DEM Hosting Wildlife Education Programs This Winter

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced it is hosting a children’s program on New England cottontail rabbits, a presentation on the history of bears in RI, and two family-friendly birding workshops this winter as part of its Wildlife Outreach Program.

WHAT: Saving the New England Cottontail

WHEN: Wednesday, January 15| 4 PM Cranston Public Library 140 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston

Did you know that we have two kinds of cottontail rabbits that live in Rhode Island? The New England cottontail is our native species and the whole region is working together to protect these animals from disappearing. Learn all about these cute little critters and play a game to discover the threat of invasive species. Appropriate for grades 3 to 5. No registration necessary.

WHAT: Come Birding with Me!

WHEN: Saturday, January 25| 10 AM-11:30 AM Beavertail State Park, Jamestown

Saturday, February 22| 10 AM-11:30 AM Beavertail State Park, Jamestown

Join the RI Division of Fish and Wildlife for its 4th annual, family-friendly, winter birding adventure at Beavertail State Park! Novice and experienced birdwatchers will learn all about Rhode Island’s migratory sea ducks and how to identify these super cool birds. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and warm clothes with lots of layers including mittens, hats and scarves, and bring binoculars if they have them.

Registration is required. To sign up, visit

WHAT: The Rhode Island Bear Story: From Colonial Persecution to Backyard Pest

WHEN: Sunday, February 23| 1-3 PM Maury Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett

DEM Fish & Wildlife Outreach Coordinator Mary Gannon will detail the history of bears in the state, from colonial persecution to their current status as backyard pests. Registration is not required. This program is part of the annual winter speaker series, On Pettaquamscutt: Presentations on the Environment and the History of the Narrow River Watershed, sponsored by Friends of Canonchet Farm, Narrow River Preservation Association, and the South County Museum, with generous support from Trio Restaurant.

Sponsored by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, DEM’s Wildlife Outreach Program offers a wide range of interactive programs that introduce students to the state’s wildlife resources and increase awareness of environmental conservation. The K-8 classroom programs cover a variety of topics and include educational activities related to the history of wildlife management, current conservation projects, and Rhode Island’s diverse wildlife. An in-depth classroom session, “Wildlife Management 101,” is also offered for high school environmental science and biology classes.

In addition to the classroom programs, field trips to state parks and wildlife management areas are offered for grades 4-12; buses and a preliminary classroom visit are included with all field trips. For students in grades K-3, DEM instructors use local parks or the school yard to create outdoor learning experiences.

Wild Rhode Island Explorer, a free quarterly children’s magazine geared to students in grades 4-7, is available online and in public libraries throughout the state.

Thanks to federal funding through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the RI State Wildlife Grant, all outreach programs and field trips, including materials, are free of charge.