School Programs

Children of all ages delight in the wonders of nature while exploring cross-cutting science concepts on our 950-acre Watershed Reserve. Students are immersed in investigations, data collection, and analysis. This hands-on approach helps students become informed consumers of scientific and technical information.

Full-Day and Multi-Day NGSS Programs                                     

The Watershed works in partnership with New Jersey schools to improve science education by helping them implement a new strategy called the “Next Generation Science Standards” (NGSS). This approach places a greater emphasis on scientific inquiry and hands-on learning, and much less focus on simply memorizing facts and terms. The new standards entail the teaching of eight scientific “practices,” which include asking questions and defining problems, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, engaging in argument from evidence, designing solutions and communicating information.

Ask your student’s school about partnering with the Watershed to bring these robust and fascinating programs there.

Please explore our current offerings for school groups, taking note of the grade level and maximum group size.  Our staff can create or adapt a program to reflect the Next Generation Science Standards, if desired. Please call the Watershed’s Education Department for more details: (609) 737-3735 x11.

Explore Our Programs

Exploring a Pond  

Grades 1- 12

Full Day Program

Students use a variety of tools to learn about life in and around our Wargo Pond. They will explore the relationships between various animals as well as the impact of human activities on aquatic life. Students in Grades 5 and up will view pond life with our microscopes. Available mid-April through early October.

How Clean is Your Stream

Grades 5-12

Full Day Program

Students will examine stream life and discuss relationships between the various inhabitants as well as the effect of humans on their environment. Students will determine the stream’s environmental health through visual assessment, chemical testing, and biological monitoring. They will also discuss various conservation measures. Available from mid-April to early October.

Animals and Habitats

PreK-Grade 12

1/2 Day Program

Students discover different habitats and evidence of a variety of animals at the Watershed Reserve. They will investigate how animals meet their basic needs, including where they live and what they eat. Students will learn how to identify animal tracks, feathers, fur, scat and other signs left by local wildlife. Available year-round.

Discover the Season  

PreK-Grade 2

1/2 Day Program

Explore the magic that each season brings to our fields and forests. The students learn about the science of leaves changing color, animal migration and hibernation, springtime’s rebirth and summer’s wonders. Students do a discovery walk and make a large classroom mural based on their observations. Available year-round.

The Migration Challenge 

Grades 4-8

1/2 Day Program

Become a bird and try to migrate to your new home … but watch out for power lines, jets and bad weather! Travel on the Watershed Reserve trails in an imaginary migration route where each individual meets with perils and pitfalls. Learn about New Jersey’s importance in the annual avian migration.

The Food Web  

Grades 1- 6

1/2 Day Program

Children will learn how the sun’s energy vitalizes the food web, how life is interconnected and explore examples of food chains in our outdoor classrooms. The students will explore predator and prey relationships through games and during an interpretive hike. Available year-round.

Insect Safari

Grades K-12

1/2 Day Program

Students will examine stream life and discuss relationships between the various inhabitants as well as the effect of humans on their environment. Students will gauge the stream’s environmental health through visual assessment, chemical testing, and biological monitoring. They will also discuss various conservation measures. Available from mid-April to early October.

Maple Sugaring

Grades K-12

1/2 Day Program

Discover the magic and science of one of nature’s most tasty treats – maple syrup! Learn how the trees are tapped and take part in a maple syrup taste test. Available only in February and March.

Meet the Critters

Grades PreK-1

1/2 Day Program

Children will meet the animals in our Discovery Room and use their senses to learn more about nature before they venture out on a short hike.

Native American Lifestyles & Lore

PreK-Grade 3

1/2 Day Program

What did Native American children do for fun? Take a hike through the forest, tell stories and play some Native American game. Children will also examine plants and tools used by Native Americans. Then we all join in a sharing circle to find out more about the lives of Native Americans.

Did Leni Lenape use STEM? 

Grades 4-6

1/2 Day Program

Students will have a brief review of Native American culture and then collaborate to solve problems using primitive technologies. In small groups, students will use critical thinking to design and produce tools and household objects with materials that were available to the Lenape.

Survival 

Grades 4-12

1/2 Day Program

Would your class survive if it were lost in the wilderness for a night? Through group exploration and discussion, students will discover the basics of securing shelter, water, and food in the woods. Students will collaborate to build their own shelters from woodland materials.

Trees

Grades K-6

1/2 Day Program

Unravel the mysteries of trees. Become a part of a tree and find out how trees work as we explore tree life processes and products. Upper elementary students will use forestry tools to measure the trees and determine the approximate age.

Beautiful Butterflies

Grades 1-8

1/2 Day Program

Explore the life cycle and various behaviors of butterflies. Learn to identify the different stages of life and observe butterflies inside of the Kate Gorrie the Butterfly House. Then students use sweep nets to explore insect life on the Watershed Reserve. Available May-September.

Butterfly Magic

PreK-K

1/2 Day Program

Can you say “caterpillar’? Enjoy a butterfly story, song and craft as we learn about these amazing creatures! Step into the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House for a peek at butterfly magic. Available May-September.

Monarchs and Migration

Grades 1-8

1/2 Day Program

Why do some animals migrate? Can a butterfly really fly all the way to Mexico? Learn about monarch migration and conservation efforts. Available in September only.

Bring the fun of a Watershed field trip to your school. Imagine the excitement when our professional educators present a program right in your facility. We can also run these programs at our Watershed Center.

Small Group Programs for up to 30 students: $150 for the first hour (1 hour minimum), $75 for each additional hour. Additional mileage fees for locations more than 30 miles from Pennington.

Nature’s Winter World

PreK-Grade 1

1 Hour

Learn about the lives of animals in winter through stories and puppets. Discover how different animals survive the challenges of winter by meeting a variety of creatures, including a groundhog, a skunk, a bird, and an insect (all puppets) as well as a live turtle. Available December – February.

Reptiles Are Fun

PreK-Grade 2

1 Hour

Children are introduced to reptiles through a story and a lesson about how they live and survive in the wild. This includes a visit by some live reptiles. Available December-February.

Assembly Programs for up to 250 students: $250 for the first program, $150 for additional program on the same day.

Insects All Around

Grades 2-6

1 Hour

Are there really bugs in my candy? Discover the uses of insect products in our everyday lives. Explore some of the myths, mysteries, and importance of our insect neighbors.

Native American Animal Tales

Grades K-4

1 Hour

Why does a vulture have a bald head and why is a possum’s tail like a rope? Students will become involved in the story of turtle, fox, and spider and will discover some fun facts about animals in this creative-theater program. The story, based on a legend from the Muskogee Creek tribe (original residents of the American southeast, particularly Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina) will be followed by an animal slideshow.

Interactive Program: $350 for the first hours,  $150 foreach additional hour on the same day.

Downstream: A Watershed Game

Grades 5-12

1 Hour

Bring our Teacher-Naturalists to your school! This play-oriented, outdoor activity shows various factors that affect water quality as a stream moves through the landscape. After an introduction, the students will roll a giant die and then imagine their travels downstream on one of three waterways (rural, suburban, and urban). As they flow through the landscape, they will encounter natural and human elements that alter their water quality. The action concludes with all participants flowing into the same lake. Students will examine how the landscape influences water quality and will also discuss and explore strategies for maintaining and improving water quality. Available year round, requires a large, open area (inside or outside).

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