Parks & Recreation
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ATTENTION TEACHERS, CIVIC GROUPS
AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:
Teacher's Handbook in PDF available for download.
Nixon County Park is the only one of the eleven county parks that is set aside exclusively for environmental education. The Park offers an outstanding environmental education experience for area school students, teachers and administrators.
A wide variety of programs are available for school students as well as civic organizations. If you are interested in scheduling a field trip or visiting with a group of ten or more on your own, call the Nature Center at (717) 428-0356 and ask to speak with a naturalist.
Field Trips are free for groups located within York County. A nominal fee of $2 per student is required for groups located outside of York County. As a York County Park, we are proud to offer area residents a quality educational experience and an entertaining day.
WHAT IS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR GRADE LEVEL?:
Fox Story Time (Approximately 1.5 hours) The 30 minute story time includes a delightful nature story and time afterwards to freely explore the center with your group.
We will take a 45 minute nature walk. The walk will be followed by a brief introduction to the Center and approximately 20 minutes to freely explore the exhibits inside.
First grade through high school:
(Each Activity time is approximately 1 hour) Groups can select more than one program along with a 30 minute lunch for a full day field trip. All programs are correlated to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. A variety of outdoor and indoor programs as follows are available for these ages:
General Nature Walk (all ages) - An excellent walk during all seasons. Upon request, the naturalist can concentrate on habitats, predator/prey relationships, wildlife, seasons, and more.
Five Senses Walk (K-2nd grade) - This walk is designed to teach children how animals use their senses and how people can use their senses to improve observation skills.
Geology Walk (3rd grade and up) - A one mile walk (very steep hill) to discuss the geology of the area.
Botany Walk (3rd grade and up) - A walk to discuss the role of plants in the life cycle.
Aquatic Study (3rd grade and up) - A program that allows students to explore the stream. Includes discussions water habitats, aquatic life, and hands-on collection of aquatic species. It is required that students bring a change of shoes.
Landscaping for Wildlife (3rd grade and up) - This program concentrates on how students can create habitats in their backyard or school grounds to provide the seasonal needs of native wildlife.
Succession Walk (6th grade and up) - A half mile walk (with hills) to discuss succession in nature.
Tree Walk (6th grade and up) - A one mile walk (with hills) to focus on identification of trees.
Soil, We Can’t Live Without It (3rd grade and up) - Discusses the formation of rocks, the differences between rocks and minerals, fossils, geologic time and soil formation.
Northwest Territory (all ages) - Examines habitats and the physical adaptations for sight, sound and smell that help animals survive.
African Safari (all ages) - Journey across the Atlantic to the dust, heat and drama of Africa. From the mighty bull elephant to the elegant impala, we will learn about predator prey relationships, camouflage, the art of speed, teamwork and more.
Arctic Adventure (all ages) - challenges groups to compare their survival skills with those creatures inhabiting this cold, dry, diverse region of the world.
Insects in Your World (3rd grade and up) - Explains the habitats and life cycles of insects, our most abundant wildlife. This program can include collecting time outside (depending on the season) upon request.
Birds of Prey (3rd grade and up) - Covers the natural history of raptors as well as their physical adaptations and role in nature.
Reptiles (3rd grade and up) - Features reptile natural history, behavior and the importance of these animals.
Going Batty! (3rd grade and up) - Promotes bat conservation by dispelling the myths about bats and promoting the fascinating facts about these creatures.
Birds at Your Feeder (3rd grade and up) - A winter program for small groups (20 or less) to learn bird identification tips, how to use a field guide, bird physiology and how to create your own feeding stations at home or school.
Scavenger Hunt(all ages) - The purpose of the hunt is to encourage students to take time to read and/or look closely at the displays in the center. Teachers, please read "How to Prepare for a Scavenger Hunt". Download the 1st-3rd grade scavenger hunt booklet or the 3rd grade and up booklet.
Watershed Day (4th grade and up) - Select up to 4 of the following hour-long programs:
Intro to Watersheds- Explore watersheds and sources of pollution with the three-dimensional "Enviroscape" watershed model. Students become game pieces in the "Really Big Watershed Game" as they travel downstream and learn the natural and human sources of water pollution.
Watershed Walk - Students take a hike throughout the watershed to identify characteristics of the watershed and the human, plant, and animal actions that affect it.
Watershed Field Investigation Physical and Chemical Data - Students determine water quality through chemical testing and gather physical data such as velocity, temperature, depth, width and slope.
Watershed Field Investigation Biological Sampling - Students collect and examine aquatic organisms to determine water quality. It is recommended that students bring a change of shoes.
Watershed Journaling - Classroom teachers lead this journaling exercise to help students appreciate and understand natural areas in a watershed.
Biodiversity Day (4th grade and up) - Select up to 3 of the following hour-long programs:
Bioblitz Survey - Students will explore in great detail one small square of a natural area within the park, taking an inventory of all living things within the square. Students will develop observation and identification skills as they identify plants, animals, fungi, and more. They will become aware of the variety of life in their park in addition to understanding the interactions of these living organisms.
Biodiversity Hike - To understand the bigger picture, students will take a hike in the park, exploring several different habitats, discussing threats to biodiversity and learning how to preserve biodiversity. Past, present and future environmental impact on changing biodiversity will be examined.
Biodiversity Scavenger Hunt - There are indoor and outdoor versions of this scavenger hunt. A booklet of questions focuses the students' attention on the variety of life in our world and the interaction of different life forms. They will examine habitats, food chains, endangered species, as well as helpful and harmful natural interactions. Teachers will need to supervise the students during this activity.
My Side of the Mountain Day (4th grade and up) -Students will have to read Jean Craighead George's Newberry Medal winning story "My Side of the Mountain" before their field trip. Each of the following programs is one hour long.
My side of the Mountain Review and Journaling - A park naturalist will review the story with students and discuss the importance of Sam's journal. Students will then go outside to individual spots along the trail to make nature observations in their journal. Teachers will need to supply paper for the students to journal.
Edible Plants Walk - Students will take a walk to discover edible plants, teas, and seasonings. They will discuss the foods that Sam found on his mountain and will sample various edible plants in season. Please let the naturalist know of any students with food allergies when reserving this program.
Birds of Prey - Sam raises and trains a young peregrine falcon he names Frightful. Frightful not only catches food for Sam, but becomes a companion as well. This program will cover the natural history of raptors as well as their physical adaptations and role in nature.