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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

A Year of Field Trips to the Estuary

Posted by
Kate Reichert
| December 4, 2014 | Filed under: Program Activities

Wow! What a year 2014 has been. Our education staff and volunteer docents have been busy in all seasons, and in all weather, providing awesome hands-on, field-based programs here at the Reserve—and it's been a blast!

Students walk out onto the Little River estuary salt marsh

Every year, teachers from all over Maine, New Hampshire, and beyond get in touch with us to plan exciting outings to our estuary for their students. We offer a variety of guided programs, and most classes participate in our Exploring Estuaries, Microscopic Marvels, and Wild Friends in Wild Places field experiences. A number of other teachers work with us to develop custom programs tailored to their curriculum and student needs, and still others decide to strike out on their own for a self-paced, self-guided excursion on our trails. The result is always an impressive number of school-aged kids exploring the outdoors and learning how to be stewards of the natural world. But this year, our numbers were outstanding!

Field Trip Summary for 2014

Our field trip seasons in the spring and fall total about 12 weeks in September, October, April, May, and June. During 2014, those active periods included 33 guided programs and 16 self-guided groups. Depending on the program, we had between 5 and 70 participants on each trip, all led by our talented and knowledgeable volunteer docents. Thanks to our docent team, we were able to reach a total of just about 1,200 students in 2014 through these guided programs! That's up from just over 800 student participants in guided experiences in 2013. Another 400 students explored the estuary on self-guided walks this year, consistent with past years.

Students explore water quality in the marsh and learn about watersheds on the beach

These students and teachers come from all over, too. This year, 23 different schools and three homeschool groups visited from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts—from Portland to Portsmouth, Fryeburg to Freeport, and so many places in between, including, of course, the students in our own backyards of Wells, Kennebunk, and Kennebunkport.

I cannot thank the dedicated group of volunteer docents enough for the work that they do to promote education and stewardship here at the Wells Reserve. With a small education staff of just three, we would be unable to make an impact on such impressive numbers of children without their help.

Docents are leaders here at the Reserve!

With so many responsibilities faced by teachers and students inside the classroom everyday, we are thrilled to be able to lend a hand and provide outdoor time for children and adults alike to learn and recharge. There is no substitute for experiencing the ocean breeze while exploring human impacts at the beach, or for listening to the marsh and shore birds converse where the river meets the sea. The Wells Reserve is a wonderful place, and we're so glad to have been able to share it with so many students this year!

If you are interested in bringing your students to our site, or would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer docent leading our school programs, please call 207-646-1555 ext 110 or email

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