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Project WILD

The Project WILD program is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education activity guide that focuses on wildlife and conservation for all educators.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) provides professional development training for educators in support of the ecology  related Science Standards of Learning as well as essential skills in math, language arts, and civics. Project WILD provides educators with the tools, training and resources needed to engage students in active, hands-on learning about wildlife and ecology. The activities in the guides aid in developing students’ critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making skills through the use of cross curricular lessons that can be used individually or in units.

Why Project Wild?

Project WILD explores many of the concepts that build an Environmentally Literate citizen.  Environmentally literate citizens can understand wildlife and habitat and make decisions that use natural resources wisely.  Project WILD emphasizes wildlife’s ecological and intrinsic value and addresses the need for human beings to be responsible citizens of our planet.

An image of a tiger swallowtail on the grass; the insects of Virginia are numerous in color, size and shape.

Insects are all around us and can be found in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Project WILD activity “Insect Inspection”


Project WILD Curriculum Guides are routinely updated by the national sponsor, AFWA, and:

                    • Include helpful, scientific background information with all activities
                    • Include both field investigations and STEM activities
                    • Incorporate powerful techniques and methods for teaching problem solving and decision-making skills
                    • Teaches young people how to think about wildlife, not what to think
                    • Are kid-tested and teacher-approved!




How To Get the Materials

An image of a brown pelican on the water

Bird beaks are adapted to find and eat different types of food. How does a Pelican capture its food? Project WILD Activity

Project WILD curriculum guides are available through our FREE Educator workshops conducted by our network of Virginia Project WILD Facilitators, see our workshop selection below.  In Virginia, the Educator workshops are offered for free as part of DWR’s commitment to professional development for educators.

Choose an Educator Workshop That is Right For You

  • K-12 Project WILD Curriculum Workshop and Terrestrial Activity Guide features activities emphasizing terrestrial species and their habitats. A wide range of ecological concepts are covered including: food webs or energy flow, adaptations, interdependence, carrying capacity and habitats. Workshops are ~six hours.
  • K-12 Aquatic WILD Curriculum Workshop and Aquatic Activity Guide provides a look at aquatic wildlife and their ecosystems. This guide supports the watershed and Chesapeake Bay related SOLs as well as the wildlife concepts mentioned above. Workshops are ~six hours.
  • K-12 Project WILD and Aquatic WILD combination Workshop features activities from both the terrestrial and aquatic guides.  Workshops are ~eight hours.
  • Pre-K Growing Up WILD — Exploring Nature with Young Children Curriculum Workshop and Guide: an early childhood curriculum that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature and lifelong social and academic skills. Workshops are ~three hours.
  • Flying WILD: Celebrating Birds Curriculum Workshop and Guide features interdisciplinary hands-on classroom activities along with information for engaging students in a school wide bird festival. Key concepts include migration, adaptation, the importance of habitat, and bird conservation efforts. Workshops are ~three hours. This guide is being fazed out summer 2023. 
  • Climate and Wildlife Workshop and Module: this 8 activity module uses wildlife as a focal point as students examine ecological phenomena relating to a changing climate. Workshops are ~three hours.
  • WILD About Elk Workshop and Guide: this guide introduces students to elk and their habitat in the southwestern counties of the Commonwealth. Only available in Southwest VA, workshops are ~three hours.

Most of the Educator workshops in Virginia are offered either on professional development days hosted by a local school system or on weekends hosted by a variety of organizations (state parks, nature centers, community partners, etc.).  Please fill out the Project WILD Workshop Interest Form to be placed on our Educator workshop waiting list.  If you are a school system looking for county-wide Project WILD professional development please contact directly.



Facilitator Training

The two-day Project WILD Facilitator training is for those passionate educators who have already attended a Project WILD Educator workshop and want to conduct Educator workshops to teach other educators how to use the Project WILD suite of guides. Project WILD facilitator trainings are perfect for college/university professors who want to incorporate project WILD into their pre-service teacher coursework, science curriculum specialists that are interested in conducting Project WILD professional development with teachers in their district/local area, staff at nature centers/parks that host professional development, or any other educator passionate about Project WILD that wants to ignite that passion in other educators. 

Upon completion of the training, Virginia Project WILD Facilitators are expected to facilitate or co-facilitate at least one Educator workshop a year. These Educator workshops may be generated from groups that you already work with or Virginia’s Project WILD State Coordinator may call upon you to host a workshop when there are many educators on the waitlist in your area. During our Facilitator training you will experience activities from each of the guides as well as cover the requirements and procedures for facilitating a Project WILD workshop in Virginia.  If you are interested in facilitator training please take these steps:

  1. All Virginia Project WILD Facilitators are required to sign up as a DWR Volunteer– this process requires a criminal background check and also checks for any fishing, hunting, trapping, or boating violations.  This background check is paid for by DWR.
  2. Once you are a registered DWR volunteer, please click on “Apply to become a Project WILD Facilitator” on the DWR Volunteer Management System (Galaxy).  You will be required to upload your Project WILD Educator workshop training certificate or a copy of your book sticker from training.  Email me with any questions you have about this.
  3. Once your upload has been approved you will receive emails inviting you to any facilitator workshops that are scheduled.  Please note that Facilitator workshops are only held a couple times a year at various locations across the state.


For information about Virginia’s Project WILD Workshops, contact: Courtney Hallacher, Project WILD Coordinator, at


Visit the National Project WILD website
Project WILD is an international wildlife education program of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Image of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies logo featuring a deer, fish, and bird of prey and the Project WILD logo. Clicking this image will take you to the national Project WILD website.