Center for Wildlife
Environmental Education and Outreach Programs

Re-Connecting People to Wildlife and Nature...Junior Scientists Explore Vernal Pools

Center for Wildlife's mission extends to educating our community (particularly children) about wildlife ecology, human impacts on wildlife and critical ecosystems, and stewardship in a region facing intense pressure from development and population growth. Our education and outreach programs offer an opportunity for Project WILD educators, live animal ambassadors, hands-on materials, and displays to foster the natural connection between people and wildlife, inspiring the conservationist within.



Freyja Standing TallCenter for Wildlife’s exciting team of live, non-releasable wildlife “ambassadors” trained for presentation to audiences (including owls, hawks, falcons, Virginia opossum, big brown bat, turtles and snakes) offer a unique opportunity to “bring lessons to life” and see local wildlife up close and personal. Who can better explain that roads and development can lead to wildlife road mortality than an amazing peregrine falcon that has been hit by a car? What better way to dispel myths and fears about bats and share their imperative roles in local ecosystems, human health, and agriculture than for children and adults to meet a rehabilitated big brown bat named Brownie?

Our team currently presents over 225 programs to schools, libraries, garden clubs, senior centers, state parks, and more each year.

Please follow the links below to browse our many options and find a program for your group, scroll down to view our Frequently Asked Questions and popular themes, or click here for a sneak peak video to learn more!

borderThank you Letter and ArtworkWhat Are People Saying About CFW’s Programs?

“…what a great and knowledgeable speaker! Thank you for giving us all a day to remember.” – 3rd grade teacher from Kittery, ME

“Thank you for teaching me owls have feathers on their feet like socks. I hope to see you next year!!!” – 1st grade student from Portsmouth, NH

“Foresters are frequently asked by their clients about what appears to be injured or abandoned wildlife…you do a great job of explaining the practical side of the business” –Professor of Forest Technology at University of New Hampshire
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Frequently Asked Questions

Which Programs Do You Offer?

The CFW offers 11 different themed programs which can be tailored to groups of all ages, learning abilities and interests. Please follow this link for a list and description of our themed programs. We also love to design programs unique to your group! Our educators have extensive knowledge, backgrounds, and degrees in wildlife ecology, habitats and natural history; wildlife tracking; wildlife health and many more topics. If you are interested in creating a unique program for your group, our Education and Outreach Coordinator will work with you to build one!

How Do I Book a Program for My Group?

If you are booking for a school, please fill out as much information as possible on our “Program Inquiry” form and submit to our Education and Outreach Coordinator, Emily, at coordinator@yorkcenterforwildlife.org. We recommend giving at least 3-4 weeks in advance for best availability. This form will be reviewed and our Education and Outreach Coordinator will contact you in 2-3 business days to schedule your program! All other groups, please follow the link above for your group to see details on booking and program offerings!

How Much Does It Cost?

We offer many different programs and opportunities, and pricing is based on length of program, distance travelled, number of educators needed, etc. As a non-profit organization which receives no state or federal funding all of our proceeds go directly toward staff time, care for our ambassadors, and our work treating injured and orphaned wildlife. Program fees generally start at $150 per 1-hour program with a 0.55 per mile travel fee. We do our best to accommodate each program request and financial situation. You can feel good that each program booked goes towards saving native wildlife!

How far do you travel?

Due to the sensitivities of our wild animal ambassadors, we are unable to travel more than 1.5 hours away from Cape Neddick, ME.

How Do I Prepare My Group for a CFW Program?

Our programs offer a special opportunity to learn about and view wildlife up close. Our educators work to stay up-to-date with curriculum standards, best-practices and wildlife research, and we always love to see an engaged and active audience! We offer pre- and post-visit lesson plans to help you prepare for your visit and stewardship challenges to keep your group involved in wildlife conservation! We also encourage a discussion with your group around the sensitive nature of wild animals. Our wild animal ambassadors are trained and comfortable with presenting to groups of people, but still experience stress from noise and fast movement. To keep our ambassadors, handlers and audience safe and comfortable we encourage hand-raising and limited movement during our programs.

Should I Book an Off-Site or On-site Program?

Both our off-site and on-site programs offer a unique and inspiring look into the wild animal world and are great opportunities for learning. Benefits of an on-site program include the use of our “vernal pool trail”, a live ecosystem ready to explore, the chance to talk with a Wildlife Specialist, and the chance to see a wildlife medical center in action*.

*Due to the sensitive nature of recovering wild animal patients, our medical clinic facilities are not on public display. A place-based program will give students the chance to see our education facilities and the potential to see a not-in-use medical clinic enclosure or speak with our medical staff.

*Educators click here for pre- and post-visit lesson plans and stewardship challenges!

Program   Description

*New: Build A ProgramFreya on Kairn

 


If you don't see a program that fits your needs below, we would be happy to build a program for you! We can customize material for any age or audience incorporating wildlife, ecology, conservation, biology, seasonal adaptations, physiology, and more! Popular themes include Springtime Vernal Pools, Raptor Migration, Bird Biology, and many other concepts.

**New: Seasonal Wildlife Adaptations
Gracie in the Snow

 

Native wildlife have amazing adaptations they use to survive extreme cold, heat, wind and other elements. With assistance from live raptors, reptiles and mammals, we will examine the special tools for surviving the New England seasons such as an owl’s feathered talons or hibernation and migration. Educators will focus on seasonal wildlife and their adaptations as well as tips on spotting and helping local wildlife.

*New: "Wild Friends in Wild Places" Field Trip at Wells ReserveWild Friends in Wild Places

 

Specifically for grades K-2, groups up to 30 students. Meet wildlife ambassadors and educators from the Center for Wildlife at Wells Reserve! Students will learn about native wildlife and their behaviors, characteristics, and life needs. Then, students will venture outdoors on a guided walk by Wells Reserve docent naturalists, with nature journals to explore the habitats of the Wells Reserve while searching for animal homes and signs. This field trip lasts 2 to 3 hours and is offered by appointment on Wednesdays. Reservations must be made through Wells Reserve (207) 646-1555, ext 110.

Grant funded scholarships are availabe for this program only. Click here for a financial aid application.

Owls: Silent Hunters
of the Night

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Our beautiful owl ambassadors show off their adaptations for night hunting.  Learn about the variety of New England species, their habitats, diets, calls, and tips on how to spot them in the wild.  Educators will also focus on their importance in balancing prey populations, current challenges, and how to help.  

Raptors and Reptiles: Adaptations and Tools
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With assistance from live raptors and reptiles, we will examine how these animals use special "tools" and adaptations for survival, such as the hawk's talons, the turtle's shell, and the snake's tongue.  What kind of equipment do they need to hunt and hide?  Are they nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular?  Carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores?  Are they really ruthless killers or delicate ecosystem balancers?  Raptors and Reptiles will answer these questions and more.

Animals and Adaptations: An Interactive Lab
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  Raptors, reptiles, and mammals catch prey, stay warm, and raise young all without the clothing or houses like humans have, how do they do that?  Students will learn about the special tools and adaptations that animals have that make them different from us and from each other. They will also get an introduction to the different families of birds and how to recognize them.  We combine live animals and an interactive lab to illustrate this as well as to build basic scientific observational skills.

Maine Birds of Prey
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What is the difference between a hawk and a falcon?  Do we have vultures in Maine?  What is our smallest owl? What is our largest hawk?  Where do they live?  Using live birds, posters, and hands-on materials, we will discuss the kinds of birds of prey found in Maine, their habitats, habits, place in the food chain, and why we need to protect them.

Raptors, Reptiles and Mammals, oh my!
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Focusing on animals that live in Maine, we will provide an in-depth introduction to the unique differences between raptors, reptiles, and mammals.  Do snakes have fur?  Do rabbits have scales?  Are birds "cold-blooded"?  Why do opossums have pouches?  How do each of these animal groups adapt to our changing seasons?  Using live animals and interactive displays, the answers to these and other questions will be revealed.

Nocturnal Animals
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A wonderful introduction to Maine’s creatures of the night.  How does a bat find thousands of tiny mosquitoes in the dark?  Why would a bear choose to lumber around at night?  How does a porcupine defend himself against a predator? Using live animals and hands-on materials we will answer these questions and find out how nocturnal mammals utilize all of their senses to find food and shelter at night.  Our live animals will also demonstrate some unique adaptations these animals have.

Endangered Species
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How does an animal become endangered?  Do we have endangered species in Maine?  What can we do to prevent animals from becoming endangered? With assistance from our live raptors and reptiles we will answer these questions and more.  One of our wildlife ambassadors will help us to tell the story of a species that was critically endangered but through awareness and conservation is on the road to recovery.  This program is designed to raise awareness of our effects on wildlife and inspire the conservationist within.

We are all Connected: Animals, Plants,
and People

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Do gray squirrels really help to build our forests?  Can the motor oil from my car really end up in a wetland?  Can we thank warblers and other birds for eating those pesky ticks?  Live animals, hands-on materials, and an interactive display will answer these questions and show us that everything is indeed connected.  Students will learn about the food web, habitats, and ecosystems as well as our role in this delicate balance.

Bats! Friends in
the Night Sky

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  Who is the only flying mammal that uses sonar technology similar to a submarine, eats 1000 mosquitoes in one hour, and whose cousins help to plant and pollinate the Tropical Rainforest?  Maine’s big brown bat!  There are over 986 species of bats in the world, each helping to balance the ecosystem in which they live.  Learn about our native bat species and many others in our bat program.  Using live animals, stunning visuals from Bat Conservation International, hands-on materials, and puppets, we will learn about these gentle creatures.  Discover their natural history, importance to the ecosystem and planet, current challenges that they face, and tangible actions that we can take to protect these allies in the night.


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