School Programs and Groups
Wildwood Park is south-central PA's premier wetland and study area. School groups experience 229 acres of shallow lake, swamp, riparian areas, field, forest and 6 miles of trails. They learn while exploring trails and a modern nature center with new exhibits. Our quality school program subjects ranges from wetland and wildlife ecology to PA plants and animals. Wildwood environmental educators are professionally trained naturalists who provide practical hands-on instruction.
Planning a Visit
- Complete the Environmental Education Inquiry Form and email to email@example.com or Call (717) 221-0292 Ext. 4.
- Self-guided groups, not interested in working with a naturalist, should call and make a reservation at least two weeks in advance. There is no charge, but donations are welcome!
- Reservations should be made as soon as possible.
- $5.00 per student (Dauphin County resident)
- $6.00 per student (Out-of-county resident)
- $100 minimum fee for any school program
Payment is expected on the day of the program. Checks should be made payable to DCPR (Dauphin County Parks and Recreation). If paying by credit card, we require advanced notice.
Wildwood Field Study Trips
Environmental Education Programs
Environmental education programs meet Pennsylvaniaâ€™s Environment and Ecology Standards. Our qualified, flexible naturalists can modify any program listed below to more closely align with your curriculum.
- Each program includes an outdoor component with an option to explore our indoor exhibit hall.
- Large groups of 25 or more will be divided and rotate through stations. Teachers may be asked to lead one of these stations, if needed.
- All programs are offered year-round, unless otherwise stated.
- Programs are rain or shine, please dress accordingly.
- Outdoor covered picnic areas are available for use.
- Students may visit the Nature Center Gift Shop during lunch or after the program.
Field Study Topics
- Discovery Walk
- All ages
- Join a naturalist for a guided walk on trails where students will explore nature up close. Learn the importance of wetland and forest habitats and the animals and plants that call them home. We will combine age appropriate activities and games to discover nature's wonders. Concepts can include functions of wetlands, watersheds, adaptations, biodiversity, and seasonal changes.
- All Ages
- Join a naturalist to discover the characteristics and different types of wetlands. Students will take a walk to identify plants and discover and the important roles wetlands play in our environment. Students will also compare and contrast soil samples collected from wetlands and forest/fields.
- Insect Investigation
- All Ages
- Students will conduct a field investigation to explore insects and other invertebrates in forests, fields, or ponds. Insect collection and educational activities accompany this topic. Concepts include metamorphosis, adaptations, decomposers, and pollination. Program is available April through October.
- Grades K-Adults
- Students in Kindergarten through grade 3 will create tree and leaf rubbings while on a walk to identify trees. They will also learn the age of trees by counting the rings on tree cookies. Students in grades 4 and up will explore the diversity of trees and identify them using a dichotomous key by taking a walk around the Nature Center.
- Preschool - Grade 12
- Wildwood is a great place to see birds of all kinds up close. Students will learn identification and natural history of the birds at Wildwood. This program will include a walk and a choice of interactive activities to explore concepts like migration, adaptation, nests, or eggs.
- Reptiles and Amphibians
- Preschool - Grade 7
- WStudents will compare and contrast the characteristics of reptiles and amphibians. Activities will focus on adaptations and metamorphosis of snakes, frogs, and turtles that live at Wildwood Park. Students will then go on a walk to identify some of these scaly and slimy friends. Program is available Aprilâ€”May.
- Seeds and Dispersal
- Preschool - Grade 5
- Discover seeds and their methods of dispersal. Students will take a walk and look for evidence of seeds along trails. Concepts can include adaptations, classification, life cycles, and the importance of seeds.
- Preschool - Grade 5
- Students will explore roles of animals and discuss terms including predator, prey, and food chains. Discover mammal signs such as tracks and scat while on a walk with a naturalist. Students will perform close inspection of adaptations with professionally cleaned animal pelts.
- Sensory Walk
- Preschool - Grade 2
- : Students will be encouraged to use their senses-sight, sound, smell, and touch-as they investigate the outdoors. Activities emphasize respect for and awareness of nature and the diversity of life that surrounds us.
- Aquatic Study
- Grades 3-Adults
- Students will explore water quality through a macroinvertebrate study. This could be done using a biotic index and a dichotomous key. Another option includes looking more closely at adaptions. Chemical testing available for secondary students. Program is available April through October.