The Preserve as a Learning Lab

Choose a field study experience to meet your class’s objectives and goals.  Our education programs meet the Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and New York State Learning Standards and can be tailored according to your needs.

Inclusive Programming for Children with Disabilities

If your class includes students with disabilities, the Preserve’s award-winning NatureAccess® program may be able to accommodate your specific needs. Our experienced, professional educators have combined expertise in early childhood education, special education, and outdoor/environmental education and can adapt most programs for a wide diversity of needs and learning styles.

Guided Field Studies Grades K-6

Program Descriptions

(*) Denotes programs that can accommodate two classes.

Photo by Renee Zernitsky

Pond Study*
Enjoy a beautiful day at the water’s edge, as students explore the fascinating diversity of life that dwells beneath the surface of the pond. Students dip nets into the water and collect and investigate the many creatures that call the pond their home. The program includes a leisurely ¾-mile interpretive walk to the pond. This program can accommodate two classes.

Native American Lifeways*
Your class will journey back in time over 500 years, imagining themselves as a Lenni Lenape child. A moderate ½-mile walk through the fields and forests brings students to the site of our recreated encampment, where our longhouse becomes the site for learning about Algonquin history and culture in the Hudson Valley. Students listen to a traditional story, then work in small groups to try their hand at corn-grinding, weaving, firemaking, and other life skills.

Life of the Field and Forest*
Using a multi-sensory approach, one or two classes explore and investigate the intricate web of life found in our fields and forests. Students locate, collect, and carefully identify the animals that live beneath our feet in open fields and meadows. In the forest, creature searches and animal behavior observations complement their discovery of plant and tree life and of the environmental factors that affect their growth.

Rocks and Ridgelines*
Your students become geologists for the day as they learn how the Shawangunk Ridge was formed and slowly shaped over time. Students learn how to decipher clues left behind by the glaciers and form a new understanding of the Ice Age. The cliffs afford students the opportunity to discover geology physically, as they hike atop the ridge and gaze out upon the world-class views of the Hudson Valley.

From Field, to Forest, to Ridgeline
Rock Scrambling Adventure: Your class will hike through three distinctly different environments, enjoying the unique natural features of each. Students participate in a rock scramble with the goal of summiting Bonticou Crag. Rock scrambling includes hiking on ever-changing angles of rock surfaces while gaining altitude. Students learn how to move their bodies smoothly as they transition from one balance point to the next. From atop the Crag, 360º views of the Hudson Valley reward students for their efforts. This is a 2.75-mile round-trip hike with some moderate-to-strenuous uphill sections.

An Ecological Investigation: Students follow the same route detailed above, but hike a path to the summit of Bonticou Crag rather than a rock scramble. Along the way, they investigate the physical and biological characteristics innate to each ecosystem. This is a 2.75-mile round-trip hike with some moderate uphill sections.

Forest and Stream Exploration*
Enjoy an exciting day of nature investigation in the woods and waters! Students dip their nets into the flowing waters of the Coxing Kill, to discover a vast array of aquatic life beneath the water’s surface. A relaxing walk through the woods presents students with sensory delights: the awesome sights, smells, and sounds of a northeastern forest. Through live animal searches and discoveries, students create their own learning experiences.

General Information and Fees

Scholarships Available! Click here to download a scholarship application.

Field studies are offered in the fall (late September through early November) and in the spring (late April through early June) on weekdays only. Scheduling operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

All field studies are led by Mohonk Preserve educators, are 3.5 hours in length, and include a break for lunch. The class size maximum is 30 including faculty, students, and chaperones. A minimum adult:child ratio of 1:8 is required. The program fee is $195. Refunds are available if cancellation is made no less than 48 hours prior to the date of your visit, minus a $25 processing fee.

STEM Programs Grades 6-12

Photo by John Decker
Program Descriptions
Shawangunk Trails: Impact Assessment

Students conduct physical and biological surveys while hiking one of our beautiful Shawangunk trails. An investigation of its design, history, and current uses along with an examination of both natural and human impacts over time helps students to locate and map trouble spots in need of mitigation. The program’s highly-engaging small group design actively involves all students in the identification, measurement and recording of data on a variety of parameters utilizing digital and manual tools. Students sketch, photo document and assess trail impacts which they later analyze, design solutions, build models and orally present back in school.

Fire Ecology: Prescribed Fire Assessment
An introduction to Shawangunk fire ecology and management begins this intriguing program where students visit a hypothetical prescribed burn site and assess its readiness for “treatment.” Students document the site with digital photography, mapping and fuel surveys. Utilizing a variety of technologies to measure and analyze atmospheric conditions, students compare their data to actual prescription parameters. Post-fieldwork offers the application of their understanding of fire ecology and behavior to a realistic situation, the opportunity to design a solution and to develop a presentation of their work.

A Comparative Study: Field, Forest and Ridgeline
Students visit three distinctly different environments where they make records of their observations and measure and assess the physical and biological status of each. Collaborative small group work support students in the use of a variety of manual and digital tools to develop data sets for each habitat. Students observe and identify actual and potential threats to the long-term survival of each environment and conduct a comparative analysis. The project culminates with student design solutions to optimize the overall health of these systems and present their recommendations to an audience.

Orienteering: Creating Your Own Path
Students gain skills and confidence in the use of a compass to follow a bearing and arrive at a series of destinations. Mathematical operations are used to calculate students’ personal pace and determine distances to be traveled from one destination to the next. Collaborative groups work together to complete an orienteering trail, mark their arrival at each station with an orienteering punch and address a STEM inquiry question. Skills are then applied as groups develop an orienteering trail of their own design, to be tested and evaluated by their peers.

Resource Scarcity and Human Subsistence
An investigation of a vanished 19th century mountain hamlet guides students to identify and record evidence of habitation, resource-based early industry and a subsistence lifestyle in a challenging landscape. Students hike to the extant Eli Van Leuven cabin and nearby burial ground and utilize artifacts and primary source documents to create a portrait of human resourcefulness during this period. Pre-fieldwork lays the groundwork for students to understand the effects of isolation and scarcity of resources on human survival. Post-fieldwork analysis identifies and ranks vital natural resources for a sustainable human-environment landscape and applies their findings through the design of an original work. An oral presentation provides audience input to guide student design revisions.

General Information and Fees

STEM programs are designed for students in grades 6-12. All programs include pre- and post-fieldwork to accomplish the learning objectives. Each program requires two four-hour visits to the Mohonk Preserve. A program fee of $390 includes two guided field investigations, STEM data sheets, pre- and post-fieldwork packet, student clipboards, and all equipment. Programs accommodate a maximum of 30 people, including chaperones and teachers.

Scheduling a Program

To schedule a program, contact Kim Tischler, Education Coordinator, at ktischler@mohonkpreserve.org or (845) 255-0919 ext. 1234.

Support Environmental Education on the Ridge!

  • Become a member today. Strengthen your commitment to nature in our community.
  • Attend a Public Program. Our diverse programs and events offer something for everyone.
  • Volunteer your time and energy as a volunteer educator, interpretive guide or trailhead ambassador.
  • Donate. With your help we can provide quality outdoor education for people of all ages and abilities.

Banner photo by Carol Rietsma