side menu icon

Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS

We are a national wildlife refuge with a mission to protect and provide habitat for native plants and wildlife.  We also want to engage the public in nature and their public lands through educational programs and outdoor recreation.

Location: Camp Tongawood, 18634 Evans Rd, Tonganoxie, KS 66086 or a local lake located within a two-hour radius of Pleasanton, KS.

How to register: Please review GSKSMO's registration requirements before registering.  Caregivers/Troop Leaders will need to book space at Camp Tongawood FIRST at, then reach out to Nova to schedule. You are not confirmed until Nova gets back with you and our Outdoor Camp Reservation system has confirmed your reservation. It is a good idea to also book the STEM Outpost building if you want to use the inside for tables and restrooms. Please let the Outdoor team know you will be fishing so they can plan accordingly.

Contact Nova Clarke at or 620-238-5362.



Intro to Fishing Activities

This program can be customized to the activities that the troop would like. Options include:

  1. *Fishing – the girls will learn basic rules and regulations about fishing, how to bait hooks, cast, and then fish and practicing Leave No Trace with fishing (45 minutes minimum but can be extended to however long the girls want to fish)
  2. Knot-tying – the girls will learn how to tie the basic knots for fishing (20 min)
  3. Back-yard bass – A fun practice casting activity with plastic fish that can be done anywhere (20 min + depending on how much fun they are having). Typically better for younger girls. 
  4. *Macro-Invertebrates – The girls will learn about some of the creatures that live in the water and how they relate to water quality and providing the food source for fish. (30 minutes)
  5. Fish-printing – Creating art with fish and paint.  This activity should be done early in the program to allow the paint time to dry. (Time depends on the number of girls and how detailed the art ends up being)
  6. Junior Fishing Ranger – We can either work on the book as a group or the girls can download and do it ahead of time and then we can do a formal swearing in ceremony and presentation of the badges.

*These two activities are better suited for spring, summer, and early fall.  The other activities can be done year-round.

Materials Needed: If fishing, the girls should wear closed toed shoes or water shoes and bring a towel that they can wipe their hands on after handling fish or worms.  All other materials will be provided. 

Additional Info: 

  • There needs to be a 1:4 ratio of adults to girls if actual fishing is desired. The adults need to be comfortable handling fish and removing hooks from fish the girls catch as well as handling worms to assist with hook baiting.
  • Caregivers/Troop Leaders will need to book space at Camp Tongawood FIRST at, then reach out to Nova to schedule. You are not confirmed until Nova gets back with you and checks that camp is scheduled.

Badge/Journey Connections: Brownie Badge: Outdoor Art Creator, Junior Badge: Outdoor Art Explorer, Cadette Badge: Outdoor Art Apprentice, Senior Badge: Outdoor Art Expert, Ambassador Badge: Outdoor Art Master, Brownie Badge: Eco Friend, Junior Badge: Eco Camper, Cadette Badge: Eco Trekker

Outcomes: Develops a strong sense of self. Seeks challenges and learns from setbacks.