Student Programs Starting Soon at Swan Island and Maine Wildlife Park
With school starting up again for countless students and teachers, now is the perfect time to make reservations for fall field trips to Swan Island and the Maine Wildlife Park. Both locations offer numerous wildlife programs and tours at affordable prices for students of all ages.
Swan Island is often called an ‘island from another century’ and the ‘island time forgot’. Listed on theNational Register of Historic Places, there are 6 homes dating back to 1763 that still stand along the central dirt road. There are 2 cemeteries, 10 log lean-tos, open fields, woods, wetlands and tidal mud flats. Wildlife abounds, from nesting bald eagles, to deer, wild turkeys, beaver, waterfowl, songbirds and more. This is a unique and educational field trip destination; either for a day; or for the more adventurous, an overnight camping trip your students will never forget! Combine human history with natural history in this unique and beautiful environment.
Full Scholarships for 200 students (a $5.00 per child value) are available NOW due to a generous grant from the Merrymeeting Bay Trust. Only teachers, parents, chaperones or bus drivers will require payment of the usual $5.00 pp fee!
A fall day trip to Swan Island in the Kennebec River off Richmond is a great way to bring a new class together, reunite an existing class, and learn a lot about Maine history and wildlife. The foliage is lovely and you will have the island to yourselves!
Preview the Island and download a teacher background and activity packet at:www.maine.gov/swanisland
Students enjoy a picnic during a trip to Swan Island. Photo credit: Lisa Kane
Wildlife and conservation education programs are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:00am. Students, teachers and chaperones must be ready to board the Swan Island boat by 9:30am sharp. All food and drink must be packed in, and trash packed out. You will be transported across the river, then in the open rack body pickup truck 1.5 miles to the campground. The wildlife programs are held in the 100 year old boathouse, and can accommodate up to 50 people. Wildlife Program topics include: Eagles, Owls & Osprey; Predators; Big Cats, Life and Death of a Small Maine Town; Maine State Symbols; Endangered & Threatened Species; Skins & Skulls; Owls & Pellet Dissection; and Busy Beavers. All programs begin with a short history of the island.
After the 1 hour program, students and teachers may eat lunch at the campground, take a quick hike on a nature trail, investigate the nearest cemetery and oldest house on the island, and enjoy the beauty of the Kennebec River. Your group will then be transported back to the boat landing, in time for your bus to make it back to school. The fees for Wildlife Programs are: $5.00 per person; and group size must be at least 15 people, with a maximum capacity of 60.
To make a reservation for your class, please call 287-5244 directly.
The Maine Wildlife Park, with its more than 30 species on exhibit, is always a big hit with students and fall is an especially great time to visit. That’s when moose and deer have huge sets of antlers, all the animals have grown in their winter coats, the fall gardens and foliage are lovely and it’s cool and crisp with no bugs.
Students listen to a wildlife education program at the Maine Wildlife Park. Photo Credit: Lisa Kane
The park, located on Route 26 in Gray, offers wildlife education classes and guided tours available by reservation throughout the week. In addition to live moose, bears, deer, bald eagles, hawks, owls, turtles, fish and more; there are interpretive signs, interactive displays, nature trails and wildlife gardens to round out this great wildlife experience for you and your students.
Download our free teacher activity packet from: www.maine.gov/ifw/education/
For self guided groups, use the popular free audio tour for more in depth wildlife information using your cell phones!
Wildlife and conservation education programs are offered by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife staff on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:00am and 11:00am in September and October. Topics include: Predators, Maine State Symbols, Native Turtles, Meet a Live Bald Eagle, Big Cats, Skins and Skulls, Amazing Adaptations, Owls & Owl Pellets, Wild Turkeys, Black Bears, Busy Beavers and more!
Program fees are an extremely reasonable $5.00 per person, and include general admission to the park. To reserve a date and time, please call 287-5244. A confirmation letter and packet of wildlife park information and activities will be mailed to you in advance. From 25 to 80 students may participate in any one program, depending on the topic.
Guided tours are for students in first grade and up, and are conducted by experienced and knowledgeable staff and/or volunteers. Tours can be scheduled Monday through Friday, and generally run for 1-1.5 hours. Reservations must be made by calling 287-5244. A confirmation letter will be mailed to you in advance. Fees for groups of 15 or more are $5.00 per person, and include general admission to the park. Up to 30 people (students, teachers and chaperones included) may participate in any one tour.
Come on your own: If you would prefer to simply visit the park on your own, the admission fees remain extremely affordable at $3.50 per person for a group of 15 or more; and no reservations are necessary. Download our FREE TEACHER PACKET from for educational activities to do at the park. There is plenty of parking and lots of room for busses, you and your students for a day at the park.
For more information about the park, go to www.mainewildlifepark.com.
For the fall 2012 schedule for both the Maine Wildlife Park and Swan Island, and for more information, please go to www.maine.gov/ifw/education/