Friends of the MCRWR

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Field Trips to McNary National Wildlife Refuge

Friends volunteers & USFWS staff welcome students onto the campus of McNary’s Environmental Education Center in Burbank, WA to spend a few hours or an entire day experiencing nature in a way that will impact the rest of their lives. We coordinate, organize, and lead hands-on environmental education (EE) field experiences.  

April & May are our most popular months for schools to visit, and demand has far exceeded our capacity to serve every teacher wishing to bring their class. In the interest of fairness, we have gone to a lottery system for April & May trips.



Environmental Education Learning Stations (Closed for Spring 2017)

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9am – 2pm (depending on your needs)
2017 dates available:

April 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27

May 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30
Grades K-8,
Limit of 60 students / day
All materials provided

Program Description:

Students rotate through a series of 4 to 5 hands-on learning stations, with a lunch break in between sessions. A field journal accompanies each student throughout the day for recording their experience, then is taken back to school for further studies. Learning stations focus on such topics as:

  • The wildlife refuge system
  • Aquatic invertebrates
  • Shrub steppe & wetland ecosystems
  • Habitat restoration
  • Vertebrates
  • Birds, nests & feathers
  • Use of binoculars, microscopes & lenses

Nature Arts

Wednesdays, 9am – 1pm (depending on your needs)
2017 dates available:

April 5, 12, 19, 26

May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Grades 4 – 12,

Limit of one class per visit

Program Description:
All materials provided (notebook, paper, clipboard, media, tools)
Students spend the morning in two rotations: one group studies technique with an artist in the Education Center, the other group moves around the outdoor campus practicing sketching in the field. The groups swap places in midmorning. After lunch students assemble their notebooks and learn how to weave found materials into the notebook cover. A sharing circle is often follwed by a self-guided walk around the refuge to find more weaveable materials, depending on time. Resulting notebooks belong to the students.

Emphasis is on careful observation (micro & macro) and recording techniques in science notebook format. Teaching Artist Jenny Rieke teams with a variety of local visual artists to offer a different session each week, focusing on media ranging from pencil, pen & charcoal to water colors, pastels & native fibers. Students will study the flora & fauna of the shrub steppe & wetland habitats, interpreting their observations by practicing skills, techniques & expression.