2014 Assateague Youth Group Environmental Education

nature play area at asstageague state parkMaryland Park Service and Maryland Conservation Corps are offering the following Youth Group Programs at Assateague State Park for the 2014 season. We welcome you and your youth group members to discover the unique ecology of a salt marsh and barrier island and the abundance of creatures that inhabit them. Program descriptions are listed below and may be scheduled from April 26, 2014 through October 12, 2014.

Contact Information:

Meghan Sochowski
Phone: (410) 641-2120 x 12
Email: meghan.sochowski@maryland.gov

If you reach voice mail, please leave a message including your group name, phone number or email, grade or ages and number of participants expected, program/s requested, and potential dates. Email is suggested for fastest reservation confirmation. 


Bayside Kayak Tour – Join our Naturalist staff for a guided kayak tour of Assateague’s back bay areas. Learn basic paddling skills and water safety, then embark on a coastal exploration. All units are sit-on-top kayaks single or tandem, paddles and PFD’s provided. Participants should wear clothes and shoes that can get wet. For ages 12+, parent/guardian permission slip required. Group size limited to 18 participants. Service charge of $60.00 for the two-hour program. Program available from May 3rd - September 28th, 2014.

Saltmarsh Exploration and Kayak Demonstration - As an alternative to our Bayside Kayak Tour, we’ve designed this program for younger groups or larger groups who would like to practice kayaking skills in the coastal bays and participate in our popular saltmarsh exploration program. We will bring a limited number of kayaks to our bayside saltmarsh and mark a course with buoys where small groups of participants can practice skills like balance, turning, and maneuvering kayaks in the bay. When not using the kayaks, participants will be exploring the saltmarsh using seine nets, dip nets, and clam rakes for collecting mollusks, fish, shrimp, snails, and more for observation and identification. All units are sit-on-top kayaks single or tandem, paddles and PFD’s provided. Participants should wear clothes and shoes that can get wet. For ages 9+, parent/guardian permission slip required. Group size limited to 25 participants. Service charge of $60.00 for the two-hour program. Program available from May 3rd - September 28th, 2014.

Techniques in Surf Fishing - Try your hand at a favorite Assateague beach activity. Our naturalist staff will set your group up with equipment, bait, and instructions in the techniques used to catch the rich diversity of ocean species found in the inshore environment. We’ll also give you a lesson on ocean ecology, tides, and beach dynamics as these are directly related to how to be successful at fishing. Although we can’t guarantee a catch, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the process. For ages 12+, group size limited to 20 participants. Participants will be allowed to wade into the surf but will not be allowed to swim during the interpretive program. Service charge of $60.00 for the two-hour program.

Beach Scavenger Hunt - Explore the beach at Assateague in search of its natural treasures. Using a “Common Shells and Artifacts Discovery Guide”, participants are challenged to find examples of shells and artifacts pictured, and return to a sharing circle to learn about and share their finds. Then venture to the Nature Center where we’ll meet some of the live animals who create these amazing shells as part of their bodies. Service charge $40.00 per program (for groups up to 30 participants, and an additional $1.00 per participant after 30) for the one-hour program. Program can be adapted for any age group.

Hoots & Hisses - By presenting live animals, this program emphasizes human interaction with nature and wildlife and encourages participants to practice responsible stewardship in parks and nature everywhere. An Eastern Screech or Barred owl, reptiles such as snakes and turtles, and aquatic species will be used to introduce participants to native species of Maryland, their habitat, diet, and unique adaptations for survival. Service charge $40.00 per program (for groups up to 30 participants, and an additional $1.00 per participant after 30) for the one-hour program. Program can be adapted for any age group.

Campground Critter Encounter - Would you like to invite some special guests to your campsite or group site? Our Campground Critter Encounter lets you enjoy an up-close visit with some of our Scales & Tales animals- and the best part is we bring the program to you! Gather your friends and family right at your home away from home and we’ll bring a group of feathered and scaled friends to meet you. You’ll learn about how these animals survive on and around Assateague Island and how you can help to protect wild animals. We’ll even have time for a photo-shoot with you and your new friends! Service charge $30.00 per program (for groups up to 20 participants) and is 30 minutes in length. Program is available Thursday and Saturday evenings beginning June 26th, 2014 and is appropriate for all ages.

Killer Trash - Want to include a service project with your visit? How about a coastal cleanup? Not just about picking up trash, this lesson teaches participants specifically about marine debris, how long it takes common trash items to decompose, and it’s danger to seabirds, fish, and marine mammals. Armed with this information, a data collection sheet, and some hefty bags, participants comb the beach and collect debris, tallying their finds for the Ocean Conservancy’s Coastal Cleanup Data Cards. Earn volunteer hours and help to beautify the beach at Assateague at the same time. Service charge $40.00 per program (for groups up to 30 participants, and an additional $1.00 per participant after 30) for the one-hour program. Program for ages 9+.

Saltmarsh Exploration - Not afraid of getting muddy? Come with us to discover the other side of Assateague Island- we are not just the beach! Participants will explore the complexities of a saltmarsh, one of the most productive ecosystems on earth. We will use seining and clamming equipment to collect mollusks, small fish, shrimp and more for observation and identification. For this activity, participants will wade into the saltmarsh, we recommend wearing old clothes/bathing suits and closed toe shoes are required. Service charge $40.00 per program (for groups up to 30 participants, and an additional $1.00 per participant after 30) for the one-hour program. Program for ages 9+. Program available from May 3rd - September 28th, 2014.