The Division of Fisheries & Wildlife offers a wide range of outdoor skills and wildlife education programs. With suitable lead time, programs can be adapted to the needs of virtually any group. More details about the programs can be found in the Education area of the DFW website at www.mass.gov/masswildlife.
Angler Education Program: Teaches people of all ages, especially children, about fish and their environment. The program focuses on freshwater fishing skills, basic safety techniques, outdoor ethics, and aquatic ecology through workshop sessions and family fishing festivals. For more information, call (508) 389-6309.
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: This program focuses on the learning of outdoor skills – skills traditionally passed from father to son – but valuable to anyone wishing to enjoy outdoor pursuits. Designed primarily for women, it is an opportunity for anyone 18 years of age or older who may have never tried these activities, but wants an opportunity to learn. A sampling of one day or weekend workshop offerings may include basic fishing, beginning shotgun, kayaking, map & compass, wildlife tracking, archery, pond and stream adventures, nature photography, fly tying, outdoor and game cooking, and edible plants. Workshop notices are sent by email and posted on www.mass.gov/masswildlife in the Education area. For more information, call (508) 389-6300.
Hunter Education Program: Provides courses in the safe handling of firearms, and other outdoor activities related to hunting and firearm use. Designed for novices, courses in Basic Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and others are offered statewide throughout the year. Certificates in certain courses satisfy hunting license requirements for Massachusetts as well as other states and Canadian provinces. For more information, call (978) 772-0693.
Mass. Junior Conservation Camp: A two week residential program for boys and girls ages 13–17 that provides a solid grounding in outdoor activities and skills. Participants learn about fisheries, wildlife, forestry, and camping, and gain proficiency in the use of shotgun, rifle, archery equipment, map and compass, and more. Participants also complete the state’s Basic Hunter Education and Boat Safety programs. Program is held in August. Phone (508) 389-6300.
Youth Pheasant and Turkey Hunt: Designed for Hunter Education graduates 12-17 years of age, these programs are supported by the Division and conducted by sporting clubs across the state. This program includes instruction on firearms safety in the field; safe, supervised shooting instruction and practice prior to a hunt; application of field techniques learned in the hunter education course; lessons on hunting ethics and behavior; training on hunting regulations and safety; and instruction on how to clean and prepare game. The program culminates in a safe, supervised hunt under the guidance of an experienced, responsible adult hunter. The youth pheasant hunts are conducted on one of the six Saturdays prior to the start of the regular hunting season. The youth turkey hunt, developed through a partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, allows for a mentored hunt on the Saturday prior to the last Monday in April. After completion of the pre-hunt workshop, a special permit will be issued to the participating youths that allows for a mentored hunt on the Saturday prior to the last Monday in April. This permit remains valid for the regular spring turkey season following the youth hunt date. To find a participating sporting club check the DFW website at www.mass.gov/masswildlife in the Education area or call (508) 389-6305.
THE MASSACHUSETTS OUTDOOR EXPOSITION
The Massachusetts Outdoor Exposition, or “The Big MOE” for short, is a one day, annual event, free to the public, designed to allow children and adults to sample a great variety of traditional outdoor sports. Produced by the nonprofit FAWN Society in cooperation with the DFW and many sportsmen’s and conservation organizations. The big MOE provides the opportunity to try various shooting and fishing sports, archery, game calling, mountain biking, kayaking, bird house building, rock climbing, and geocaching, and also offers hands-on instruction and displays in forestry, trapping, tree stand safety, pioneer encampments, tomahawk throwing, native reptiles, birds of prey, wildlife conservation, animal tracking, taxidermy, farm animals, arts and crafts, beekeeping, and much more. Typically held on the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club grounds in Sturbridge, MA, on the last Sunday in September, for up-to-date information please visit www.FawnsExpo.com.
Archery in the Schools: The National Archery in the Schools Program in Massachusetts is an archery program developed for educators to provide students in grades 4-12 with an exposure to a fun, alternative sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Taught primarily by physical education teachers, the program also includes social studies, mathematics and physics. This program is a partnership between the DFW, National Archery in the Schools, the Archery Trade Association and local sporting groups. Training is provided by the DFW to educators to various schools systems and some funding may be available for equipment. For more information, call (508) 389-6305.
Project WILD in Massachusetts: A national program of wildlife education workshops designed for educators of a wide range of ages, from pre-school to high school. Hours spent may be used toward professional development or other continuing education credit. Co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Wildlife Federation. For information on attending or hosting a workshop, call (508) 389-6310.
North American Conservation Education Strategy Resources (CE Strategy): An array of tools and resources developed by state fish and wildlife agencies support conservation educators who offer fish & wildlife based programs that guide students in grades K-12 on their way to becoming involved, responsible, conservation minded citizens. The CE Strategy delivers unified, research-based Core Concepts and messages about fish and wildlife conservation, translated into K-12 academic standards to shape students’ environmental literacy, stewardship and outdoor skills. Resources included in the tool kit include: landscape investigation, schoolyard biodiversity, field investigation, fostering outdoor observation skills, applying systems thinking, and much more. Download these free resources at www.fishwildlife.org; click on Focus Areas, then Conservation Education.
Junior Duck Stamp
The Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program ; Connecting Children with Nature Through Science and Art is a dynamic arts and science curriculum for educators designed to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl conservation to students in K-12. Using scientific and wildlife observation principles, the program helps students to visually communicate what they have learned by creating an entry to the state’s JDS contest. Guidelines & curriculum for students, educators, homeschool and non-formal groups designed to spark youth interest in habitat conservation through science, art, math, and technology can be downloaded at www.fws.gov/juniorduck. Co-sponsored by the USFWS and the Massachusetts Wildlife Federation. For more information, call (508) 389-6310.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.