The Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife announced that for the third year in a row, Rhody Critter Kits are back and ready to roll! DFW’s Wildlife Outreach Program staff have curated a collection of educational resources for K-5 educators that contain lesson plans, activities, videos, and hands-on learning materials. The kits have been designed to connect students to the wildlife resources right in their own backyards and communities, as well as spread awareness about wildlife conservation work in the state. Materials were developed and selected to correlate to the Next Generation Science Standards.
“We included video interviews with our biologists and fun virtual field trips to give kids a behind-the-scenes look at conservation work in action,” said Mary Gannon, Wildlife Outreach Coordinator for DFW. “We’ve also included resources and suggestions on how teachers and students can get involved and help wildlife right in their own schoolyards, backyards, and communities. Whether it’s submitting an observation of a frog through the HerpObserver app or planting native plants in your school garden, there are lots of ways educators can create direct connections to our wildlife and contribute to conservation. These resources aren’t just for classroom teachers – we encourage informal educators, homeschooling families, Scout groups, or other groups interested in Rhode Island’s wildlife to check them out! We also have partnered with the RI Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) to provide a set of kits for children’s librarians.
A total of six kits have been developed: Feathered Friends, Bat Chat, Keeping the Balance, Scales & Slime, Pollinator Pals, and Home Sweet Habitat. Kits are available to borrow, free of charge, for two weeks at a time. A freshwater wetlands habitat kit is also on the horizon for 2024!
To reserve a kit, visit www.dem.ri.gov/critterkits to view available dates and then fill out the reservation form to request a kit. Once your reservation has been confirmed, your selected kit can be picked up any time during your reservation period. Educators can choose to pick up their kit at the Washington Park Library in Providence or the Louttit Library in West Greenwich. Librarians should reserve kits through the OLIS Equipment Catalog. All written resources are always available online at the Critter Kits webpage.
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