School Programs

ATTENTION TEACHERS, CIVIC GROUPS
AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:

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.  The nature center does not currently provide programs for visiting summer camps, although you may visit the nature center with the guidance of your own staff.  Click here for PDF of summer fun museum scavenger hunt: Scavenger Hunt PDF (You must bring your own copies).

REGISTRATION:School Field Trip

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) 428-1961 and ask to speak with a naturalist.  We strongly recommend groups of 10 or more call in advance to schedule your visit even if you do not require assistance from park staff.  This way we can inform you of any parts of the grounds or nature center that will be closed, special events taking place, if there is an admission fee, or if spaces will already be in use by large groups to help you plan your trip accordingly.

Fall/winter field trip registration (Sept 2021-Feb 2022) opens Tuesday, August 3, 2021.

Spring field trip registration (Trips for Mar-June 2022) opens Wed, Dec 1, 2021Call the nature center on or after this date to register your group between 8:30am-4:30pm.  Please have multiple date options ready.

Please note that Nixon County Park Nature Center is closed on Mondays and staff will not be available to take registrations.

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.  

Field Trip Policy Update Beginning July 2018: Naturalist-led field trips must have at least 15 students in a 3 grade or fewer grade range. Groups with students outside the grade range need to provide adult supervision for those children separate from the field trip programs.

Click for Teacher Pre-Registration Checklist.

 

Covid 19 Modified Offerings for 2021 Fall Season:

On-Site Field Trips for Pre-K-12: Available Wednesdays Only

A visit to Nixon Park this year will include a 45 minute to 1 hour 15 minute naturalist-led nature walk, followed or preceded by a 30 minute guided nature center tour. Please let park staff know of any themes or vocabulary you would like to focus on during your visit. Group sizes, field trip schedule, and additional naturalist-led lessons are somewhat flexible and will be scheduled on an individual basis. 

 

Virtual Field Trips for K-12: Available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays

Schedule a virtual field trip with a park naturalist for your classes. Available lessons are listed below. Lessons can take from 30 minutes to an hour depending on grade level and student participation. Zoom meeting is prefered but other platforms will be accomodated if possible. Stream us into your classroom, or invite us to your virtual morning meeting! We can schedule classes individually, but due to high demand, it's even better if you can include multiple classes per "trip". 

Mammals of PA

Explore the adaptations of our most common furry animals, learn how they survive, and what makes them a "mammal". 

Additional Resources Related to this Lesson:

Animal Tracks and Traces Brochure by PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources

Mammal Tracks and Scat Guide by Lynn Levine and Martha Mitchell

Animals in Winter

Which animals hibernate? Which animals migrate? How does our most familiar wildlife survive the winter?  

Intro to Schoolyard Wildlife

What animals and signs of animals can we find around the schoolyard habitat? Learn what common birds, bugs, and mammals you are likely to observe! 

Additional Resources Related to this Lesson: 

Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Activity Sheet by York County Parks

Animal Tracks and Traces Brochure by PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources

Mammal Tracks and Scat Guide by Lynn Levine and Martha Mitchell

Predators Versus Prey

Investigate the traits that make an animal a great predator! Virtually look at animal skulls as we investigate their features. Learn how to tell if an animal is a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore by looking at it's teeth! 

Additional Resources Related to this Lesson: 

Predators and Prey Drawing Worksheet by York County Parks

Reptiles of PA

Explore the different groups of reptiles and the most common ones you can see in York County! What makes these creatures unqiue and interesting? 

Additional Resources Related to this Lesson:

Turtles by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY 2006

Snakes by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY 2012

Frogs by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY 2012

Lizards by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY 2012

Salamanders by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY 2012

Turtle Shells by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY

What is an Amphibian? by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY

What is a Reptile? by Fish and Boat Commission PLAY

Turtle Poster by Fish and Boat Commission

Copperhead Strike Survey Graphic by Susquehannock Wildlife Society

Hellbender Poster by Susquehannock Wildlife Society

Turtle Crossing Poster by Susquehannock Wildlife Society

Full Scientific Article on Copperhead Bites from Acta Herpetologica 2020

Insects of PA

Learn the characteristics of insects, how they survive, and why we need them! 

Additional Resources Related to this Lesson:

Smithsonian Institution - Butterflies in the United States

Cricket Observation Activity by 4H

Pitfall Trap Experiment by 4H

Ant Life Cycle Coloring Page by Arizona State University

Insect Masks by Arizona State University

Monarch Life Cycle Coloring Page by Arizona State University

Invent an Insect Worksheet by California Academy of Science

Label Insect Body Parts Worksheet by California Academy of Science

True Bugs Coloring Page by University of Arizona

Aquatic Insect Coloring Book by Utah State University

 

Virtual Mini Field Trips for PreK: Available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, In person visits available Wednesdays

Schedule a virtual mini-lesson with a park naturalist for your classes. Available lessons are listed below. Lessons can take from 30  minutes to 45 minutes depending on age and student participation. Zoom meeting is prefered but other platforms will be accomodated if possible. Stream us into your classroom, or invite us to your virtual morning meeting!  In person field trips are also 30-45 minutes, then teachers can lead their own scavenger hunt or walk to the pond. 

Owl Babies 

Read the story "Owl Babies" together. Learn about the common owl species found in PA. Listen to their sounds as we investigate the traits of owls with our owl taxidermy. After the lesson, sing some owl songs! 

Turtle at Long Pond

 Read about a day in the life of a box turtle and then meet a live turtle.