Summer Outdoor Fun: Learn Something New with DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife

Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – This summer, have some fun in the sun by attending an educational program with the Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)! Connect with the outdoors and learn some new skills this summer; from fishing days to hunter education classes to guided walks, there’s something for everyone. Join DFW’s Aquatic Resource Education ProgramHunter Education Program, and Wildlife Outreach and Volunteer Program staff to learn, explore, and enjoy.

Most programs being offered this season are free of charge and open to families. A list of programs and registration information are listed below. For a complete list of up-to-date programs, click here.


Come Clam with Me Workshops

  • Dates, times, and locations to be determined.
  • Age group: All ages
  • Cost: $10 per person, ages 8 and older (Free for children under 8)
  • Registration: For more information and registration materials, please contact Kimberly Sullivan, or 401-330-0634.

Be on the lookout for the popular Come Clam with Me programs offered by the Aquatic Resource Education this summer! The Come Clam with Me events offer families of all ages an opportunity to explore Rhode Island’s beautiful coastline while learning how to find and harvest hardshell clams. Longtime commercial quahogger, Jody King, will be leading the classes sharing his love for the resource. Sessions include an informational lecture, a hands-on opportunity to try clamming, and a cooking demonstration. There is a fee of $10/person ages 8 and older. Children under 8 are free. 

The Hex Hatch Fly Tying Workshop

In late June through early August the Wood River experiences one of its most amazing hatches: the Hexagenia limbata, also known as the burrowing mayfly. This workshop is your chance to learn about the hatch, the different flies that work during the hatch, and how to present the fly for ultimate success. Fly tyers from United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island, Rhody Fly Rodders and Trout Unlimited will be on hand to help tie instruct how to tie the flies. Due to the intricacy of the patterns, some basic knowledge of fly tying is recommended. All equipment and materials are provided. Families with children over 10 are welcome. For more information and registration materials, please contact Kimberly Sullivan, or 401-330-0634.

Introduction to Freshwater Fly Fishing

  • Date: Saturday, June 22
  • Time: 9 AM – 3 PM
  • Location: Addieville East Farm, Burrillville 
  • Age group: Ages 10 and up
  • Cost: $30/person
  • Registration: Email or call 401-330-0634

Have you ever wanted to fly fish but did not know where to start? DFW’s Aquatic Resource Education program in association with volunteer fishing groups across the state offers a one-day introductory level course. Participants will learn what equipment they need, how to tie flies, what knots are needed, how to cast and then have an opportunity to apply those skills in a trout stocked pond. Skilled volunteers will be on hand to help every step of the way. All equipment and materials are provided. Lunch is also provided. Families with children with children 10 and older are welcome. Space is limited, registration is required. 


Introduction to the Great Swamp Shooting Range

Come try DEM’s Great Swamp Shooting Range! No permit, firearms, ammo, or prior experience needed. Hunter Education staff will be at the range between 9 AM and 2 PM to offer introductory firearm instruction using beginner-friendly rimfire rifles and pistols. Participants must sign up for a 30-minute time slot.

2024 Women’s Day at the Range 

Join DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife, The Federated RI Sportsmen Club, and other partners for the 2024 Women's Range Day! New and returning shooters welcome. No Great Swamp Shooting Range permit is required for attendance. This event requires pre-registration. There are no fees, but space is limited. One session per person only, please. All registrants must be over 18 years old and complete a waiver as part of registration.

Bowhunter Education Certification Course - 2 DAY

In a classroom and field setting you will learn about the basics of modern-day archery hunting and safe hunting practices in accordance with the International Hunter Education Association standards. Please note: There is a 50-question multiple choice test at the end of the class which is written to a 6th grade/12-year-old reading level. Participants must be at least 11 years old on the final day of class to take the test. Participants must attend both days.


Summer Bat Night

  • Date: Thursday, June 27
  • Time: 7:30 – 9 PM
  • Location: Carolina Trout Hatchery, Richmond
  • Age group: Adults, families with children ages 6 and up
  • Cost: Free
  • Register here:

Bring the whole family together and join the DFW to participate in a bat colony count. Sit back, relax, and learn about RI’s unique bat species and the conservation work being done to help these commonly misunderstood mammals. Kids are invited to make a bat craft before the bats take to the night sky! All participants are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and get comfortable as they count bats flying by — you could even win a bat house for your very own home! This program is FREE, but registration is required and space is limited.

Wildlife Solutions: Veggie Vandals

  • Date: Tuesday July 2
  • Time: 6:30 – 8:00 PM
  • Location: HYBRID – In-person at the East Greenwich Free Library OR via Zoom
  • Age group: Adults
  • Cost: Free
  • Register here:

RABBITS, GROUNDHOGS and DEER: The bane of many gardeners' existence are these three critters. Half-eaten tomatoes and munched on magnolias are enough to drive anyone to their wits' end. While these critters may seem impossible to manage, there are measures you can take to defend your garden. As frustrating as these fuzzy felons may be, they are important to Rhode Island’s ecosystem, acting as valuable natural resources in our state. This session will give you tools to protect your garden and cover the rules and regulations for hunting, trapping on private property and highlight the New England Cottontail Project and Deer Program. This will be a HYBRID program in partnership with the East Greenwich Library. Join us in-person at the library or tune in from the comfort of your own home! This program is FREE, but registration is required so that we prepare materials and send Zoom links for those attending online.  

Summer Dragon Hunt

  • Date: Saturday, July 20
  • Time: 10 – 11:30 AM
  • Location: Great Swamp Wildlife Management Area, West Kingston
  • Age group: Adults, families with children ages 8 and up
  • Cost: Free
  • Registration:

In the swampy wilds of Rhode Island, there be dragons! Join DEM’s Wildlife Outreach staff, and special guests Virginia (Ginger) Brown and Nina Briggs, on a summer "dragon hunt" in the Great Swamp! Ginger and Nina will be sharing their wealth of knowledge on RI's dragonflies and damselflies, as well as their experience collecting data to write and illustrate the recently published Dragonflies and Damselflies of Rhode Island. Be prepared to learn a lot and have fun! This program is free to attend, but space is limited and registration is required.

Coexisting with Coyotes

Coyotes are greatly misunderstood, but most of their fear-instilling actions are simply a part of their life-history and strategy for survival. Still, these critters can certainly become a nuisance, especially if they begin to den under decks and dine out of chicken coops. Learning why these creatures behave the way they do is the key to finding resolution. Join DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife to learn about coyote natural history, discoveries made by the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study, and ways to coexist with them.  

Wildlife Management Areas 101

  • Date: Wednesday, Aug. 21
  • Time: 6:30 – 7:30 PM
  • Location: Hybrid – In-person at the North Smithfield Public Library or via Zoom
  • Age group: Adults
  • Cost: Free
  • Registration:

Whether you love hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, or horseback riding, Rhode Island’s State Wildlife Management Areas are beautiful places to explore and enjoy nature! While these conservation lands are open to the public, there are some rules visitors need to follow to keep both people and wildlife safe. Join DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife outreach team for an intro to State lands, wildlife conservation in RI, and ways to access your state’s natural resources! 


RI Wild Bee Observer

Want to help us protect the bees of Rhode Island? Join DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife as a community scientist by contributing to our RI Wild Bee Observer project through the free iNaturalist app! It’s an easy way to document bee species anywhere in RI, from your neighborhood to your favorite hiking spot. This is a great volunteer opportunity for families! For project instructions, including tips for taking photos of bees, follow this link: 

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates. Follow DFW on Facebook and Instagram (@ri.fishandwildlife) to stay up to date on news, events and volunteer opportunities. You can also subscribe to DFW’s monthly newsletter here