Diverse statewide programs promise one-of-a-kind educational experiences in the great outdoors
Outdoor fun and learning go hand in hand, and Pennsylvania offers dozens of opportunities for visitors to enjoy both while experiencing the state’s diverse natural landscapes. Environmental educators at dozens of state parks offer a wide variety of environmental education, curriculum-based and interpretive programs. From stream walks, to lagoon paddles and animal demonstrations, participants go home with conservation tips, a sense of stewardship, revelations about Pennsylvania’s species and habitats–and even encounters with wildlife–all while having fun in the outdoors and maybe even learning a new skill.
Four Pennsylvania state parks are designated environmental education centers: Nolde Forest near Reading, Jennings near Butler, Kings Gap in Carlisle and Jacobsburg near Nazareth, and others, including Nescopeck, Delaware Canal, Raccoon Creek and Ohiopyle state parks, all have outstanding learning opportunities as well. While offering day-use recreation in their forests and fields, these centers conduct in-depth programming for students, teachers and visitors.
Many private organizations also offer exciting educational opportunities spanning conservation, outdoor activities and more. Orvis’ Farmington, Pennsylvania-based fly-fishing schools take both new and experienced students into the Laurel Highlands for one or two-day fishing courses with the experts, while The Central PA Conservancy’s Goddard Leadership Legacy Institute teaches high school students about civic engagement and natural resources over six days at Pine Grove State Park. The Pennsylvania Chapter of Trout Unlimited also offers programs for youth and novices both in and out of the classroom, focusing on conserving Pennsylvania’s coldwater streams.