if extreme weather is predicted, otherwise expect class to take place if light to normal rain is forecast. Pre-registration required.
Bowhunter Safety Course Date: Saturday, August 19 Time: 8:30 AM-4 PM Location: RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Office, 1B Camp E Hun Tee Place, Exeter Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.office.com/g/sgGUkY2BMm
In a classroom setting you will learn about the basics of modern-day archery hunting and safe hunting practices in accordance with IHEA standards. This is a full day course and food options nearby are limited. Please plan ahead and pack lunch for a mid-day break. Drinking water, a microwave, toaster oven, refrigerator, and ADA-compliant bathroom will be available. Please note: There is a 50-question multiple choice test at the end of the class that is written to a sixth grade reading level. Bowhunter safety cards will be mailed out within five to 10 business days after successfully passing the written exam. Safety cards have reciprocity with all 50 states. In-state residents who have completed the online bowhunter curriculum DO NOT need to take this course, only schedule an in-person test. If classroom capacity is reached this form will be updated accordingly and participation granted based upon form submission date.
WILDLIFE OUTREACH PROGRAMS
Birds, Bees & Botany Date: Saturday, June 3 Time: 9-10:30 AM Location: Simmons Mill Management Area, Little Compton Age group: Adults, families with children ages 8 and up Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.gle/CbLXxpLGmDtwHpNJ7
Enjoy the glory of birdsong, buzzing bees, and the freshly leafed-out habitat of Simmons Mill Management Area! Join RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife staff to learn about Rhode Island's migratory birds and the efforts of the RI Breeding Bird Atlas 2.0. While looking and listening for birds, we'll also keep an eye out for bumblebees and other pollinators, and you'll get the scoop on how to get involved in our latest community science project helping RI's bees. We'll be pointing out important plants for birds and bees along the way, so you can learn how to create habitat right in your own backyard! This program is FREE, but registration is required and space is limited.
Summer Bat Night Date: Thursday, July 13 Time: 7:30-9 PM Location: Carolina Trout Hatchery, Richmond Age group: Adults, families with children ages 6 and up Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.gle/QntS1yoA1MZrUs3Q8
Bring the whole family together and join the DFW to participate in a bat colony count. Sit back, relax, and learn about RI's unique bat species and the conservation work being done to help these commonly misunderstood mammals. Kids are invited to make a bat craft before the bats take to the night sky! All participants are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and get comfortable as they count bats flying by — you could even win a bat house for your very own home! This program is FREE, but registration is required and space is limited.
Wildlife Solutions: Veggie Vandals Date: Wednesday, July 19 Time: 6:30-8 PM Location: HYBRID – In-person at the North Kingstown Free Library OR via Zoom Age group: Adults Cost: Free Register here: https://forms.gle/JkXnHhG4sLYNGXSF9
RABBITS, GROUNDHOGS and DEER: The bane of many gardeners' existence are these three critters. Half-eaten tomatoes and munched-on magnolias are enough to drive anyone to their wit's end. While these critters may seem impossible to manage, there are measures you can take to defend your garden. As frustrating as these fuzzy felons may be, they are important to Rhode Island's ecosystem, acting as valuable natural resources in our state. This session will give you tools to protect your garden and cover the rules and regulations for hunting and trapping on private property and highlight the New England Cottontail Project and Deer Program. This will be a HYBRID program in partnership with the North Kingstown Free Library. Join us in-person at the library or tune in from the comfort of your own home! This program is FREE, but registration is required so that we prepare materials and send Zoom links for those attending online.
Summer Dragon Hunt Date: Saturday, July 29 Time: 10-11:30 AM Location: Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area, West Kingston Age group: Adults, families with children ages 8 and up Cost: Free Registration: https://forms.gle/2HkTYrL9FTEFXB719
In the swampy wilds of Rhode Island, there be dragons! Join DEM Wildlife Outreach staff and special guests, Virginia (Ginger) Brown and Nina Briggs, on a summer "dragon hunt" in the Great Swamp. Ginger and Nina will be sharing their wealth of knowledge on RI's dragonflies and damselflies, as well as their experience collecting data to write and illustrate their lovely book, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Rhode Island. Be prepared to learn a lot and have fun! This program is free to attend, but space is limited and registration is required
Birds, Bees, & Botany Date: Saturday, August 5 Time: 9-10:30 AM Location: Cumberland Public Library, The Monastery Age group: Adults, families with children ages 8 and up Cost: Free Registration: Contact Michelle Jorgensen, Cumberland Public Library, email@example.com
Enjoy the glory of birdsong, buzzing bees, and native plants along the trails at The Monastery! Join DFW staff to learn about Rhode Island's migratory birds and the efforts of the RI Breeding Bird Atlas 2.0. While we look and listen for birds, we'll also keep an eye out for bumblebees and other pollinators, and you'll get the scoop on how to get involved in our latest community science project helping RI's bees. We'll be pointing out important plants for birds and bees along the way, so you can learn how to create habitat right in your own backyard. This program is FREE, but registration is required and space is limited.
Herp Observer Securely submit your sightings of frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes and turtles to RI's State Herpetologist (reptile and amphibian biologist) through our easy-to-use smartphone app, Herp Observer. Observations of species both common and rare are welcome. Your reports will help biologists identify where these animals are in the state, and in turn, where to focus conservation efforts for RI's scaley and slimy critters. This is a great volunteer opportunity for families! Learn more at www.dem.ri.gov/herpobserver.
RI Wild Bee Observer Want to help protect the bees of Rhode Island? Join the Division of Fish and Wildlife as a community scientist by contributing to our RI Wild Bee Observer project through the free iNaturalist app. It's an easy way to document bee species anywhere in RI, from your neighborhood to your favorite hiking spot. This is a great volunteer opportunity for families! For project instructions, including tips for taking photos of bees, follow this link: https://dem.ri.gov/media/63796/download.
For more information on DEM programs and services, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), Facebook, or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem and @ri.fishandwildlife) for timely updates.