Now Taking Reservation for Spring/Fall Wildlife Education Programs and Tours At Swan Island, Kennebec River, Richmond. May – June, September – October 2008

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Richmond – Reservations now are being take for Spring and Fall educational wildlife programs and tours at Swan Island, on the Kennebec River in Richmond.

Swan Island is a gem! It’s been called “an island from another century” and “the island that time forgot.” Come see why it recently was featured in Down East magazine, US Airways magazine, the Kennebec Journal and the Portland Press Herald.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Swan Island has six homes that date back to 1763 which still stand along the central dirt road. There are two cemeteries, 10 log lean-tos, open fields, woods, wetlands and tidal mud flats. Wildlife abounds, including nesting bald eagles, deer, wild turkey, beaver, waterfowl, songbirds and more.

This is a unique and educational field trip destination – either for a day or, for the more adventurous, an overnight camping trip your students will not forget!!!

Wildlife and conservation education programs are offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Students, teachers and chaperones must be ready to board the Swan Island boat by 9:30 a.m. sharp. All food and drink must be packed in and trash must be packed out. You will be transported across the river, then in the open rack body pickup truck to the campground.

The wildlife programs are held in the boathouse and can accommodate up to 50 people. Wildlife Program topics include: wetlands, owls, Life and Death of a Town, big cats, Maine state symbols, skins and skulls, adaptations and more! After the one-hour program, students and teachers may eat lunch at the campground, take a quick hike on a nature trail, investigate the nearest cemetery, and enjoy the beauty of the Kennebec River. Your group then will then be transported back to the boat landing in time for your bus to make it back to school.

The fees for the Wildlife Programs are: $4 per person for groups of 15 or more. To make a reservation, please call the Island Reservation Line directly at 547-5322.

Guided truck tours: Another program that schools can reserve includes guided truck tours of the entire four-mile-long island, with stops and interpretation at historic and natural sites along the way. Reservations for these truck tours may be pre-arranged by calling the Island reservation line directly at 547-5322. All food and drink must be packed in and trash must be packed out.

Students, teachers and chaperones are brought across the river on the island barge, and then transported in the back of an open rack body pickup truck. After the tour, students and teachers may eat lunch at the campground, take a quick hike on a nature trail, investigate the nearest cemetery, and enjoy the beauty of the Kennebec River. Your group will then be transported back to the boat landing in time for your bus to make it back to school.

Fees for these guided truck tours are: ages 4-12: $3.50; Adults: $5.

2008 Financial Aid for Field Trips: The Maine Environmental Education Association is offering Transportation Assistance Awards which are meant to support classroom and non-traditional educators and their students in the pursuit of field trips to outdoor/environmental sites in Maine.

The total amount awarded to a school by MEEA will not exceed $100 per trip. Funds will be awarded on a rolling basis until they are gone. Trips may be partially funded, depending upon number of applications received, and the full completion of trip proposal forms. Priority is given to new applicants.

BOTH the field trip applicant and destination organization must be MEEA members. (Maine Wildlife Park/Swan Island/MDIFW IS A MEEA MEMBER!) To become a teacher/member; to download and/or submit the field trip grant form; visit the MEEA web site at: www.meeassociation.org. Reserve your trip and get your grant application in early!

A trip to Swan Island is a great way to bring a new class together, reunite an existing class, and learn a lot about Maine history and wildlife. Make your reservations now!

For the full 2008 schedule, and for more information, please go to www.Maine.gov/ifw and click on education. Or contact: Lisa [dot] Kane [at] maine [dot] gov