Programs

Learning For All Ages

Welcome to NatureWorksPark! We offer a variety of educational programs geared towards students, youth, seniors and schools. As an educational learning destination, we welcome you to attend any or all of the seasonal programs at NatureWorksPark. Suzanne Black, our Conservation Education Specialist for the Blair County Conservation District will be happy to schedule your group. You may attend any of the programs listed on the calendar, or schedule an individual group program by emailing SBlack@BlairConservationDistrict.org.

YOUTH PROGRAMS

BUTTERFLIES, BIRDS AND BEES! (May and June)

Learn about the importance of native plants for pollinators and local wildlife. Children will actively learn the process of pollination, and go through metamorphosis to become a beautiful monarch butterfly. At the end of the program they will make a seed-ball containing native plants to start their own pollinator garden.

Research from Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware has determined that 90 percent of our native insects are specialists that feed on three or fewer families of plants. These insects rely on native plant hosts and cannot eat exotic plants that are common in our yards and local nurseries. A decline in native insects means there will be a reduction in local bird species due to not enough food to feed their young. What we plant in our yards will determine the kind of wildlife that can live in Pennsylvania in the future!

IS YOUR STREAM CLEAN? (May and June)

What is a macroinvertebrate? Macroinvertebrates are tiny insects that live in streams. They are a food source for many fish and other aquatic organisms. Children will get wet when they are introduced to aquatic macroinvertebrates, learn about the major segments (head, thorax, and abdomen) and differentiation between larval, nymph, and adult stages. They will catch live stream macroinvertebrates and identify them using a dichotomous key to determine if their local stream is clean enough to sustain a healthy fish population. Bring your water shoes for this fun adventure!

MY GARDEN (June)

Learn how to start and care for your own garden full of food you love to eat! Children will learn about the different parts of a plant and why each one is important. They will learn proper technique to plant seeds and potted plants. We will explore the soil food web, an invisible world filled with life and death drama! Children will also learn how to improve our garden soil with compost.

TURTLE TALK! (May and June)

Turtles are awesome reptiles. Children will learn the difference between turtles and tortoises with help from our non-native friend Franklin the tortoise. We will learn about and explore the habitat of different species of turtles in Pennsylvania, such as the Common Snapping Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, and Wood Turtle to name a few. You can help the turtles that call Pennsylvania home by protecting their homes from habitat destruction, helping turtles cross the road safely, and when you see a turtle take a picture, don’t pick it up!

SENIOR PROGRAMS

BUTTERFLIES, BIRDS AND BEES! (May and June)

Research from Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware has determined that 90 percent of our native insects are specialists that feed on three or fewer families of plants. These insects rely on native plant hosts and cannot eat exotic plants that are common in our yards and local nurseries. A decline in native insects means there will be a reduction in local bird species due to not enough food to feed their young. What we plant in our back yards will determine the kind of wildlife that can live in Pennsylvania in the future. Learn about native plants and how you can make an impact by planting natives!

URBAN AGRICULTURE (May and June)

Stay active by gardening and growing your own healthy food! We will explore different methods of gardening, and you can choose which is best for you. Learn about soil and different methods of composting to reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill and to create your own natural fertilizer to help your garden grow.

Backyard chicken keeping is surprisingly easy. Chickens can provide hours of entertainment and a healthy source of food. One chicken can de-bug 120 square feet a week, convert 10 lbs of food waste into eggs, fertilize a 50 square foot garden in one month, break the life cycle of pests and disease of one fruit tree within an hour, level a pile of leaf mulch in two days, till 50 square feet of sod in 4-6 weeks, produce enough manure in a month to make one cubic yard of compost from leaves, and help do a quarter of the work turning a compost pile. You will meet a friendly backyard chicken and learn about the supplies necessary to be an urban farmer!

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

WILDLIFE IN WINTER WALK (January)

We will go on a short walk and learn how you can help wildlife survive the winter. Winter can be difficult for our wildlife friends. Temperatures drop rapidly, the smallest creatures may struggle to keep warm, and the larger ones must find enough food to get through the night. During our walk we will discuss how animals survive during the winter, either by hibernating, staying active or migrating. And we will talk about ways we can help them by planting native plants, making brush piles for shelter, and not trimming tall grasses and bushes back in the fall.

RIPARIAN BUFFERS, WHY DO WE NEED THEM? (August)

Location location location! We will discuss where, how and why you should plant your own riparian buffer. Do you live near a small stream? Learn about the importance of riparian buffers, and why they are necessary to shade and prevent pollution from reaching our water.

RAIN BARRELS AND RAIN GARDENS, DO YOUR PART! (May and June)

Even if your backyard is small, you can make a difference in local water quality! Do you have a wet spot in your yard that never seems to dry out? You may have the perfect spot for a rain garden. Learn about the native plants that do well with wet soil and how you can add a beautiful and natural landscape display to your property. Are you interested in collecting free water for your garden or landscape? Learn how to make a rain barrel to collect water from your downspout.

PLANTS FOR POLLINATORS (May and June)

Learn about the importance of native plants for pollinators in our area. Research from Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware has determined that 90 percent of our native insects are specialists that feed on three or fewer families of plants. These insects rely on native plant hosts and cannot eat exotic plants that are common in our yards and local nurseries. A decline in native insects means there will be a reduction in local bird species due to not enough food to feed their young. What we plant in our yards will determine the kind of wildlife that can live in Pennsylvania in the future!

STREAM MONITORING (May and June)

Learn how to easily check your local stream’s water quality. What is a macroinvertebrate? Macroinvertebrates are tiny insects that live in streams. They can be a quick and simple way to determine if your local stream is healthy. We will catch live stream macroinvertebrates and identify them using a dichotomous key to determine if the water is clean enough to sustain a healthy fish population.

URBAN AGRICULTURE (May and June)

Gardening 101 Stay active by gardening and growing your own organic food! We will explore different methods of gardening, and you can choose which is best for you. Learn about soil and different methods of composting to reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill and to create your own natural fertilizer to help your garden grow. Backyard Chickens Backyard chicken keeping is surprisingly easy. Chickens can provide hours of entertainment and a healthy source of food. One chicken can de-bug 120 square feet a week, convert 10 lbs of food waste into eggs, fertilize a 50 square foot garden in one month, break the life cycle of pests and disease of one fruit tree within an hour, level a pile of leaf mulch in two days, till 50 square feet of sod in 4-6 weeks, produce enough manure in a month to make one cubic yard of compost from leaves, and help do a quarter of the work turning a compost pile. You will meet a friendly backyard chicken and learn about the supplies necessary to be an urban farmer!

SCHOOL PROGRAMS

WATER FESTIVAL (April)

What is a watershed? A watershed is an area of land that contains a common set of streams and rivers that drain into a single larger body of water. Such as a larger river, lake or ocean. We will learn about our local watershed and the impact it has on the Chesapeake Bay. Importance of water quality Water quality is important because it directly affects the health of the people, animals and plants that use the water. We will explore an enviroscape model to simulate the different types of pollution that can have a negative impact on our water quality. Stream study Learn how to easily check your local stream’s water quality. What is a macroinvertebrate? Macroinvertebrates are tiny insects that live in streams. They can be a quick and simple way to determine if your local stream is healthy. We will catch live stream macroinvertebrates and identify them using a dichotomous key to determine if the water is clean enough to sustain a healthy fish population. What can we do? (Riparian buffers and rain gardens) Learn about the importance of riparian buffers, wetlands and rain gardens. A river lab will be used to demonstrate how riparian buffers can help prevent erosion, water pollution and flooding. We will also explore other methods to control water runoff using the “Rain to Drain” kit developed by Penn State Extension. Students will explore how a green roof, porous concrete, gravel roads, and rain gardens can prevent flooding, water pollution and increase our ground water.

WILDLIFE, WOODS, AND WETLANDS (September, October and May)

WILDLIFE Invasive species and the food web Using a food web demonstration, students will learn how the different species in a habitat are interconnected. They will see the habitat destruction that can occur if an invasive species is introduced and learn how they can prevent and control invasive species in their area. Plants for pollinators Learn about the importance of native plants for pollinators in our area. Research from Dr. Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware has determined that 90 percent of our native insects are specialists that feed on three or fewer families of plants. These insects rely on native plant hosts and cannot eat exotic plants that are common in our yards and local nurseries. A decline in native insects means there will be a reduction in local bird species due to not enough food to feed their young. What we plant in our yards will determine the kind of wildlife that can live in Pennsylvania in the future! Students will explore the symbiotic relationship between some plants and insects that make them their home. We will discuss the importance of planting natives and make seed balls of native plants to take home to start their own pollinator garden.

WOODS Why do we need trees? Learn the importance of trees. We need them to breathe, build homes and furniture. They are also important for animals and streams. Students will learn to identify a few species of trees and learn about pests and diseases that can affect our local tree species.

WETLAND What is a wetland? Wetlands are important parts of the landscape. They benefit people, fish and wildlife. They help improve local water quality, provide habitat for wildlife, and store floodwaters. Students will identify several wetland plants, explore wetland soil, and look for wildlife that make wetlands their home. Even when not in plain view, the animals can leave tracks behind. We will identify any clues we find!

TURTLE TALK! (May and June)

Turtles are awesome reptiles. Students will learn the difference between turtles and tortoises with help from our non-native friend Franklin the tortoise. We will learn about and explore the habitat of different species of turtles in Pennsylvania, such as the Common Snapping Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, and Wood Turtle to name a few. You can help the turtles that call Pennsylvania home by protecting their homes from habitat destruction, helping turtles cross the road safely, and when you see a turtle take a picture, don’t pick it up!

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