Learning For All
Join us at NatureWorksPark! As an environmental learning destination, we welcome you to attend any or all of the scheduled programs at NatureWorksPark. For inquiries about scheduling your group, contact J.T. Bandzuh, our Conservation Education Specialist. J.T. would be happy to host your group at NatureWorksPark! Below are the programs offered at NatureWorksPark. For a full list of conservation education programs offered by the Blair County Conservation District, visit our website!
SCHOOL & YOUTH PROGRAMS
Annual Water Festival | April & May
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.
BEES, BIRDS, AND BUTTERFLIES! | May & 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.
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 & 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 | May & 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! | July
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!
ADULT & 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.
GARDENING 101 | May & 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.
RAIN BARRELS AND RAIN GARDENS: DO YOUR PART! | May & 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.
STREAM MONITORING | May & June
Learn how to easily check your local stream’s water quality. 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.
PLANTS FOR POLLINATORS | June & July
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!
RIPARIAN BUFFERS: WHY DO WE NEED THEM? | September
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 more about the importance of riparian buffers, and why they are necessary to shade and prevent pollution from reaching our water.