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School/Group Programs

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Dear Teachers, Group Leaders, and Program Coordinators, 

Are you looking for an affordable, stress-free field trip or outreach program that fosters an appreciation for nature? Look no further than Litchfield Hills’ own White Memorial Conservation Center! School groups, homeschool organizations, scout troops, libraries, garden clubs, and all other groups with participants ranging from preschoolers to adults are encouraged to schedule a nature experience with us by calling 860-567-0857. Financial aid is available to qualified schools and groups on a first-come, first-served basis.  

FIELD TRIPS 
From hiking a trail to visiting the Museum to participating in a guided program, there is so much to do here!Located conveniently off of Route 202 in rural Litchfield, CT, White Memorial provides an array of opportunities to learn about our natural world for groups as small as 10 students to as large as 120 at a time. Rotations can be set up for larger groups. When lunchtime rolls around, we have plenty of lawn space and picnic tables for your whole group. 

White Memorial Conservation Center is nestled within the 4,000 acre wildlife sanctuary of The White Memorial Foundation. This expanse of diverse habitats provides an ideal “outdoor classroom” for promoting awareness, understanding, and respect for the natural world. 

White Memorial is known for its 40-mile network of hiking trails, including several trails that are accessible right from the Main parking lot. Try a leisurely ¼ mile walk around Ongley Pond, a picturesque 1-mile loop on the Lake Trail, or a ½ mile educational journey on the Interpretive Trail Loop, whichhas an accompanying brochure. The use of our entire 4,000 acre outdoor property is completely free and open to the public. Print this Outdoor Scavenger Hunt to challenge your students on any of the trails. You may also choose to visit the Gift Shop (in the yellow building) while you’re in the Main Area. 

Did you know we also have a quality, interactiveNature Museum that captivates people of all ages? The discounted group fee for Museum admission is $3/person (must be 10 or more people). Feel free to use this Museum Scavenger Hunt if you would like to further engage your students while they go through the Museum (we have copies ready for you here). 

To top it all off, we offer 50 different education programs to bring your field trip to the next level. Programs are taught by experienced professional educators and often include live animal encounters! White Memorial Conservation Center has established a tradition of providing quality environmental education programming since 1964.  

Programs take place either in the classroom of the Nature Museum or out on the grounds of White Memorial. Typical programs last 45 minutes and cost $95 each (maximum of 30 people per program, including chaperones). Due to the time it takes to meet multiple badge requirements, scout programs last up to 1 ½ hours and cost $120. If you book just one of our education programs, admission to the Museum becomes FREE!  

Program descriptions are listed below, along with the Next Generation Science Standards and CT ELD Standards they complement when applicable. Programs denoted by a caret (^) are best suited for audiences of children. Programs denoted by an asterisk (*) are best suited for adults. All other programs can be geared toward  all ages and audiences. If you do not see a program that meets your needs, we can possibly customize a program for your group. 

Unlike some of the larger museums and field trip destinations in our region, White Memorial is nestled in a rural environment that is easy to get to and uniquely serene. We don’t get flooded by big crowds and you sure won’t encounter many traffic jams around here! You also won’t feel like you’re getting funneled through a never-ending procession of school groups. Frankly, we think you’ll find the atmosphere here pretty laid back, which is the perfect setting for learning about the beautiful natural world around us.

OUTREACHES 
Can’t make it to us? We’ll come to you, either in person or virtuallyMost of the education programs we offer can be presented at your facility or onlineExpect an appearance of a live critter or two in many of our programs.  

Program descriptions are listed below, along with the Next Generation Science Standards and CT ELD Standards they complement when applicable. Programs denoted by a caret (^) are best suited for audiences of children. Programs denoted by an asterisk (*) are best suited for adults. All other programs listed work for all ages and audiences. If you do not see a program that meets your needs, we can customize a program for your group.

Typical in-person outreach programs last 45 minutes – 1 hour and cost $175 plus 58¢ per mile round-trip from White Memorial. Replicate programs (on the same day) are $130. Maximum audience size for one outreach program is 50 people. More than 50 people is considered an assembly, which costs $210 for the first assembly plus 58¢ per mile round-trip from White Memorial. Replicate assemblies (on the same day) are $185. 

We also offer shortened outreach programs for preschoolers (30 minutes), which cost $130 as opposed to the typical $175. The most appropriate programs for preschoolers are those listed below with CT ELD Standards accompanying them. 

We have adapted many of our programs to work well into the virtual realm.  
Virtual programs last anywhere from 30 minutes (for younger groups) to 1.5 hours (for adults) and cost $150 for the first program and $100 for any additional programs booked at the same time. Many of the programs listed below can be done virtually, but not all of them, so please ask about program options. 

We also have a number of pre-recorded programs, which gives your group the flexibility to watch them at any time. For a cost of $100 for each program, we’ll send you a private link to a video on YouTube. Please inquire about which programs are available in this format.    

Call 860-567-0857 or email carrie@whitememorialcc.org to schedule your nature experience, whether it be a field trip or outreach, with White Memorial Conservation Center. Once again, program options are listed below. 

Sincerely, 
Carrie Szwed 
Education Director 

Animal Adaptations

One of our most popular programs, Animal Adaptations uses natural props, animal mounts, and a couple of LIVE animals to illustrate the definitions of both a structural and behavioral adaptation, as well as how adaptations help animals survive in different environments. Participants will then be shown “mystery props” from local animals, for which they will propose how these body parts serve as adaptations for the animals.
NGSS: (3)-LS4.B,C; (4)-LS1.A; (MS)-LS1.B; (MS)-LS4.B,C; SEP: Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information; CC: Structure & Function

Animal Appetites^

Using animal mounts and a couple of live animals as teaching tools, we’ll define (or review) the different levels of a food chain/web and find out what special features these animals have for acquiring their food. Watch one of our animals munch on a snack at the end. Onsite or virtual only.
NGSS: (K)-LS1.A; (5)-LS2.A; SEP: Using Models; Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information; CC: Systems & System Models; Energy & Matter; Patterns

Animal Architects*

Egypt, Greece, Rome; from Thomas Jefferson to I. M. Pei; humanity’s history has been chock full of extraordinary architects and architecture. We, however, were not the first to erect monumental structures! While humans had yet to emerge from caves, many animals were going gangbusters impressing mates with their own monuments! Meet some incredible builders in this one-hour picture presentation by Gerri Griswold, celebrating the glory of human and animal architecture. (A kids’ version of this program could be created if requested.)

A Peek at Populations^

Studying the distribution of wildlife allows us to generate hypotheses about their biology and habits. Using toothpicks known as “sticklers” to represent real creatures, we will simulate population dynamics in two distinct scenarios. After creating data maps for each population, participants will combine their data and interpret the potential factors that are influencing these “sticklers.” A live animal will be featured at the end. This program takes 1 full hour, so unfortunately, it does not work well in a rotation schedule. In-person and onsite only.
NGSS: (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A,C; SEP: Constructing Explanations; Analyzing & Interpreting Data; Using Models; Carrying Out Investigations; Obtaining & Evaluating Information; CC: Patterns; Scale, Proportion, & Quantity; Systems

A Plant’s Life^

Plants have a life cycle, just like animals do. Using the more familiar life cycle of an owl for comparison, participants will understand similarities and differences between basic animal and plant life cycles. We’ll cover all aspects of the plant life cycle, including seed germination, growth, flowering, pollination, and seed dispersal. Several interactive activities are included, as well as a visit from a live owl! 
NGSS: (2)-LS2.A; (3)-LS1.B; (4)-LS1.A; (MS)-LS1.B; SEP: Using Models

Bats Are Good Guys

Gerri Griswold presents a lavishly illustrated talk that touches on the basics of one of the most beneficial and maligned animals on our planet–the bat. How many species of bats are there? Where do they live? Why are they so important to us? What is harming them? Those questions and so much more will be addressed. You may even meet a live ambassador, if available!
NGSS: (4)-LS1.A,D; (MS)-LS2.C; (MS)-ESS3.C; (HS)-LS4.C,D; CC: Structure & Function, Stability & Change 

Birding Basics Walk

Do birds seem “over your head” literally and figuratively? Birding can become a fun lifelong hobby once you learn some of the basics of bird identification and observation. On this stroll, we’ll practice using binoculars while scoping White Memorial’s Main Area for common birds, which will be identified by sight and sound. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and layers. This program can easily be modified for any age level, even adults. In-person only. If you would like this program conducted on YOUR property, a scouting charge will be added to the outreach cost. 
(2)-LS4.D; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations

Build a Forest Community

This program discusses the interconnectedness of all life in a forest community. Participants will understand this connection firsthand as they literally construct a community of forest creatures out of sticks. In addition, they will get to meet several forest residents up close to learn how each species is so important to the community they inhabit. In-person only.
NGSS: (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A; SEP: Developing & Using Models; CC: Systems and System Models; Cause & Effect

Classify This^

We’ll discuss how both plants and animals can be placed into groups based on similar characteristics. Students will take part in an activity that reinforces the grouping technique, and will also meet a couple of live animals up close. (This program is similar to “Creature Features,” but includes the classification of plants too.)
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A; (4)-LS1.A; CC: Patterns; System Models; Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 36.5, 48.5, 60.7

Climate Change, Connecticut, and You^

Climate change affects people and wildlife everywhere, even here in CT. The good news is, everyone, even kids, can help combat climate change. This program begins with a kid-friendly overview of the who-what-when-where-why and how’s of global climate change using videos, discussion, and demonstrations. Next we delve into how climate change is affecting CT specifically, featuring a live appearance by a salamander. The programs ends with a fun quiz game that explores how kids can make a real difference by reducing their carbon footprint.
NGSS: (4)ESS3.A; (MS)ESS2.C & D; (MS)ESS3.C & D; SEP: Asking Questions; Using Models; Obtaining & Communicating Information; CC: Cause & Effect; Systems; Energy & Matter; Stability & Change

Creature Features^

What makes a mammal a mammal? Or a reptile a reptile? How about an amphibian an amphibian? Scientists have grouped animals based on similar features. Using natural props, animal mounts, and LIVE animals, we will will break down the characteristics of several major animal groups. (If you’re looking for a program that also discusses the classification of plants, see “Classify THIS.”)
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A; (4)-LS1.A; CC: Patterns; System Models; Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 36.5, 48.5, 60.7

Do the Locomotion^

Participants will get to impersonate animals, and even meet several live animals up close, in order to learn how wildlife move in unique ways to find food and water. Get ready to jump like a frog, slither like a snake, and swim like a fish.
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A
CT ELDS Strand C Science: 48.5, 48.7, 60.7, 60.9

Focus on Food Webs^

Food webs map out who eats whom in an ecosystem. Using a freshwater ecosystem as an example, we will assign each student to an organism and build an intricate food web out of yarn. Which ones are the producers, consumers, and decomposers? How about the herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores? We’ll also touch on how energy from the sun is transferred to plants and then to animals in the food web. We’ll see how disturbance impacts the interconnectedness of the food web. Lastly, students will get to meet a couple charismatic live members of the freshwater ecosystem. In-person only. This program corresponds well with the Pond Prowl program.
NGSS: (5)-PS3.D; (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A,B,C; SEP: Developing & Using Models; CC: Cause & Effect; System & System Models; Energy & Matter; Stability & Change

Get Into Insects!^

What makes an insect an insect and why are they so important? Using artistry and live invertebrates, this program will teach young students what distinguishes and insect and why these cool and crawly critters are an integral part of any ecosystem. Onsite or virtual only. 
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A; SEP: Engaging in Argument from Evidence; CC: Patterns
CT ELDS: Strand C Science: 48.5, 60.7

Guided Museum Tour

White Memorial’s Nature Museum provides a glimpse into the natural diversity found throughout the Foundation’s 4,000-acre wildlife sanctuary. All education programs booked at White Memorial include admission to the Nature Museum for a self-guided tour. However, if you would like a guided tour of the museum, in which our exhibits will be interpreted by a staff person, please sign up for this program. Your group will get to delve further into the museum experience through engaging discussions and activities led by the tour guide. Onsite only.
NGSS: (2)-LS4.D; (3)-LS2.C; (3)-LS4.D; (MS)-LS2.A,C; (MS)-LS4.D; (HS)-PS3.D; (HS)-LS2.C; (HS)-LS4.C,D; (HS)-ESS3.A,C; SEP: Using Models; Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity; System Models; Stability & Change

Habitat Chat^

During this program, we’ll break down the four essential components of a habitat – space, food, water, and shelter. After a fun game reinforcing these components, we’ll use animal mounts and a couple of live ambassadors to learn about native animals that live in CT habitats such as fields, forests, and ponds. Onsite only.
NGSS: (3)LS4.C,D; SEP: Using Computational Thinking; CC: Stability & Change

Helping Nature’s Not-So-Cuddly^

This program teaches children how to be heroes to creatures that often get overlooked or mistreated because of their unhuggable appearance. While meeting a live turtle and snake up close, children will learn how to safely help turtles cross the road, how to create wildlife habitat in their own backyard, and how to advocate for all of “nature’s not-so-cuddly.”
NGSS: (5)-ESS3.C

Iceland Through My Heart*

To say that Iceland might be Gerri Griswold’s second home would be an understatement. Since taking a weekend jaunt to our closest European neighbor in 2002, she has visited “The Land of Fire and Ice” 51 times. Take a one hour trip 66 degrees north and be overwhelmed by the landscape, nature, and people of this breathtaking country which boasts 100% literacy, is the home of the first Parliament established in 930 AD, and possesses the cleanest air and water on our planet.

It’s Alive!^

What makes something a living thing? Why is a rock not a living thing? To help young children understand what is living and nonliving in nature, we will use natural props, animal mounts, and even a couple of LIVE animals. Of course, being that we are animals, we’ll also discuss what makes US alive!
NGSS: (K)-LS1.C; (1)-LS1.B,D; CC: Patterns
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 36.5, 48.5, 60.7

Litchfield County ROCKS!^

The story of Litchfield County’s geology is action-packed with lots of chapters. This program provides an overview of why the northwestern Connecticut landscape looks the way it does today, covering topics ranging from hill formation during Pangea to more “recent” glaciation. Students will also learn what our most common rock and mineral types are in the area, and how to identify them in their own yards. 
NGSS: (4)-ESS1.C; (4)-ESS2.B; (MS)-ESS2.A,B,C; CC: Patterns; Stability & Change

Measuring Our Impact^

Human activity clearly has a major impact on the natural environment and its inhabitants. Historically, much of this impact has been negative. After discussing several causes of species endangerment, we’ll take an interactive survey to find out how to make sure our environmental footprint for the future is a positive one. A couple of live animals and several natural props will enhance the program.
NGSS: (3)-ESS2.D; (4)-ESS2.E; (4)-ESS3.A; (5)-LS2.A; (5)-ESS3.C; (MS)-LS2.A,C,D; (MS)-ESS3.A,C,D; (HS)-LS4.C,D; (HS)-ETS1.B; SEP: Defining Problems; Interpreting Data; Designing Solutions; CC: Cause & Effect; Scale, Proportion, & Quantity; Stability & Change

Meet the North American Porcupine

Have you ever seen a porcupine in CT? Would you like to know more about Connecticut’s elusive “Quill Pig?” North American Porcupines are large, solitary rodents commonly found in New England. Although they are mostly nocturnal, they can be found perched in the top of a tree during the day. Porcupines are herbivores and typically have 20,000 to 30,000 quills that cover most of their body. Gerri Griswold will address the natural history of one of Connecticut’s most fascinating species and the world’s third-largest rodent in her beautifully-illustrated talk.
NGSS: (4)-LS1.A; CC: Structure & Function

Nevermore: Extinct Species Series*

Gerri Griswold has always been in awe of extinct species. This four part series introduces you to four fascinating animals that have become extinct at the hands of humans: the Thylacine, Great Auk, Passenger Pigeon, and Dodo Bird. Programs can also be presented individually. 

Nick of Time: DDT and Raptors*

Rachel Carson painted a world void of the sounds of insects and birds in her ground-breaking book Silent Spring, published in 1962. Millions were stunned to discover the deadly consequences of our increasing dependence on potent pesticides. Poisons like DDT slowly accumulated in each stage of the food chain, almost destroying some birds of prey like the Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle. Gerri Griswold will give a talk on the history of DDT and the amazing comeback of raptor species with the discontinuation of its use.

Night Hike

During this unique nighttime experience, participants will learn that you don’t need light to discover the night! Using little or no artificial light, we’ll lead you down one of White Memorial’s trails, relying on our other senses to take in the wonders of nature. This program works well for groups that are staying overnight at one of our campgrounds or at The Carriage House, or even for adult groups! Weekday nights only. Onsite and in-person only. Must be scheduled at least 1 month in advance. Cost: $175. Lasts approximately 1½ hours. Maximum of 20 participants per hike. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and layers.
NGSS: (MS)-LS1.D; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Structure & Function

Nowhere is a Place ~ Adventures in Chilean Patagonia*

Spend an hour with Gerri Griswold as she shares breathtaking images from this ethereal travel destination tucked along the tail of the Andes near the bottom of the world. Meet the people, animals, and numerous microclimates that define this mythical place.

Our Local Ecosystems^

White Memorial, as well as many areas in CT, have three main ecosystems: forest, field, and freshwater. After an activity defining “ecosystem,” “biotic,” and “abiotic,” we’ll develop a food chain for these three ecosystems and talk about the flow of energy through them. We’ll also identify the role each inhabitant plays, whether as a producer, consumer, or decomposer. The program concludes with a couple of live animal encounters! In-person only.
NGSS: (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.B,C,D; SEP: Using Models; CC: Patterns; Energy & Matter

Outdoor Discovery Session^

No matter what “green space” we’re in, whether it’s at your site, at White Memorial, or at a park near you, we can find nature! We’ll lead participants in several fun physical activities, including a seek-and-find mission to spy natural items, from cones to acorns to feathers to live critters! Participants will truly get to be immersed in their outdoor environment, wherever it is, while learning some fun facts and ID tips about the natural items all around them. We will work with you beforehand to establish what green space we’ll use and develop the perfect program. For offsite programs, an extra scouting charge may need to be applied. 
NGSS: (K)-LS1.C; (K)-ESS3.A; (1)-LS1.A; (2)-LS4.D; (3)-LS4.C; (4)-LS1.A; (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A,B,C; (HS)-LS2.A,C; (HS)-LS4.C; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Systems; Structure & Function; Stability & Change
CT ELDS: Strand A Science – 48.1, 60.2; Strand C Science – 48.5, 48.7, 60.8, 60.9

Pond Prowl

Have you ever seen a dragonfly nymph or a water scorpion? Find out what aquatic macroinvertebrates live in a pond during a hands-on catch-and-release discovery session at Ongley Pond. Various themes, such as metamorphosis, predator-prey relationships, and adaptations, can be explored depending on the group’s needs. Don’t wear your brand new shows and plan to get your hands dirty! Onsite and in-person only.
NGSS: (K)-LS1.C; (K)-ESS3.A; (1)-LS1.A; (2)-LS4.D; (3)-LS1.B; (4)-LS1.A; (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A,B,C; (HS)-LS2.C; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing & Interpreting Data (HS only); Using Mathematics & Computational Thinking (HS only); CC: Structure & Function; Stability & Change (MS & HS only)

Radical Raptors

Just who-who-whoo are those big, beautiful birds of prey you see perched atop fenceposts by day or hear calling outside your window by night? This interactive presentation by Education Director Carrie Szwed covers the hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons that call northwest CT home. You’ll even get to meet our two most common raptors, the barred owl and red-tailed hawk, up close and personal!
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A,D; (2)-LS4.D; (4)-LS1.A,D; CC: Patterns; Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 48.5, 60.7

Rare and Remarkable 

Many people do not realize that there are endangered species even here in CT. Using two live animals and several interactive games and activities, you’ll find out what local species are considered in peril, why they’re each important, and what we can do to help them. Also hear success stories of animals coming back from the brink of extinction due to our conservation efforts. In-person only. 
NGSS: (3)LS4.D; (MS)-LS2.C,D; (HS)-ETS1.B; SEP: Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information; CC: Cause & Effect; Scale, Proportion, & Quality; Stability & Change

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

This program will show participants how to be accountable for their material usage and, ultimately, be better stewards of the planet. First, we’ll see how nature breaks down and reuses materials and nutrients. Using nature as our inspiration, we’ll then discuss the 4 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle, rot – compost) that we can employ to decrease the amount of trash that ends up in our garbage cans or in the environment. Onsite and in-person only.
NGSS: (4)-ESS3.A; (5)-LS2.A; (5)-ESS3.C; (MS)-ESS2.A; (MS)-ESS3.C; (HS)-ESS3.A,C; SEP: Asking Questions; Carrying Out Investigations; Obtaining Information; CC: Energy & Matter; Cause & Effect

Remembering Rex Brasher: Painter of Birds* 

Celebrate a truly wonderful, but relatively unknown avian artist, Rex Brasher. Based in Kent, CT, Rex was a prolific painter who produced 875 original watercolors depicting 1200 species/subspecies of North American birds. In fact, Brasher painted (from live observation!) more than twice as many birds as his better-known predecessor, John James Audubon. Join Gerri Griswold to learn about one of the greatest untold stories in art history and Americana.

Respect Our Resources^

Humans depend on the Earth’s natural resources. But, with close to 8 billion people on Earth, those resources are getting used up fast! First, we’ll define/review “natural resource,” “renewable,” and “nonrenewable,” and show an array of everyday products that come from natural resources. Then we’ll see actual examples of renewable resources that are hopefully the wave of the future. Finally, we’ll brainstorm what actions we can take to preserve our global supply of natural resources. A live animal will also make an appearance! Onsite and in-person only.
NGSS: (3)LS2.C; (3)-LS4.D; (4)-ESS3.A; (5)-LS2.B; (5)-ESS3.C; (MS)-ESS3.A,C; (HS)-ESS3.A,C; SEP: Designing Solutions; CC: Stability & Change

Seeds, Please^

Seeds are basically baby plants and trees wrapped in really cool packages! Through the use of lots of sample seeds and engaging activities, we will discuss how seeds develop into plants, the variety of shapes and sizes that seeds are “packaged” in, and how they are dispersed.
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A,B; (2)-LS2.A; (3)-LS1.B; (4)-LS1.A; CC: Patterns; Systems; Structure & Function

Sense-sational Study

This interactive program literally puts your senses to the test. Participants will learn more about their own 5 senses as they compare them to the senses of several other animals, including a couple of live examples! In-person only. 
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A,D; (4)-LS1.A,D: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 60.9

Small Wonders Walk

We tend to overlook the smaller things in nature, but organisms such as fungi, mosses, ferns, and lichens are important components of an ecosystem. During this hike, we’ll take the time to appreciate each of these small wonders, plus any forms of tiny animal life that may cross our paths. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and layers. Onsite only.
NGSS: (4)-LS1.A; (5)-LS2.A; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Systems, Structure & Function

Take a Hike!

Let us expose your group to the wonders of the outdoors on a guided nature discovery hike. We’ll identify and provide fun facts about several plants and animals, and explain their roles in the ecosystem. This program works well for all age levels and ranges! Hikes can either be conducted on White Memorial property or on a trail at your location (a scouting charge may be added for offsite programs). 
NGSS: (K)-LS1.C; (K)-ESS3.A; (1)-LS1.A; (2)-LS4.D; (3)-LS4.C; (4)-LS1.A; (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A,B,C; (HS)-LS2.A,C; (HS)-LS4.C; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Systems; Structure & Function; Stability & Change
CT ELDS: Strand A Science – 48.1, 60.2; Strand C Science – 48.5, 48.7, 60.8, 60.9

The ABC’s of Beavers

When it comes to North American Beavers, it all about the ABC’s: their adaptations, their building abilities, and the need for their conservation. This outdoor program takes place along the shore of the beaver-inhabited Ongley Pond. After dressing up a lucky participant with the adaptations of a beaver, we’ll stroll past a real beaver lodge and chewed tree stumps, discussing beavers’ architectural skills and their importance as engineers in wetland ecosystems. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and layers. Onsite and in-person only. (As an addition or alternative, we offer a 1 hour hike to provide a more in-depth exploration of the world of beavers. Additional charge.) 
NGSS: (2,3)-LS4.D; (3)-LS3.B; (3,MS)-LS4.B,C; (4)-LS1.A; (MS)-LS2.A,C; SEP: Developing and Using Models; CC: Structure & Function; Stabilty & Change  

The Navel of the World ~ Easter Island*

In sixth grade, Gerri Griswold read Norwegian explorer Thor Hyerdahl’s Kon Tiki. It never left her system. Griswold finally answered the calling in October 2017 by celebrating her 60th birthday on the world’s most remotely populated island with her good friend and travel-obsessed colleague, Liz Frazier-Zygmont. Spend some time reliving their remarkable journey. You’ll not only see some pretty amazing photographs, but also learn that Easter Island (a.k.a. Isla de Pascua, Rapa Nui) is much more than the Moai statues that define it for so many.

The Power of Plants^

Plants are simply amazing organisms, not to mention necessary for our survival! After a discussion on the importance of plants, as well as an activity covering photosynthesis, we will go on a short walk around the Museum looking for notable examples of local plants. In-person and onsite only.
NGSS: (4,5, MS, HS)-LS1.C; (MS)-PS3.D; SEP: Using Models; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; CC: Energy & Matter; Structure & Function

The Sound of (Nature’s) Music

The Litchfield Hills are alive with the sound of music…birds singing, toads trilling, coyotes howling! Join us for a program about the “music” of animals. Identifying animals by sound is a great way to get to know the creatures that call CT home. Audiences will learn just “who-who-whoooo” is making those common noises we hear in nature. A live barred owl will make an appearance too!
NGSS: (2)-LS4.D; (4)-LS1.A & D; CC: Patterns, Structure & Function

The Wildlife Outside Our Windows

Using live animals and natural props, this popular program provides insight into the diversity of fascinating creatures we have in Connecticut. In an interactive format, we’ll discuss noteworthy examples of each major animal group, as well as general biodiversity information for CT’s wildlife. This program is easily adapted for audiences of all adults, all children, families, or the general public.
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A; (2)-LS4.D; (4)-LS1.A; SEP: Constructing Explanations; CC: Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 48.5, 60.7

The World According to Gerri*

Globe-trotting Gerri Griswold revisits some of her most beloved photographs from journeys through Europe, Russia, and South America. Join her on a houseboat in Paris and a windmill in the Netherlands. Ride on a sure-footed Icelandic horse across a frozen lake in the north of Iceland. Wander the cobblestone streets of Normandy’s Mont Saint Michel and the avenues of Neolithic Carnac in Brittany. From the top of a dormant volcano on Easter Island to the base of the Andes in remarkable Chilean Patagonia to streets lined with silver shops in Taxco to the beautiful, horrible, terrible, wonderful monster, Mexico City. Stunning visuals and stories abound!  

“Trees are a Breeze” Identification Hike^ 

Take a leisurely hike through the woods and get to know our local trees better, including how they function and why they are important to us, and to other animals. We’ll do some interactive activities to reinforce these concepts. For the appropriate ages, we’ll also teach you some simple identification tricks for trees such as sugar maple, white pine, red oak, yellow birch, and more. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes and layers. In-person and onsite only.
NGSS: (K)-LS1.C; (1)-LS1.A; (2)-LS2.A; (2)-LS4.D; (3)-LS1.B; (4)-LS1.A; (5)-LS1.C; (MS)-LS1.B; (MS)-LS2.C; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Scale, Proportion, & Quality; Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand A Science – 60.3; Strand C Science – 48.5, 60.7

Way To Grow!^

Did you know that some animal babies look just like their parents while others look like completely different organisms all together? Animals are born and grow in different ways. During this program, we will compare and contrast the growth of several local animal species, including those that go through the magic of metamorphosis. A couple of live examples and several fun videos will be included. Onsite or virtual only.
NGSS: (1)-LS1.B; (1)-LS3.A,B; (3)-LS1.B; CC: Patterns
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 48.6, 60.8

White Memorial Through the Seasons*

Gerri Griswold pays tribute to Connecticut’s greatest land conservationists, Alain and May White. This brother and sister pair left their fingerprints all over Litchfield County, beginning with our 4,000 acre sanctuary, but also in the gifts they bestowed upon the state of CT: Kent Falls, People’s State Forest, Macedonia State Park, Dean Ravine and more! Sit back and enjoy breathtaking images from a variety of contributors depicting the extraordinary people, places, and things that make White Memorial a living masterpiece throughout the seasons!

Who’s a Herp?: Reptiles and Amphibians^

Reptiles and amphibians are defined by certain characteristics that set them apart from each other. Through up-close encounters with several live animals, we will teach participants about the characteristics, habitats, life cycles, and adaptations of various species of reptiles and amphibians throughout CT. Then, we’ll discuss what these two groups of “herps” have in common.
NGSS: (3)-LS1.B; (4)-LS1.A; (MS)-LS1.B; CC: Patterns; Structure & Function

Wildlife for the Win!

Animals have some amazing attributes and accomplish phenomenal feats! After reading a short book on some amazing animal feats, we’ll use an interactive system to award medals to certain species that set records in the state of CT. Who is the fastest? Strongest? Longest? Several biological props will be presented. Plus, a live snake and salamander will be on hand to accept their honors! In-person only. Best for groups with 12 or fewer children. 
NGSS: (3)-LS4.C; (4)-LS1.A; (MS)-LS4.B; CC: Structure & Function

Wildlife in Winter

What strategies do animals employ to get through harsh winter conditions? Using natural props, animal mounts, and a couple of LIVE animals, we’ll discuss how some animals in CT remain active in winter, while others hibernate, migrate, or go into torpor. For younger audiences, this program includes a beautifully-illustrated non-fiction story.
NGSS: (1)-LS1.A; (4)-LS1.A,D; CC: Patterns; Structure & Function
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 48.7, 60.9

Wildlife Welcomes Spring

If you’re looking for a pick-me-up program to combat the stubbornness of New England’s winters, this may be the perfect one! “Wildlife Welcomes Spring” can be presented anytime in March or April. Several live animals, as well as natural props, are used to discuss why spring is a much-anticipated season for wildlife too. Learn what animals you can expect to see and hear as temperatures warm up and days get longer. 
NGSS: (3)-LS4.D; (4)-LS1.A,D; (MS)-LS1.B, LS2.A; CC: Patterns, Cause and Effect
CT ELDS: Strand C Science – 48.1, 60.2, 48.7, 60.9

Winter Walk

As we hike around nearby Ongley Pond, we’ll focus our attention on aspects of nature you might not see in warmer months, such as birds bouncing around in bare branches and bright natural colors that pop against a snowy, white background. We’ll also discuss how animals that remain active in winter cope with harsher conditions. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear! While the trail may be slightly packed down by past hikers, it is not plowed. This program is good for small groups or large groups that need rotation options. Onsite only.
NGSS: (K)-LS1.C; (1)-LS1.A; (2)-LS4.D; (3)-LS4.C; (4)-LS1.A; (5)-LS2.A; (MS)-LS2.A,B,C; SEP: Carrying Out Investigations; CC: Systems, Structure & Function; Stability & Change