Featured Image by Shasha Feng – Beltzville State Park
Do you want to connect more with your favorite parks or forests? Check out an environmental education program where experienced staff share their knowledge of your special place.
When you join people for a walk, talk, demonstration, or recreational outing, there is a chance not just to discover more about the place and the life within it, but to share an experience and memories with fellow participants.
After attending an environmental education or interpretive program, you may notice more details about the busy lives you intersect while outdoors and see the clues revealing their presence along your path.
Programs are offered throughout parks and forests all year long.
You may have already stopped by a traditional campfire/amphitheater program where you learned about bears or rattlesnakes. These programs help you feel safe and appreciate sharing space with wildlife, and have been part of overnight experiences for decades.
You can further develop your sense of place through a historical program.
Staff show pictures, clothing, tools, and artifacts to help you imagine life at another time. Knowing the past land use, historical events, and inhabitants of the area, helps you imagine the way previous people interacted with your place.
In order to foster present environmental awareness, some programs are tailored for organizations, schools, or families, and are age specific, or offered for professional development.
Presenters often work with teachers or leaders to reach specific objectives. You may have attended a Field Learning Experience at a State Park in elementary school where you had a hands-on experience learning about lifecycles and metamorphosis by catching tadpoles. Maybe you earned a badge as a scout by creating a pollinator habitat or monitored nesting boxes with your community organization. Programs like these help you develop a conscious stewardship of the environment.
Is your time outside based on active recreation?
From binoculars to skis, many programs include a demonstration on how to use recreational equipment or allow you the chance to try them. Personal tips on how to choose the right match for you are shared. As your confidence grows, you can challenge yourself, plan an outing with others from the group, or attend an advanced program.
Connecting with staff at a program makes your getaway feel like home and may inspire you to take home what you learn, creating space for a web of life or conserving resources in a new way.
If you want a lifetime of learning, find your next educational adventure at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)’s events page: Events Calendar – DCNR Calendar of Events (pa.gov) – (https://events.dcnr.pa.gov)
Suzann Rensel is an environmental education specialist with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.