Spring is Springing - Learn Something New with the DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife! Published on Monday, March 06, 2023 PROVIDENCE, RI – With the longer days and busy sounds of springtime upon us, the Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has a whole new lineup of fun, educational programs for Rhode Islanders. Connect with the outdoors, learn new hunting and fishing skills, or put your peepers on some spring peepers in a nighttime “swamp stomp.” 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 this season are offered free of charge and open to families. Pick from the choices below or click here for more information. DFW staff also ask adults and teenagers who love the outdoors to consider making a difference by volunteering. Volunteers play a vital role in helping DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife meet its conservation goals. AQUATIC RESOURCE EDUCATION PROGRAMS Kids’ Fly Fishing Day Date: Saturday, April 15 Time: 9 AM-3 PM Location: Addieville East Farm, Mapleville Age Group: Ages 10+ Cost: Free Registration: Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, please contact Kimberly Sullivan at email@example.com or 401-539-0037. The Division of Fish and Wildlife will be joining volunteers from Trout Unlimited, United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island, Rhody Fly Rodders, and other partner organizations in hosting the annual Kids’ Fly Fishing Day at Addieville East Farm. The all-day event is open for children ages 10 and up and offers instruction on how to tie their own flies and knots and properly cast a fly rod. Participants will then have an opportunity to fish the stocked pond. Children will need to be accompanied by an adult. The program is free of charge and lunch is provided courtesy of the partner organizations. Cinder Worm Workshop Fly Tying Dates & Times: Tuesday, May 2, and Tuesday, May 9, 6:30-8:30 PM Fly Fishing Date & Time: Saturday, May 20, 4 PM to dark Location: Charlestown Cost: Free Registration: Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, please contact Marisa Podbros at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-213-4400. The US Fish and Wildlife Services National Refuge System and DFW’s Aquatic Resource Education program will be teaming up to host the annual cinder worm workshop. It’s one of Rhode Island’s fascinating saltwater spring rituals. Participants will spend two evenings tying the cinder worm patterns and then have an opportunity to fish them at Ninigret salt pond in Charlestown. Volunteer instructors will be available to teach how to tie the flies and fly fish. Introduction to Fly Fishing Date: Saturday, June 3 Time: 9 AM-3 PM Location: Addieville East Farm, Mapleville Age group: Ages 10+ Cost: $30 per person Registration: Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, please contact Kimberly Sullivan at email@example.com or 401-539-0037. Have you ever pictured yourself on a rambling, peaceful stream in waders, confidently casting a fly rod to catch that elusive fish? Now is your chance to make it a reality. Join DFW’s Aquatic Resource Education program and learn how to fly fish. This introductory course covers the equipment you need, how to tie flies and knots, and how to cast. The workshop will conclude with an opportunity to fish a stocked pond. Lunch and equipment will be provided. Families with children over 10 are welcome. HUNTER EDUCATION PROGRAMS Bowhunter Education Date: Saturday, March 11 Time: 9 AM-3 PM Location: DFW Outreach Education Office, Exeter Age group: Ages 12+ Cost: Free Registration: Click here. This is the certification course for bowhunting in Rhode Island. Please note, in order to bowhunt in RI, participants must pass a state exam, which is a 50-question, multiple choice test at the end of the class that is written to a sixth grade reading level. A minimum age of 12 is required to purchase a junior hunting license in the State of Rhode Island. If you have already taken the online bowhunter education course and successfully completed it, you do not need this course, it is the same course content. Online students should schedule exams separately. Junior Hunter Education Date: Saturday, March 18 Time: 9 AM-6 PM Location: DFW Outreach Education Office, Exeter Age group: Ages 17 and under Cost: Free Registration: Click here. This course is for ages 17 and under with lots of hands-on activities, visual aids, and easy-to-understand lessons. This is the certification class that you need if you plan to hunt with firearms in Rhode Island. Open to youth hunters from all states, this course will provide a foundation for firearm safety, basic hunting techniques, basic survival and first-aid skills, ethics, conservation, and more. A state exam will be administered at the end of class. This national curriculum has reciprocity with all 50 states. Please note, course content and state exam are written to a sixth grade reading level and you must be at least 12 years old to obtain a RI hunting license. Learn to Hunt Date: Saturday, March 25 Time: 9 AM-5 PM Location: DFW Outreach Education Office, Exeter Cost: Free Registration: Click here. New to hunting? Need some guidance? The DFW Hunter Education staff are here to help you. Students will learn about wilderness first-aid scenarios, how to safely carry training firearms through the woods and around obstacles while maintaining safe muzzle control, tree stand setup and use, and how to 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. Hunter Education Dates: Tuesday, April 4, Wednesday, April 5, and Thursday, April 6 (must attend all dates) Time: 6-9 PM Location: DFW Outreach Education Office, Exeter Age group: Adults Cost: Free Registration: Click here. This is the certification course required to hunt with firearms in Rhode Island. Please note, there is an exam at the end of night written to a sixth grade reading level. All materials are provided. Hunter safety cards will be mailed out within seven to 10 business days after successfully passing the written exam. Safety cards have reciprocity with all 50 states. If you have already taken the online hunter education course and successfully completed it, you do not need to take this one; it is the same course content. Intro to Turkey Hunting Date: Saturday, April 15 Time: 9 AM-2 PM Location: DFW Outreach Education Office, Exeter Cost: Free Registration: Click here. This class is geared toward beginner turkey hunters or can be used as a refresher for experienced ones. Teamed up with the local chapters of National Wild Turkey Federation and experienced turkey guides, the DFW Hunter Education staff will host the annual Intro to Turkey Hunting workshop. Participants will learn how to look for signs and scout for wild turkey, where to best set up your hunting spot, the gear you will need, calling sounds of the turkey, and much more. Firearm Skills Workshop: Optic Mounting and Sighting In Date: Saturday, May 6 Time: 9 AM-to 12 PM Location: Great Swamp Shooting Range, West Kingston Cost: Free Registration: Click here. New to modern firearm optics or have new-to-you equipment you need help sighting in? Join DFW’s Hunter Education and Shooting Range staff for a short lecture and hands-on instruction about firearm sight setup and ballistic trajectories. Experienced DEM instructors and Range Safety Officers will provide small-group instruction and demonstrations. No Great Swamp Shooting Range permit is required for attendance. There will be live fire at this course. Basic firearm safety will be reviewed prior to range time. Eye and ear protection will be available to those who do not bring their own. This workshop is intended for those who will bring their own firearm, optics, and ammunition. Those who do not bring a firearm are welcome to learn and participate but will have very limited shooting time on rimfire rifles. WILDLIFE OUTREACH PROGRAMS Wolf Hill Spring Swamp Stomp Date: Saturday, April 1 Time: 6:30-8 PM Location: Wolf Hill Preserve, Smithfield Age group: Adults and families with children ages 8 and up Cost: Free Registration: Click here. Spring is springing and amphibians are on the move! Join us for an evening walk listening and looking for wood frogs, spring peepers, toads, and salamanders! As we search for these slimy creatures, you’ll learn about various DFW conservation projects aimed at helping our state’s amphibians, as well as ways you can get involved to help right in your own backyard. Please note, participants will not be entering any wetlands, and will be staying on the trail together as a group. This program is FREE to attend, but registration is required. Special thanks to the Smithfield Land Trust for partnering with us on this program! Sky Dance Night Date: Tuesday, April 11 Time: 7-8:30 PM Location: Arcadia Management Area, Exeter Age group: Adults Cost: Free Registration: Click here. Kick back, relax, and join the DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife to witness one of spring's most exciting events, the sunset "sky dance" of the American woodcock! While waiting for these quirky birds to begin their theatrical performance, you’ll learn about our collaborative research efforts with URI graduate students and young forest habitat conservation work. This event is free to attend, but registration is required. VOLUNTEER PROGRAM Herring Counts Looking for a relaxing activity this spring? Try your hand at herring counts! Volunteers are needed to help count fish as they move upstream during their annual spring migration. Counts only take 10 minutes and can be done at select DEM fish ladders around the state anytime from the beginning of April until the end of May. This is a great volunteer opportunity for families! For more information or to register, click here. Herp Observer Everyone is ready to enjoy the spring sunshine, including reptiles and amphibians! Securely submit your sightings of frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, and turtles to the RI 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 scaly and slimy critters. This is a great volunteer opportunity for families! Learn more here. 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. 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.