Don't Let Winter's Cold Stop You From Chillin' in the Outdoors - Sign up for a DEM Outdoors Course

Published on Thursday, November 09, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has another season of great winter programs scheduled to connect Rhode Islanders with our state’s beautiful natural resources. From fly tying to wild game cooking classes to bird watching, there’s something for everyone. DFW’s Aquatic Resource Education, Hunter Education, Wildlife Outreach and Volunteer programs have planned a schedule with plenty of opportunities to learn about Rhode Island’s fish and wildlife resources or to try out a new outdoor skill. Most of the programs being offered this winter are free of charge and family friendly.

A list of programs and registration information are listed below. For a complete list of up-to-date programs, click here.


Annual Fall Fly Tying

Winter is coming and that is a great time to fill your fly-fishing tackle box. For six consecutive Tuesdays throughout November and December, the DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education Program, along with instructors from Rhode Island fishing clubs will be teaching beginning and intermediate fly-tying techniques for both freshwater and saltwater systems. Each session is independent of the others, so join us for one or all. Families with children aged 10 or over are welcome. While walk-ins are welcome, pre-registration is preferred. The cost is $5/person per class or pre-register for all six classes at $25/person.

  • Dates: Nov. 14, 21, 28 and Dec. 5, 12, 19
  • Time: 6-8 PM
  • Location: North Kingstown Community Center, North Kingstown
  • Cost: $5.00/per person/session
  • To register: Contact Kimberly Sullivan for registration and materials:

Teacher Training: Project Wet

Calling all Rhode Island grade K-12 teachers! Join DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education for a fun-filled training focused on activities from the nationally recognized Project WET 2.0 environmental education activity guide. Each activity is correlated to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Core Curricula state standards and can easily be integrated into your classroom. Once the training is complete, you will receive the Project WET 2.0 guide, access to the Project WET on-line portal and other educational materials that you can integrate into your classroom. Materials are free and lunch is included.

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 9
  • Time: 9 AM - 3 PM
  • Location: DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Office, Exeter
  • Cost: FREE, lunch included
  • To register: Contact Kimberly Sullivan for registration and materials:


Wild Game Cooking Class

DEM is hosting a wild game cooking class featuring Chef Andy Lussier of Culinary Connections. Lussier will share tips and techniques designed to help participants learn how to prepare sustainable and local meals that utilize wild game. Some of the health benefits of wild game are the high protein content, a lower fat level than domesticated beef, and high amounts of iron and zinc. Participants will learn how to process and store wild game, along with special handling and cooking techniques. Lussier will prepare several recipes during the class, with participants being able to sample each dish.

Local author, Kim Ragosta, will also join the class to talk about her newly published cookbook “Little House in the Forest.” This one-of-a-kind cookbook offers an eclectic collection of farm-fresh recipes, with a chapter highlighting cooking with game meat. The cookbook celebrates cooking with local and seasonal foods and will be available for purchase via cash, check, Venmo, or credit card.

  • Date: Saturday: Jan. 20, 2024.
  • Time: 12 - 3 PM
  • Location: Wallum Lake Rod & Gun Club, Burrillville
  • Cost: This program is free, but registration is required.
  • To register: Contact Space is limited and available on a first come first serve basis.

Intro to Firearms

In a classroom setting you will learn about the basics of modern-day firearms and how to safely operate them. Discussions will include a breakdown of all the different types of firearm actions, ammunition, accessories, proper cleaning guidelines, safe storage, and personal protective equipment recommendations. Experienced DEM Hunter Education instructors will provide examples and model each firearm. Hands-on learning will be allowed and encouraged; however there will be no live fire or live ammunition at this course. Please do not bring personal firearms or ammunition. Contact: Branton Elleman at or (401) 575-6331.

  • Date: Feb. 25, 2024
  • Time: 8:30 AM - 1 PM
  • Location: DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Office, Exeter
  • Cost: Free
  • Register here:


Wildlife Solutions: Nocturnal Nuisances 

COYOTES, FOXES and FISHERS: Nocturnal mammals are greatly misunderstood, most of their fear-instilling actions are simply a part of their life-history and strategy for survival. Still, these critters can certainly become a nuisance, especially when they begin to den under decks and dine out of chicken coops. Learning why these creatures behave the way they do is the key to finding resolution. This session will help you identify what is attracting these animals to your yard, and how to make your property less hospitable. Learn about the discoveries made by the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study and see what we have already learned through the collaborative Fisher Project with URI. This will be a HYBRID program in partnership with the East Smithfield Public 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 can prepare materials and send Zoom links for those attending online.   

  • Date: Jan. 11, 2024 
  • Time: 6 - 7:30 PM 
  • Location: HYBRID – In-person at the East Smithfield Public Library OR via Zoom 
  • Cost: Free 
  • Age group: Adults 
  • Register here: 

Wild Winter Tracking 

Walk in a winter wonderland as you search for signs of wildlife in Arcadia Management Area! Join DFW staff for a fun morning learning about Rhode Island’s mammals and how we are studying their populations in our state. There will be a trail camera demonstration, a walk in the woods to search for tracks and other clues, and fun crafts and activities for kids. This program is FREE to attend, but registration is required.  

  • Date: Jan. 27, 2024 
  • Time: 10 AM - 12 PM 
  • Location: DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Education Office, Exeter 
  • Cost: Free 
  • Age group: All ages welcome 
  • Register here: 

Come Birding with Me!  

Looking for a fun February activity? Join us for a family-friendly birdwatching adventure on the shoreline this winter! Learn about the beautiful sea ducks that spend their winter along RI's coastline each year and how DFW and our research partners are studying their populations. Binoculars and spotting scopes will be available to borrow, so everyone can get a close look at these unique birds! This program is FREE to attend, but registration is required.

  • Date: Feb. 24, 2024 
  • Time: 10 - 11:30 AM 
  • Location: Beavertail State Park, Jamestown 
  • Cost: Free 
  • Age group: All ages welcome 
  • Register here: 

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates. Follow DFW on Facebook and Instagram (@ri.fishandwildlife) to stay up to date on news, events and volunteer opportunities. You can also subscribe to DFW’s monthly newsletter here.