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Wildlife Outreach Program

  • birding
    Looking for birds at the Great Swamp Management Area.
  • buck hill
    A school group takes a closer look at wildlife habitat
  • RISD
    Public discussion on wildife in urban areas at RISD.
  • scouts
    A scouting group explores the outdoors!

The Division of Fish and Wildlife began our Wildlife Outreach Program in 2017. We serve students, families, hunters, and the public through a variety of unique, enjoyable programs. These programs provide participants with information about Rhode Island’s wildlife species and the work being done by our dedicated staff to protect, restore, and manage our state’s precious wildlife resources.

Wildlife Outreach Program COVID-19 Updates

The RIDEM Division of Fish & Wildlife Outreach Program has temporarily adjusted our program offerings to better support safety guidelines set forth by the State of Rhode Island to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, this means many of our in-person events have been suspended. To learn more about the current program offerings, including expanded distance learning resources, please review the list below:

Classroom Programs:

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the RIDEM Division of Fish & Wildlife Outreach Program will not be visiting classrooms this year. However, we are excited to announce the release of our Rhody Critter Kits! These new FREE educational resources are intended for formal and informal environmental education. In light of the current health crisis, we will only be releasing the online portion of these kits which includes Rhode Island specific background information, lesson plans, activities, and videos. Check back in September for details on our Critter Kits!

Virtual Programs:

As a temporary substitute for our in-person public programming, the Wildlife Outreach Program is offering virtual events through libraries and other institutions. If your organization would like to host a virtual program, please contact the Wildlife Outreach Coordinator at mary.gannon@dem.ri.gov.

Field Trips:

We have suspended our field trip program. We will be using this time to refocus our school involvement into a concrete, collaborative and improved field trip program. Stay tuned for updates next year!

In-Person Public Programs (Libraries, Scouts, etc.)

At this time, the RI Division of Fish & Wildlife Outreach Program will not be hosting any in-person programming to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. We encourage you to participate in our Virtual Program offerings.

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Rev. 10/5/20

COVID-19 ALERT

RI DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife offers a variety of public programming through the Hunter Safety Education, Aquatic Resource Education and Wildlife Outreach programs. Programs include hunter and bowhunter safety courses, safe and responsible fishing training, teacher training, and environmental education opportunities for Rhode Islanders of all ages.

View DFW Outdoor Education COVID-19 Control Plans

Critter Kits

Attention Educators!

The RIDEM Division of Fish & Wildlife is excited to introduce the Rhody Critter Kit Program! These FREE educational kits are designed for both formal and informal educators for grades K-8, but the resources can be adapted for any grade level.

Learn more
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Species Spotlight

AMERICAN WOODCOCK

Photo credit: Gerald Krausse

AMERICAN WOODCOCK (Scolopax minor)

HABITAT: American woodcock rely on a patchwork of different habitats that are located close together. They use young forest for breeding, wetlands and stream banks for feeding, and open fields for springtime mating displays.

FOOD: Woodcock use their long, flexible beak to probe in the mud for earthworms and other invertebrates like ants, snails, millipedes, spiders, and beetles.

FUN FACTS:

  • The American woodcock has many folk names, including timberdoodle, mudbat, Labrador twister, and bogsucker.
  • There are many videos of woodcock bobbing up and down, walking slowly while tapping their feet gently on the ground. This might seem like a funny way to walk. Some videos even have jazzy background music for comedic effect! However, this weird walk serves a purpose. It is thought that the bobbing and silly footwork actually serve to disturb worms in the soil, making them easier for the bird to find.
  • In the spring, male woodcock perform their annual "sky dance," sending out their buzzing "peent" calls at sunset, and then spiraling high into the air with a twittering of wings. It is amazing to witness!

Conservation Status in RI: The American woodcock is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Rhode Island. This species is popular among hunters and birders alike, but is experiencing declines across its entire range due to habitat loss. The Young Forest Project is a collaborative effort among Northeastern states to improve and create young forest habitat for woodcock and other species. To learn more about our work on this project, visit: https://youngforest.org

Contact Wildlife Outreach Program
Mary Gannon, Wildlife Outreach Coordinator
Great Swamp Headquarters
277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston 02892
Phone: (401) 789-0281
Mary.Gannon@dem.ri.gov