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Visit Gate 2 to explore our Kids Trail featuring trail signs about animal homes and our natural playscapes + barefoot area


  • Educational Videos

  • Coloring Pages

  • Scavenger Hunts


Book an educational experience at hirundo. Choose from a variety of topics or let us customize one just for you.


We'll be relaunching our Forest Club this Fall. Stay tuned for details!


Host a birthday party in the shelter, explore our trails, and/or take a paddle.

Hirundo's Kids Programs are supported in part by Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund



The facts are that today's youth spend very little time outdoors and are significantly more connected to their electronics than to nature. This lack of connection to the great outdoors, termed Nature Deficit Disorder by author Richard Louv, is of great concern. 


The Importance of Spending Time in Nature: 

A key challenge to child health is the modern lifestyle characterized by lack of physical exercise outdoors reinforced by excessive dependency on electronic connectedness. Combined, this approach to childhood undermines kids' physical and mental health both. In the Kids in Nature campaign, Hirundo has partnered with Dr. Nadia Mendiola a child psychiatrist at Acadia Hospital. In her words, “It is reported that hours spent on virtual connections continue to rise, with youths reporting upwards of 4-6 hours daily. There are now multiple studies that have found strong correlations between the amount of time spent on social media and reported depressive and anxiety symptoms…  Multiple studies have also shown that increased screen time can affect sleep and physical health of children and adolescents, which also can influence their mental health.  …Some studies have shown decrease in cognitive skills with children who rate higher screen time."


Fortunately, the remedy is simple. Regular outings into a natural environment with exercise has been shown to reverse both negative effects. “There is the obvious opportunity for the improvement in physical health and sleep health that comes with activity which ultimately improves our mental health…Scholars have suggested and found correlation of outdoor adventures to learning experiences of personal self-concept and identity, group affiliation and connection to one another (whether family, friends, or a member of the community), acquisition of skills and competencies, prosocial norms and behaviors, and changes in outlook and attitude.” [Dr. Mendiola]

So, spending time in nature improves kids’ mental function, sleep, emotional and physical health, and outlook. Besides, its also just plain old fun! 


Protecting our Kids AND our Planet:

Data shows that a connection to nature must be established by age 12 in order to firmly root a lifelong appreciation. Our Earth is fragile, and needs love, care, and attention to thrive. Without curing Nature Deficit Disorder, who will be the stewards of the future?


Hirundo has been offering programs for the public and school groups for a decade. In 2020, we re-affirmed our dedication to getting youth into nature with our 1,000 Kids in Nature Campaign. Each year we strive to bring a greater number of kids outdoors in new and exciting ways. 


Hirundo is a great place for family recreation year-round.  We have a variety of resources (including free use of our canoes, kayaks, and snowshoes) to enhance our community's nature experience! To support our Kids in Nature Campaign we'll be running contests and other fun incentives to build more frequent participation with Hirundo. 


Additionally, we are expanding our programming for schools, organized-groups, and the public. We are developing more hands-on and experiential learning lessons for school children both at Hirundo and in the classroom.


We invite you to join our campaign by bringing kids from your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your social circles to Hirundo to participate in our events or to explore and enjoy independently! Please sign into our logbooks at the gate and let us know how many Hirundo Kids came, or complete our virtual logbook here. We love to see your photos of your adventures, tag us in your posts or email them to us!



Every dollar we raise helps us work towards our goal of getting Kids into Nature at the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge. 

How each $1 helps Hirundo:

$10:    Cost for 1 child to attend a naturalist-led program at Hirundo

$20:    Set of 3 golden book field guides

$30:   Cost of a child’s life vest

$50:   Cost of a child’s pair of snow shoes 

$200: Cost of an environmental education program for a public school class

$250: Cost of hosting a live-animal demonstration  

$300: Cost of a bus to bring school kids to Hirundo for hands-on learning

Please consider Donating or Sponsoring our Kids in Nature Efforts!

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