Program Options & Program Lesson Plans

Program Options

Day Programs

Outdoor Experiences typically occur through the course of one school day, arriving around 9:00 am and leaving in time for the students to catch the afternoon bus home from school.  During the day, groups will have time for a half day of teambuilding as well as 2-3 additional education and adventure programs.  Alternatively, some groups choose to do a full day of teambuilding while others choose a full day of education and adventure programs.  Multiple day packages are available as well.

Cost: $16 per student.

Overnight Programs

Many schools choose to extend their Experience beyond the regular school day.  These programs typically begin by 9:00 am on the first day and continue until the end of the school day on the second day.  During that time students will complete four learning and adventure activities, two large group learning games, a teambuilding experience, and a campfire.  In addition, the groups will eat all of their meals together in our dining hall, and stay together overnight in our cabins.

Cost: $60 per student & $30 per adult.

Food Service

All meals at camp are served family style in order to reinforce our teambuilding values taught throughout the course of your stay.  All meals are prepared on site, and none of the food we serve is fried.  Special diets may be considered to an extent, however, campers with allergies may need to bring alternative meals to camp with them. Please contact the Education Director to discuss any concerns in regards to your child’s diet.

Cost:  Included in the cost of all overnight programs, $7/person for optional day program barbecues.

To book your class trip please email the Education Director
or call 610-269-9111 ext. 202

For brief descriptions of all lessons offered click through the menu below.

Program Lesson Plans

Animals & Their Habitats

Animal Communities

Animal Communities – Students will participate in a nature hike, stopping along the way in several different ecological niches to explore the living and non-living components that make each habitat different.  By the end of this lesson students will be able to identify many different native Pennsylvanian animals and identify their role in their community.  Students will be able to recognize the differences between many different animal habitats.

Bird Safari

Bird Safari – Students will spend half of this activity learning about bird parts, their functions and adaptations, and the second half on an interactive hike in search of our fine feathered friends.  By the conclusion of this activity students will better understand the functions and capabilities of bird beaks and feet, as well as identify several bird species through site and sound.

Bird Worlds

Bird Worlds - Where do birds live?  Students will participate in a hike through five distinct bird habitats. Throughout this hike students will recognize the differences in each habitat and begin to understand how those differences will determine what birds can live there.  In addition students will learn the basics of bird identification and the role “birding” has in monitoring the health of our living planet.

Colorful Confusion

Colorful Confusion - Students will study animal pelts and pictures and play interactive games to better understand the concept of camouflage and color.  Upon completion of this lesson students will understand the many reasons animals use color in nature.  They will also understand how color is a primary factor in the process of natural selection.

The Fallen Log

The Fallen Log - Students will study a very specialized ecological niche, that of a fallen rotting log.  In so doing students will be able to identify several decomposers and understand their very important role within the food web.

Forest Habitat

Forest Habitat - This activity will allow students an opportunity to study a forest habitat from the ground up.  Students will focus on the similarities and differences between their habitat and the forest habitat.  Through this activity students will gain a greater understanding of all the factors that add up to create a habitat.

It's All in the Details

It’s All in the Details - How have animals adapted to their environments? “It’s all in the details!”  The color of its fur, the shape of its legs, the pattern on its wings, all of these details help animals to survive and thrive in their environment.  Students will find and focus on these details in animals and their habitats and then create a visual record of those details, while trying to answer the question how does this detail help that animal.


Skullduggery - Students will use their senses to explore the diverse adaptations of many different animal skulls.  They will then use communication skills to describe those adaptations.  Through this activity students will learn about the structure and function of many parts of animal skulls.  They will also learn the importance of using “quality” descriptions while working cooperatively.

The Waterfront and the Wetlands

All About Wetlands

All About Wetlands - Students will explore a wetland habitat through a series of games and activities.  Through this exploration students will be able to better understand the features, animals, and functions that delineate a wetland as a separate and very special ecological niche.

Pond Study

Pond Study - Students will take a close look at the pond as closed ecosystem, and will focus on the interconnectedness of the species through the food web.  By the completion of this lesson, students will be able to identify many pond species and classify them into categories of producers, consumers, or decomposers.  Students will also be able to understand the relationship these three categories have through the food web.

Stream Study

Stream Study - Students will investigate a stream habitat with both their hands and feet in the water.  They will come away with a basic understanding of how organisms adapt to an aquatic habitat, and the forces that affect a stream.  Students will have the ability to determine if a stream is polluted, somewhat polluted, or pollution free by identifying the aquatic macro invertebrates that live there.

Wetland Enviroscapes

Wetland Enviroscapes - Students will use the Enviroscapes© as miniature models of watershed and wetland systems.  Students will also create their own models.  Both models will be used to demonstrate the effects of human use and pollution on watersheds and wetlands.  At the completion of this activity students will be able to differentiate between point and non point source pollutants.  They will also better understand the effects of these pollutants on entire communities, watersheds, and wetlands.

What A Boat

What A Boat - Students will learn to appreciate the complexity and diversity of wetlands as they use natural wetland materials to build and float a boat.  Students will be able to recognize wetland plant material and understand the concept of buoyancy and how that benefits wetlands.

Trees, Plants, and Everything Botany

Garden Communities

Garden Communities – How can plants and animals work together to create a sustainable organic garden with little interference from humans?  Students will study the organic garden at Paradise Farm Camps to better understand the answers to this question, while exploring the concepts of permaculture, integrated pest management, and best management practices.

Leaves & Seeds

Leaves & Seeds – Students will hike through the forest collecting samples of seeds and leaves.  They will then learn to use a dichotomous key to determine their origin.

Trees are Tops

Trees are Tops -  In this beginner/introductory level activity students will explore the function and importance of trees.  Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to calculate the length of time a tree was alive by counting its tree rings.  They will identify animals and plants that rely on trees for survival and look for evidence of a healthy forest ecosystem.

Trees in Trouble

Trees in Trouble – Students will take a hike to find and assess “trees in trouble” or trees that have obvious health risks.  Students will learn to spot warning signs of those health problems.  Students will also draw conclusions, from the evidence presented, about the cause of those health problems, possible solutions, and a long-term prognosis for the tree.

Insect Ecosystems

Career Critters

Career Critters – Insects throughout the world have adapted to perform very specific tasks for both their societies, as well as the larger ecosystem.  We will explore several of these roles, including the garbage men (or decomposers) and the farmers (or pollinators), through direct observation and exploration as well as a few fun interactive games and simulations.

Grasshopper Gravity

Grasshopper Gravity – Students will study the parts of grasshoppers and other insects by capturing and inspecting live specimens.  Through this study students will be able to observe and describe the relationship between structure and function.

Pick Your Pests

Pick Your Pests – Studying both plants and animals, the concepts of harmful versus beneficial and native versus invasive will be explored.  Students will be able to identify certain animal and plant pests, and understand the importance of managing, rather than eradicating, them.  They will also come to realize that there are many more beneficial than harmful insects species, and will understand insects’ important contribution to the ecosystem.

Nature Across the Curriculum

Communities on the Edge (Art)

Communities on the Edge (Art) – The areas where two communities come together, such as the edge of a pond, can often be the most interesting and the most biologically diverse.  Students will have a chance to explore two communities and the border where they meet.  After exploring these communities and their borders, students will create a piece of art that represents the mingling and overlap found at the edges.

Dragonfly Pond (Civics)

Dragonfly Pond (Civics) – In this interactive simulation students will play the part of townspeople that have to decide on the best land use for a fictitious wetland.  The activity will focus on value judgments and how those decisions affect both the land and the people.  Through this activity students will be able to evaluate the effects of different kinds of land use on wetland habitats, and discuss and evaluate lifestyle changes to minimize damaging effects on wetlands.

Drawing On Data (Mapping)

Drawing On Data (Mapping) – How will two different people see the same area? In completely different ways depending on their perspective.  This lesson takes the opportunity to look at the same habitat from two different perspectives, those of a scientist and an artist.  Students will be able to create maps and artistic renderings of a landscape.  They will also be able to understand the concept of perspective and how that affects value judgments.

Garbanzo Bugs (Math)

Garbanzo Bugs (Math) – This activity is a population simulation that will allow students to better understand the concepts of population, carrying capacity, and limiting factors.  This activity jumps the gap between science and math as students use computation and estimation skills to aid their inquiry.

Nature Journaling (Language Arts)

Nature Journaling (Language Arts) – After exploring some popular examples of nature journals, students will have the opportunity to create their own recycled paper journals and then find their own “special place” in nature where they are free to write about what they see.  Art supplies will also be furnished in case students wish to illustrate their journals or decorate with leaf and bark rubbings.

Nature News (Language Arts)

Nature News (Language Arts) – This activity is restricted to overnight and extended day groups.  In this activity students will work in groups to create a newspaper containing articles, pictures, and cartoons.  The students will be in charge of the content and the layout.  The content will be centered around environmental issues and inspired by the other lessons the students had throughout the day.  By the end of this activity students will be able to use literary and creative thinking skills to express thoughts and feelings on environmental issues.

Poet Tree (Language Arts)

Poet Tree (Language Arts) – In this activity students will explore their feelings about nature through poetry.  By the end of this lesson students will be able to recognize the thoughts and feelings caused by being in the outdoors.  They will also be able to express those feelings through artistic prose.  Finally students will be able to identify different forms of poetry and apply them in their own writing.

Adventure Challenge Education


Canoeing – In this introductory canoeing course students will spend the majority of the time on our one acre pond practicing some of the fundamental canoeing skills.  Students will also review basic safety guidelines and procedures for safe boating.

Orienteering I

Orienteering I – Students will learn the proper use of a compass for finding direction.  After practicing basic skills, students will use those skills to navigate a closed course.  Older more advanced groups may learn to use the compass with a topographical map to find direction over a large area.

Orienteering II

Orienteering II – Designed for older students and groups with previous map and compass experience, this program allows students to use those skills in a true orienteering race across a 1.5 mile orienteering course.  After a brief refresher on compass use and basic orienteering skills, students are divided into teams of 2-3 students, given a start time, and sent out on the course.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing – Students will use our 20 ft indoor wall to learn basic rock climbing technique.  This may not be available to all groups, please call for availability.


Tracking – Armed with plaster casting materials, students will head out in search of animal tracks and other signs of animal life.  Students will have the opportunity to make plaster casts of the tracks they find.  They will also learn to identify animals by their tracks as well as the basics of finding and tracking animal movement through tracks and trace evidence.

Large Group & Wrap Up Activities

Hooks & Ladders

Hooks & Ladders – In this large group activity students will simulate the life cycle of migratory fish.  Using this simulation students will better understand all of the factors, both natural and man made, that limit these fish’ success in the wild as well as what they can do to help increase their chance of survival.

Our Journey

Our Journey – We call this the ultimate wrap up activity.  This activity challenges students to work together in small teams to create posters that represent everything they have learned and experienced throughout their trip to Paradise Farm Camps, and to reflect on the ways they have grown as teams and as individuals.  This activity culminates in a “poster parade” allowing each group to share their poster with the rest of the group.

Park Ranger

Park Ranger – A large group activity perfect for younger groups that are first learning about animals and adaptations.  Students play a high energy game of tag similar to “sharks & minnows” in which they have to imagine they are native Pennsylvania Animals.  This is an activity with just a few simple rules that allows younger students to run around and have fun while recalling what they have learned about the animals that live in this area.

Predator Prey

Predator Prey – This large group activity will allow students to participate in an active simulation game that shows the interdependent relationships between predator and prey species.  Through this activity students will be able to recognize the effects of population loss and gain throughout several species connected within a food chain.

Evening Activities

Astronomy & The Night Sky

Astronomy & The Night Sky -Lying out under the stars, we will try to identify the many stars, planets, and satellites visible from our property.  In addition we will use the ancient Greek, Roman, and Native American myths to explore the constellations in the night sky.


Campfire - We get the whole group together for an evening full of Songs, Skits, S’mores and maybe even a Scary Story while sitting around the campfire.

Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag - It’s a camp classic.  Divide into two teams and see which team can defend their base while sending out troops to capture the other team’s flag.

Nature at Night

Nature at Night – A fantastic night hike to find the animals that become active after the sun sets.  We start at the pond to watch the bats swoop about catching dinner, while frogs create a symphony of calls.  The hike continues with an owl prowl, and finally ends at stations set up to attract the insects that come alive at night.

Recreation Activities


Fishing – Fishing on our pond can be an exciting activity for anglers of all abilities.  The pond on site is stocked with plenty of fish and we will provide a limited number or rods and reels, but if you choose to include this in your schedule please invite students to bring their own gear and bait.


Sports -The camp can provide the sports equipment and field space for any sports activities you may wish to do with you group.

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts – For a nominal supply fee we can put together a traditional camp arts & crafts program for your students.  Every student that participates will make a piece that they can take home.


Swimming – Available at an additional charge to spring overnight groups after the Memorial Day holiday.

Day Long Theme Programs

Nature Across The Curriculum Sample

Trees in Trouble? (Science) – Students will be provided information about forest health and sustainability.  They will then be asked to create a hypothesis regarding the health of our forests at camp.  After collecting data on the trees’ health they can then try to prove or disprove their hypothesis.

Garbanzo Bugs (Math) - Students will conduct a population study of the fictitious Garbanzo Bug. Using math concepts such as multiplying, fractions, and averaging, students will try to determine if the garbanzo bug is sustainable within its ecosystem.

Poet Tree (Language Arts) – Students will examine one small bit of nature, its form and function, and their relationship to it, and then given the opportunity to express their feelings about that relationship in verse.

Communities on the Edge (Art) – Students will explore the zone where two ecosystems meet, then using paint and canvas create an art piece that represents those communities and their connections.

Natures Dilemmas (History & Civics) – Students will choose one ethical dilemma and as a group take opposing sides of the dilemma, debating its pro’s and con’s.

Field, Forest, & Stream

Comparing the three Major Ecosystems we have at Camp.

  • How are they alike and how are they different?
  • How are they connected?
  • How do the abiotic factors in each ecosystem affect the biotic factors and vice versa?

Biodiversity – Insects and Other Creepy Crawlies

Making up the largest part of the faunal biomass, insects are a critical part of each ecosystem.  They also make a great predictor of ecosystem health.  Students will study insects in four ecosystems to better understand their importance in each.

Station 1 – Stream – Stream Study, students will be able to determine the health of the stream ecosystem by examining the aquatic insects living in the stream.
Station 2 – Field – Grasshopper Gravity, students will capture and study the insects in the field to better understand their morphology and the diversity that lives within this one ecosystem.
Station 3 – Forest – Fallen Log – insects as decomposers, students will better understand how insects help to perform the extremely important function of removing waste from the forest ecosystem.
Station 4 – Garden – Natives VS. Invasives, Harmful VS. Beneficial, these are important distinctions for insects and the farmers that try to control them.  Students will learn about these distinctions and how farmers are beginning to use Integrated Pest Management to control potentially harmful insects.

The Life of the Rain Drop

Students will follow the water cycle by studying the transportation and effects of water at four separate stations.
Station 1 – Top of the Hill – Students will learn about the Water Cycle, Cloud Formations & Weather, Evaporation & Transpiration.
Station 2 – Hillside or at a Spring – Students will explore the concepts of ground water, percolation tests, drinking water and earth filters.
Station 3 – Wetlands – Students will investigate the importance of wetlands for flow control as well as water filtering.
Station 4 – Stream – Students will conduct a physical stream study to measuring factors like flow rate.

Biodiversity – Animals In Their Habitats

Examining four ecosystems, students will be able to understand how each ecosystem and its limiting factors controls what variety of animals can create habitats in them.

Station 1 – Stream – Students will determine the limiting factors of the stream by studying the macro aquatic invertebrates that live within it.
Station 2 – Wetlands – By examining the wetlands students will understand why the wetlands make such an abundant habitat for a wide variety of organisms.
Station 3 – Forests – The forest community is one defined by layers, from the canopy all the way down to the forest floor.  Students will explore each layer and determine the similarities, differences, and connections between each layer.
Station 4 – Open Field/Meadow – Often seen as empty and barren, it takes a patient eye to look close and see the abundant life living within.
Station 5 – Large Group Wrap Up – The one similarity between all ecosystems is the interconnectedness through each ecosystem’s food web.  Students will play a highly interactive food web simulation game to better understand these connections.

Lentic vs. Lotic

An in depth examination of our three waterfront areas, the stream, pond, and wetlands.

  • How are they alike and how are they different?
  • How are they connected?
  • How do the abiotic factors in each ecosystem affect the biotic factors and vice versa?
  • What characteristics define a waterway as lentic or lotic?

Biodiversity – Trees, Plants, Everything Green

Plant Life is as diverse as the ecosystems in which they live.  Students will study plant life to better understand this biodiversity as well as how that plant life is connected to the rest of the biotic and abiotic factors within each ecosystem.

Station 1 – Forest – Tree and Leaf ID, Students will learn to identify trees by their leaves and bark.
Station 2 – Wetlands – Wetland plants have had to adapt to very special conditions.  Students will explore these adaptations to understand how the adaptations help the plants survive through periods of flood and drought.
Station 3 – Garden – Organic Gardening and Permaculture,  by helping in our garden students will better understand organic methods of gardening and the concept of Permaculture.
Station 4 – Forest & Meadow – Natives VS. Invasives, invasive plants have become problems in almost every ecosystems.  Students will be able to identify some common local invasive plants, why they are such a problem, and what they can do to deal with invasive plants.

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