Over a three-day period, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge hosted more than 170 fourth-grade students from Ilwaco, Wash., Naselle, Wash., and South Bend, Wash., who excitedly visited seven educational science stations to learn more about the environment and how to be good future stewards.

Volunteers from the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge as well as Ilwaco High School students led the seven field stations at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge's Tarlett Slough Unit. There was something for everyone, from life in the pond to identifying skulls (to determine whether or not they are herbivore or carnivore), to identifying items from the forest by touch, to exploring life in the bay, as well as learning what one might hear if they are quiet outdoors. They experienced nature first-hand, developing skills in wildlife viewing, wetlands' animal and plant identificaiton and aquatic shellfish and invertebrates identification. They received information on amphibians' lifecycles, an introduction to soil science and developed an appreciation for animal behaviors based on interpretation of bone structure.

Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and Willapa National Wildlife Refuge annually co-sponsor this educational event as part of their fourth grade environmental education program. The field trip is a culmination of a year-long program where fourth-graders learn about the refuge system, bird basics, habitat and the local amphibian population in the classroom.

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