Field Trips

Enjoy a rich educational experience with a trained leader or head out on your own with expert guidance.

Our education programs have helped tens of thousands of students to understand the important links between land and sea — and to see how their everyday actions can harm or benefit coastal environments.

The Wells Reserve protects hundreds of acres of "living laboratory" and maintains education facilities that include a teaching laboratory, exhibit areas, a barn classroom, a Forest Learning Shelter, and facilities for convenience and comfort.

Reservations

Reservations are required for all group visits (10 or more people) and space is limited. Please book early to avoid disappointment. By limiting the number of people using the site, we protect fragile ecosystems and avoid overcrowding on trails and in facilities.

Meet Caryn Beiter, Field Trip Programs Coordinator

Note to K–12 Teachers

We have been working creatively with educators for more than 25 years, so we can help you offer the best possible experience for your students. Many of our guided programs are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Please call the education program for a consultation: 207-646-1555.

Guided Programs

Wild Friends in Wild Places

Check NGSS Alignment

Who: Kindergarten through second grade groups. A single program can accommodate up to 36 students and double program up to 72 students.

What: Live animal "ambassadors" from the Center for Wildlife are used to teach about native wildlife and their behaviors, characteristics, and life needs. Students also venture outdoors to explore the habitats of the Wells Reserve while searching for animal homes and signs.

When: Weekday mornings year-round; program lasts 3 hours.

How much: $225 per program for up to 36 students (single program); $425 for up to 72 students (double program). Financial aid is available through the Laudholm Trust Mattina Proctor Seacoast Explorers Fund. Download financial aid application.

Exploring Estuaries

Check NGSS Alignment

Who: Third through fifth grade groups up to 60 students.

What: Explore the interdependence of estuary creatures and their habitats in the great outdoors. Activities include testing the salinity of estuary water, seeing live fish and other aquatic animals, discovering skulls and skins of local wildlife, using a watershed model to explore human impacts on estuaries, and more.

When: Weekday mornings in the spring and fall; program lasts 3 hours.

How much: $5 per student. Financial aid is available through the Laudholm Trust Mattina Proctor Seacoast Explorers Fund. Download financial aid application.

Microscopic Marvels

Check NGSS Alignment

Who: Sixth grade through high school groups up to 30 students.

What: Introduce your students to the diverse world of plankton. During this program, they will observe and identify live plankton, come to understand the importance of plankton to healthy ecosystems, and learn plankton life histories. Students also visit the salt marsh to explore water quality testing methods for measuring salinity, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.

When: Weekday mornings in the spring and fall; program lasts 3 hours.

How much: $5 per student. Financial aid is available through the Laudholm Trust Mattina Proctor Seacoast Explorers Fund. Download financial aid application.

Guided Walks

Who: Age 5 through adult; up to 30 people with up to 15 participants per docent.

What: Seasonal programs adapted to the age and interest of participants. Topics include History of a Saltwater Farm, Life Between the Tides, Secrets of a Salt Marsh, and Nature Walk.

When: All year. Flexible scheduling.

How much: $75 for groups of 15 or fewer participants. $150 for groups of 16-30 participants.

Self-directed Programs

Wells Reserve Field Experience

Who: All ages; up to 100 people

What: Explore our trails, habitats, and exhibits at your own pace

When: All year. Flexible scheduling.

How muchSite admission. Additional fee for consultation and equipment rental.

Equipment and Consultation for Self-guided Field Experience

Consultations are available up to 2 weeks before your program date. Group leaders can schedule up to 90 minutes to consult with our educators for a $30 fee (one consultation remains valid for 3 years). The fee includes a comprehensive information packet, one copy of the What is Ecology? curriculum guide, a site tour, and an overview of training equipment available for rent.

Equipment rental adds $10 per backpack to participation fees. We have materials such as binoculars, field guides, soil corers, and more.


Discovery Program Trail Guides and Backpacks

Who: Ages 6 and up; 1 trail guide per child recommended

What: Self-paced trail guides paired with activity backpacks that hold everything you need for a half day investigation. Especially fun for kids from 6 to 12 years old. Three booklets available: Habitat Hike, Time Travels, and Water Wonders.

When: Spring, summer, and fall. 2 hours recommended.

How much: $5 includes trail guide, backpack rental, and prize (one per child).

What is Ecology?

We have developed a teacher's resource guide called What is Ecology? An Introduction to Ecology through Estuaries.

Download the Guide