Field Trips

More than 1100 groups of area children and scouts come to the Tenafly Nature Center each year. With their boundless curiosity, they touch, observe and listen to the natural world. This year you can join our professional educators as they bring classroom concepts to life and lead your students in hands-on learning and close observations in our 380-acre living museum. Our programs are designed to help educators meet many of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards, and have been developed for students ages 3 and up.

These programs are designed to be taught at the nature center. If you are interested in programming at your location, please visit our TNC to Go page. You may also visit our After School Series page for information about our other offerings.

Pre-school and Kindergarten Groups

All programs are one hour.

A New Year: Making Apple Cider & Honey
Students investigate simple machines and the differences in plant parts as they use an old-fashioned screw press to make and sample fresh apple cider. As they see frames of honeycomb they will learn how honey is extracted and discover the life history of New Jersey's state insect. Only offered in September through November. NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A, B, C, D), 5.2 (A,B), 5.3 (A,B,C,D, E), 5.4 (E,G)

Apple Cider Making
Students investigate simple machines and the differences in plant parts, as they use an old-fashioned screw press to make and sample fresh apple cider. In the process, they learn about the history of the cider making from colonial times to the present. Only offered in September through November.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A, B, C, D), 5.2 (A,B), 5.3 (A,B,C,D, E), 5.4 (E,G) 

Bird is the Word
Students learn what makes a bird unlike any other animal. Through activities, hands-on artifacts, and games, classes will learn what attributes birds share with other animals and which adaptations set them apart from the various avian species. The program concludes with an up-close visit with a live bird. Extended programs include an in-depth look at various species adaptations.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.2 (A,E), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (B, E) 

Creative Camouflage
Is it a stick? Is it a rock? Students discover how various creatures are shaped or colored to blend into their surroundings. Classes meet animals that survive by using camouflage and play a hands-on game to see if they can do better than nature at keeping animals hidden!

Creature Double Feature
Students use their senses to meet live animals. They will discover how they are different and similar to these creatures. Focusing on how each species adapts to survive in its environment (what it eats, what covers its body, etc.), helps children gain a respect for and decrease their fears of several animal species.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C), 5.3 (A,B,C)

Creatures of the Night
Do you know if you are nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular? Join educators from the Tenafly Nature Center and find out! Through live animal demonstrations, learn about local species that inhabit the dark. From owls to opossums, learn about the amazing adaptations creatures posses to roam the nighttime landscape.

Invertebrate Safari
Students examine live insects in an introduction to the vast array of insect life. They will be taught where to find insects outside and how to identify them. By observing life stages and adaptations, students will learn to identify different insects in a variety of habitats.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1(A,D), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (G)

Leaf Shapes
Students get an up-close look at all the colors and patterns nature has to offer. We’ll review an assortment of leaf shapes and discover ways to identify some of NJ’s common trees, during a walk through the woods.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.2 (A,B,C,D), 5.2 ( C), 5.3 (A,B,C), 5.4 (E,F,G) 

Maple Sugaring
Students learn about the history of maple sugaring in North America by observing a TNC educator tap our Sugar Maple trees. (We encourage sap tasting, if enough has been collected.) We demonstrate both Native American and colonial syrup-making techniques outdoors. We challenge students to try to distinguish between corn syrup and 100% maple syrup by taste alone. Only offered in late February through early March.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (E,G) 

Pond Ecology
Using a variety of tools (dip nets, magnifiers, etc.) students will discover aquatic ecosystems and food chains participating in hands-on pond exploration. They will study diversity, adaptations and interrelationships among the organisms they find in the water, and will discuss how human activity impacts aquatic habitats. Only offered in late April through early October.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,D), 5.2 (B,C), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (C,E,G)

Rapp’n with Raptors
Students will observe several live raptors up close and learn about their behavior, physiology, adaptations, ecological importance and natural history. Hands-on artifacts and demonstrations will capture the imagination of young and old.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.3(A,B,C,D,E), 5.4(G)

Seasonal Discovery
Students will explore the wonders each season brings to the forest. On a walk along the trails, your class will learn to observe and record temperature, weather, and wind direction. They will learn how each of these measurements, as well as plants and animals, respond to seasonal changes! Your students can bring this knowledge back to the classroom to make their own observations!
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1(A,B,D), 5.2(A,B,C,D), 5.3(A,B,C,D,E), 5.4(A,E,F,G) 

Sensible Senses
The call of a bird, the scent of a tree, and the texture of bark are all ways to identify plants and animals. Students learn these and other techniques to improve their sensory observation skills and to use them to identify natural organisms. After learning how our fellow animals use their senses to survive, we’ll investigate how we can apply their sensual adaptations to enrich our own lives.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.3 (A,C), 5.4 (C) 

Sleep, Stay, Run Away
Students learn how animals know winter is on the way and how they prepare for it. Students will investigate winter strategies with hands-on activities, artifacts, and live animal observations. Discussions include adaptations, hibernation, migration and animal behavior. Extended programs include a look at animal tracking.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C), 5.3 (A,B,C) 5.4 (E,F) 

What is a Tree
Through role-playing, songs, games and a journey into our woods, your class will discover the inner workings of a tree and the physical characteristics that define some of the common species found here in NJ. Students learn how animals and humans alike use the different parts of a tree, and who here at the Nature Center calls a tree home.
NJCCCS-Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.2 (B), 5.3 (A,B,C,D), 5.4 (E, F) 

Wonderful Wiggling Worms
Dig in and discover the slimy yet satisfying wormy world under our feet! Students learn about the roles worms play in the ecosystem and how they recycle and convert scraps into nutrient-rich soil. Through hands-on interactions, songs, preschoolers will develop an understanding and appreciation of nature, and help build up their observation skills.

The World Beneath Our Feet
A hole in the ground is always mysterious as it invites curiosity and wonder. Learn about the creatures that live underground as we shed some light on the mysteries under our feet. Discover what other unseen organisms might share this world and how they affect our lives from below.

1st-12th Grade Groups

We can design programs to reinforce your curriculum. Please contact Debora Davidson, the Education Director, to discuss topics that may not appear below.

Animal Adaptations: 1-1.5 hours, 1st-5th grade
How do animals thrive in such varied environments as deep oceans, harsh deserts, dense rain forests, and the frigid polar caps? Through skull examinations and a visit with TNC education animals, students will discover the adaptations animals depend on for their survival and success.

Apple Cider Making1 hour, 1st-12th grade
Students investigate simple machines and the differences in plant parts, as they use an old-fashioned screw press to make and sample fresh apple cider. In the process, they learn about the history of the cider making from colonial times to the present. Only offered in September through November.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A, B, C, D), 5.2 (A,B), 5.3 (A,B,C,D, E), 5.4 (E,G) 

Bird is the Word1-2 hours, 1st-8th grade
Students learn what makes a bird unlike any other animal. Through activities and games, classes will learn what attributes birds share with other animals and which adaptations set them apart from the various avian species. Students will see and touch artifacts before they go outdoors to search for our resident species. A few binoculars are available. Extended programs include an in-depth look at how and why birds have developed different beak shapes. The program concludes with an up-close visit with a live bird.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.2 (A,E), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (B, E)

Creatures of the Night: 1 hour, 1st-12th grade
Do you know if you are nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular? Join educators from the Tenafly Nature Center and find out! Through live animal demonstrations, learn about local species that inhabit the dark. From owls to opossums, learn about the amazing adaptations creatures posses to roam the nighttime landscape. 

Endangered NJ 1-2 hours, 3rd-12th grade
Learn about the major factors that threaten animals with endangerment and extinction worldwide. Through use of artifacts and live animals, participants will learn the status of select native New Jersey fauna. Activities are designed to raise awareness of New Jersey’s over 60 endangered species, and inspire participants to practice how they can help prevent threats to local wildlife.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (D), 5.3 (C, D,E), 5.4 (B,G) 

Forest Ecology: 1-3 hours, 3rd-12th grade
Students explore the local forest to learn about the ecology of the plants and animals that live there. Learning to deduce the history of a woodland by “reading the landscape”, students uncover some of the differences between deciduous and coniferous forests by field-testing forest plots, studying the flora and fauna, and making field observations. Extended programs can include topics such as succession and stratification, plant life cycles, classification and tree identification using a dichotomous key. Students will discover the cultural and natural history of plants, particularly trees, as we examine a tree’s life stages, following it’s growth from seed to maturity, finally, to decomposition.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (B,C,E,G) 

Geology of the Palisades:  1-3 hours, 4th-5th grade
Students will discover how the Palisades were formed, where its rocks and fossils come from, and what they can tell us. Students will learn to identify some household products that come from rocks and minerals, and will practice identifying common NJ rocks. We will discuss examples of erosion and deposition caused by the forces of nature and will reinforce concepts of glaciations, soil formation and land forms.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.2(A,B), 5.4(B,C,D,G) 

Group Challenges:  1-2 hours, 3rd-12th grade 
Through problem-solving challenges and group work, this program will help your class recognize their strengths and practice their listening skills. Using their physical and mental abilities, students will learn how to communicate effectively with each other and cultivate cooperative skills.

Have to Have a Habitat 1-2 hours, 1st-3rd grade
Students discover what animals, plants, and people need to survive and what makes a habitat a “home”. Venturing into the forest, your class will investigate wildlife homes and diets, and learn to identify signs of various species and how an assortment of factors control wildlife populations.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (E,G) 

Heavenly Herps: 1-2 hours, 1st-12th grade
“Herps” (reptiles and amphibians) are among the most under-appreciated and misunderstood species of the animal world. This program will introduce students to live snakes, frogs, salamanders and turtles and highlight the characteristics which distinguish between reptiles and amphibians.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (B,G) 

Invertebrate Safari1-2 hours, 1st-12th grade
Students examine live insects in an introduction to the vast array of insect life. They will be taught where to find insects outside and how to identify them. By observing life stages and adaptations, students will learn to identify different insects in a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Extended programs include such topics as how people depend on insects and how our attempts to control insect populations affect the environment.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1(A,D), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (G)

Lenni-Lenape: 1-2 hours, 3rd-5th grade
Students learn how early Native Americans utilized the natural resources in New Jersey. Your group will journey into the past, listening to a Lenape story, learning to play classic Lenape games of skill, examining wild edibles and medicines, and learning how Lenapes used the animals they hunted.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.3(B,C), 5.4(G) 

Map & Compass: 2-4 hours, 3rd-12th
Students learn the different parts of a compass, and how to use it to locate directions. Classes will apply this knowledge outdoors on the trails. Extended program includes instruction in orienteering, map reading different kinds of maps and wayfinding techniques. After each program, students will use their map-reading skills to follow pre-set courses to find "natural treasures" hidden outdoors.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.2 (E), 5.4 (D) 

Maple Sugaring: 1 hour, 1st-12th grade
Students learn about the history of maple sugaring in North America by observing a TNC educator tap our Sugar Maple trees. (We encourage sap tasting, if enough has been collected.) We demonstrate both Native American and colonial syrup-making techniques outdoors. We challenge students to try to distinguish between corn syrup and 100% maple syrup by taste alone. Only offered in late February through early March.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (E,G) 

Oogling Owls1-1.5 hours, 1st-12th grade
Students learn how these nocturnal raptors have adapted to night flight, as they observe our live resident owl. Your class will learn about NJ’s owls’ status by discussing the pros and cons of human interactions with these powerful and efficient predators.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.3(A,B,C,D,E), 5.4(G)  

Outdoor Survival:  1.5-3 hours, 4th-12th
If your students were lost in the woods, would they know what to do? We will teach them to prepare for survival outdoors, using the “rules of three”. Students will have to cooperate and exercise group skills to construct a survival shelter. Extended programs include instruction and practice in applying map and compass skills and a demonstration of how to set and start a campfire.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.2 (C ), 5.3 (A,B,C,E), 5.4 (A) 

Pond Ecology: 1-3 hours, 1st-12th grade
Using a variety of tools (dip nets, magnifiers, etc.) students will discover aquatic ecosystems and food chains participating in hands-on pond exploration. They will study diversity, adaptations and interrelationships among the organisms they find in the water, and will discuss how human activity impacts aquatic habitats. Extended programs include water testing and a comparison of different kinds of freshwater habitats. Only offered in late April through early October.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,D), 5.2 (B,C), 5.3 (A,B,C,D,E), 5.4 (C,E,G) 

Rapp’n with Raptors 1-1.5 hours, 1st-12th grade
Students will observe several live raptors up close and learn about their behavior, physiology, adaptations, ecological importance and natural history. Hands-on artifacts and demonstrations will capture the imagination of young and old.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.3(A,B,C,D,E), 5.4(G)

Seasonal Discovery: 1-3 hours, 1st-12th grade
Students will explore the wonders each season brings to the forest. On a walk along the trails, your class will learn to observe and record temperature, weather, and wind direction. They will learn how each of these measurements, as well as plants and animals, respond to seasonal changes! Your students can bring this knowledge back to the classroom to make their own observations!
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1(A,B,D), 5.2(A,B,C,D), 5.3(A,B,C,D,E), 5.4(A,E,F,G) 

Seed Dispersal: 1 hour, 2nd-5th grade
Classes learn to identify and explain the function of different plant parts. Students will discover why plants put energy into producing flowers and seeds. Students explore the reasons plants send seeds on a long journey, and the different mechanisms such as “hitchhiking” and “parachuting” seeds use to travel.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1(A,B,C,D), 5.3(A,B,C,D,E), 5.4(E,G) 

Soil Ecology: 1-2 hours, 3rd-8th grade
Students discover that dirt is an important part of our natural life as they “dig-in” to an in-depth study of soil. Your class will delve into the world of the earth’s top-most layer and learn to identify the components of soil. Using samples from the Nature Center, students will compare different types of dirt and discover that soil is a habitat that supports many forms of life. Extended programs include soil testing (texture, pH, nitrogen, etc.) and an investigation of nutrient recycling by examining the forest floor for evidence of decomposition.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.3 (A,C,E), 5.4 (C,G)

Water, Water Everywhere 1-2 hours, 1st-8th grade
Students help perform demonstrations, experiments and activities as your class is introduced to water molecules and the concepts of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration, freezing, surface tension. They will learn how plants and animals recycle water and how some animals live in and on the water. During a guided hike along the Nature Center trails students will play a game are designed to help explain how water is vital to all life forms. Extended programs include such topics as wetlands classification, the importance of a watershed and all of the factors that contribute to it, and discussion of such words such as “topography”, “nitrogen”, and “phosphorus”.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.2 (B,C,E), 5.3 (A,C,D,E), 5.4 (B,C,E,F,G) 

Weather or Not 1-2 hours, 1st-3rd grade 
Students learn how sun, air, land, and water each play a role in determining our weather, and how these elements can be used to predict weather patterns. Through demonstrations and experiments, your class will learn how to use several basic instruments to measure and hypothesize future weather patterns. Students will measure differences in air pressure, prove that air has weight, and investigate how and why weather changes.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.1 (A,B,C,D), 5.2 (C), 5.4 (A,E,F,G) 

Web of Life 1-1.5 hours, 3rd-5th grade 
Students will discover how energy flows from the sun through the food web. They will search for living examples of producers, consumers and decomposers in a variety of habitats. Your class will discuss the concept of food chains, population dynamics, adaptation and change. Activities include games to highlight predator and prey relationships and an interpretive hike. Extended programs can include comparison of herbivores, carnivores and omnivores by examining different skulls and sets of teeth.
NJCCCS- Science: 5.2 (D), 5.3 (A,B,C,E). 5.4 (E,G) 

The World Beneath Our Feet: 1 hour, 1st-4th grade
A hole in the ground is always mysterious as it invites curiosity and wonder. Learn about the creatures that live underground as we shed some light on the mysteries under our feet. Discover what other unseen organisms might share this world and how they affect our lives from below.

Accessibility at TNC

The Tenafly Nature Center offers select programming that is wheelchair accessible. We ask that you give two weeks notice so that we can accommodate the needs of your group.

Upcoming events

Saturday, September 20, 2014 • TNC Trails
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 7:30 AM • TNC Visitors Center
Saturday, September 27, 2014 7:00 AM • TNC Visitors Center

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