School Field Trips
Maine Wildlife Park
- Information about Field Trips to Swan Island
- Get directions
- Teacher Information Packet
- Additional Teacher Resources (PDF | 71MB)
General Field Trip Information
Like many areas statewide, Swan Island and the Maine Wildlife Park have been found to have deer tick populations. Lyme disease (LD) is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of bacterium called a spirochete (pronounced spy-ro-keet) that is carried by deer ticks. An infected tick can transmit the spirochete to the humans and animals it bites. Untreated, the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, establishes itself in various body tissues, and can cause a number of symptoms.
Studies have shown that an infected tick normally cannot begin transmitting the spirochete until it has been attached to its host about 36-48 hours; the best line of defense against LD, therefore, is to examine yourself at least once daily and remove any ticks before they become engorged (swollen) with blood.
Make these easy precautions part of your routine:
- Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily
- Scan clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors
- Use insect repellant containing DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide) on skin or clothes if you intend to go off-trail or into overgrown areas
- Keep long hair tied back
- Do a final, full-body tick-check at the end of the day
Animals' Amazing Adaptations
Maine wildlife exhibits an amazing variety of physical characteristics that enable them to survive and do their jobs within their environment. Learn about Maine habitats, why moose and deer grow antlers, why birds have different shaped bills, why turtles have varied body shapes and appendages, how camouflage benefits those animals that exhibit it, and more!
Eagles, Osprey & Owls
Using mounted specimens of eagles, osprey and owls, we'll discuss the different life histories of these impressive raptors. Why are some more common than others? In what habitats do we find them in Maine? What unique adaptations does each species utilize to capture its prey and survive? Why do some migrate while others stay the winter? How are they & their habitats protected?
Birds and Their Adaptations
Using mounted specimens of songbirds, raptors and waterfowl, we'll identify the many different adaptations birds exhibit to blend into their particular habitats. Looking at color, beaks, feet, feathers, diet and migration habits, we will learn how and where to find a variety of species of birds, and how to enhance certain habitats for 'birdlife', and wildlife in general. Then go test your knowledge as you tour the park.
Creatures of the Night
How do birds and mammals do their 'jobs' in the dark of night? Learn about Maine's nocturnal and crepuscular wildlife; and the physical adaptations they exhibit that help them travel, hunt, communicate and avoid people after the sun goes down.
Endangered and Threatened Species
How many animals are endangered or threatened in Maine? Why are they at risk? How does the continuing loss of habitat effect their populations? What is being done to preserve and protect eagles, peregrine falcons, piping plovers and box turtles-even freshwater mussels and burying beetles? Maine's endangered list has changed-bald eagles are off the endangered list, and wolves and cougars are included!
If You Care, Leave Them There
Spring is the time that most baby animals and birds are born. Quite often, people find young wildlife in their backyards and back woods, and don't know what to do. We want to help, but there are many, many do's and don'ts when faced with the dilemma of a baby robin just saved from the cat's jaws, or that young fawn alone in the woods, apparently abandoned. Find out how YOU and your students can best help wildlife in these and many more situations.
Introduction to Archery
Bryant Pond 4H Camp and Learning Center provides Archery lessons for all ages, taught by Certified Instructors in a safe and hands on approach. Archery builds self-confidence, self-discipline, responsibility, and leadership skills for all skill levels. Many schools are now incorporating the 4H Shooting Sports Program, including Archery, into their physical education and after school programs as a healthy choice promoting youth development and life skills opportunities. Give your class an opportunity to try this great family sport with safe and excellent instruction! *AGES 10 & UP!*
Life and Death of a Small Maine Town (Swan Island ONLY)
Swan Island was originally a town in and of itself, know as Perkins Township. With 6 standing homes dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a cemetery with headstones dated 1802-1968, the entire island listed in the National Register of Historic Places; and a legacy of ship building, farming, ice harvesting and more; this is a fascinating look back in time. This is a wonderful Social Studies field trip!
Life of the Loon
Loons are a common symbol of the wilderness in Maine. Listen to and learn about their natural history, how contaminants like lead and mercury are affecting them, and how lead fishing tackle causes illness and death for many birds in Maine. Kids will learn how they can help protect our loons! Several mounted specimens of loons will be used during this program, as well as audio tapes of loon calls and color photos.
Maine's Big Cats
Maine is home to Canada lynx and bobcats. Rarely seen in the wild, learn about the lifestyles of these 2 elusive species of cat. Although a verifiable photograph or video of a mountain lion has yet to be taken, hundreds of reports of cougars are recorded annually with the Department, and several tracks have been found that could be in the range of a small mountain lion or large bobcat. Wildlife biologists are continually on the lookout for these secretive felines, follow up solid reports in the field, and conduct track surveys each winter. All 3 species are on exhibit at the Park.
Maine's Black Bears
Using skulls, skins, mounts and samples of radio telemetry equipment, we'll help your students take a closer look at the natural history, current research and management of Maine's black bears. Does this state really have the most bears of any east of the Mississippi? Do bears really hibernate? Can they run 35-40 miles per hour? Do they have cubs only every other year? Are their favorite foods really nuts and berries? Are Maine's black bears the biggest in the country? Your students can observe and photograph black bears climbing, swimming and interacting in their large exhibit here.
Maine's Busy Beavers
Beavers are the only animal that can create its own habitat, or place to live. They are abundant in Maine, and have an interesting life cycle. Using mounted specimens, skins, skulls and beaver 'chaw', we will explore the world of the beaver, take a look at the animals' place in US and Maine history, and investigate the status of Maine beaver populations today.
Maine's State Symbols
Did you know that Maine has a state animal, state flower, state insect, state fish, state cat and even a state soil? If you are working on a Maine Studies unit with your students, this program provides a variety of current and background information about the natural resource symbols used to to represent Maine to the rest of the country, and the world.
Maine's Native Turtles
Using live and preserved turtle specimens, we'll talk about many of the 10 species of land, aquatic and marine turtles found in Maine. Learn about their natural history, the Maine habitats in which they are found, and some of the threats facing turtles (many are endangered or threatened). Kids will be able to meet live wood and box turtles; and learn how they might be able to help turtles survive in Maine.
Meet a Live Bald Eagle
Two bald eaglets from 2 separate nests in the Sebago region fell or blew out of their nests during the wild and wet weather of spring 2005. Both suffered permanent injuries to their wings, making it impossible for them to be released back into the wild. These birds are now learning to be 'program birds' as a part of live presentations to groups. Come and learn about eagles in Maine, and at the end of the program, meet a now 8-year old eagle, mature with a white head and tail, as he continues his career greeting and meeting the public.
Nature Walk on the Beaver Pond Trail: (Swan Island ONLY)
Take a walk around the beaver pond on this approximately 1 mile loop. Check out wetlands, duck nesting boxes, songbirds, insects; ID trees, flowers and other plants; roll over old logs to look for salamanders, and whatever else we can find to examine along the trail. Make sure to bring your 5 senses!
Owls and Owl Pellets
Learn about barred, great horned and saw whet owls, where to find them in Maine, some of their unique adaptations, the habitats in which they live, and their interesting production of owl pellets! Pellets are regurgitated fur and bone comprised of the birds' last meal. Each tableful of kids will have the chance to dissect a dried pellet and look for the bones of the mouse the owl last ate! A great subject for studying anatomy and physiology.
Why are we so fascinated by predators? Lynx, mink, wolf, mountain lion, loon, eagle and more are all at the top of their food chains and integral parts of the ecology. What happens when predators are eliminated from a food chain? Can wildlife that has been extirpated from an area be reintroduced? How do humans' attitudes towards predators influence their ability to survive within a region? Using a variety of mounted specimens, furs and skulls, learn about a variety of predators and their population status in Maine and the northeast.
Skins and Skulls
The coyote, red and gray fox, bobcat, lynx, fisher, marten, raccoon, skunk, short and long-tailed weasel, mink, otter, beaver, muskrat and opossum are all considered furbearers in the state of Maine. Learn about these animals' natural history, how to determine whether teeth indicate a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore, to identify and study skulls and skins, about their population status and habitat requirements in the state. Become a wildlife detective at the end of the program when each table of students is given a mystery skull and skin to identify.
Wolves and Mountain Lions
Both of these large predators have been extirpated, or eliminated from Maine. In fact. the last of each species was killed by the late 1800s in Maine. For the last several years, however, dozens of sightings have been reported here; but no verifiable photographs, videos or other evidence has confirmed it. Are they really here? Is there appropriate habitat for them? Could they survive as viable populations? Natural history, current attitudes and wildlife management options will be discussed.
Using this popular Project WILD Aquatic activity, students will first learn about the benefits and functions of wetland habitats for wildlife and for people, hike around a wetland area, then demonstrate their new knowledge by participating in the hands-on 'WILD' activity.
What's Legal and What's Not? Wildlife Artifacts, Parts and Pieces
Have you ever found a feather, a bird nest, or a deer antler while out wandering in the woods? Were you aware that some of those items may be illegal for you to possess?? There is a tremendous worldwide black market in wildlife parts and pieces; they are used, mostly illegally, for decorations, jewelry, medicines, or as a part of religion and cultural ceremonies. Come and find out what's legal for you to keep, and what's against the law for you to possess. You may be very surprised to learn you are breaking laws enacted to protect wildlife, both in Maine, throughout the US, and the world.
Wild Turkeys — They're Back!
Wild turkeys were once extirpated, or completely eliminated from Maine; but due to efforts of IFW wildlife biologists, turkeys have made a great comeback and number in the thousands in most regions of the state. In some areas, turkeys have rebounded so well they can be a nuisance to farmers, homeowners and others. Learn about this large game bird, its history in the state, and how wildlife biologists have successfully restored them to their original and expanded habitats.