All Day Hike| All Seasons
The Marshall Pond and Eco Ag Center education sites are connected via the 4-mile Unity Mountain Trail. The trail passes through forest and fields that were once farmland, allows access to 2 ponds, an overlook, and nearby beaver lodge and dam. Natural & cultural history can be taught along the trail and teachable moments abound.
Special note: Students will need to bring water and lunch and wear closed toed shoes. This is not a loop trail. Drop-off and pick-up are at 2 different locations. Snowshoes are required for winter hikes.
Biodiversity Blitz | Fall, Spring
Compare the biodiversity of 2 or more study areas. Students will use field guides and keys to identify as many living organisms as possible in a specified area of forest, field, or wetland. They will use the Simpson's Biodiversity Index to compare species richness and evenness in each plot to determine which has more biodiversity.
Citizen Scientists | All Seasons
Students will collect data for any number of seasonal citizen science projects. The data will be used by professional scientists around the world. Mission Monarch, Project Budburst, Lichen Monitoring, Water Quality Testing, Pollinator Garden Phenology, and iNaturalist are some of the projects available.
Special note: iNaturalist requires a free app to be downloaded.
Invasive Plants | Fall, Spring
How do exotic, invasive plants effect the ecology of an area? Learn to identify some of NH's most wanted invasive plants and actively help manage some of these plants on the County Lands or schoolyard as a service learning project.
Special note: Handsaws, pruning shears, and shovels will be provided. Gloves are not provided.
Mammal Tracks & Signs| Winter
Explore how wildlife moves through the winter landscape. Be a detective and use clues such as tracks and signs to uncover the story of the animals that are active this time of year in the forest and field.
Special Note: Up-close examination of skins and skulls may be included when available.
Mission Monarch | Summer, early Fall
Learn about the life cycle of an insect as you search for monarch butterfly eggs, caterpillars and chrysalides among the milkweeds. Count how many of each life stage you find. This number will be recorded and reported to an International citizen science project. Information about the monarch breeding population helps organizations to make decisions that help to protect monarch habitat and their amazing migration.
Special Note: Only available late July, August, and early September.
Monarch Tagging | Fall
Learn about the life cycle of an insect and migration as you search for and attempt to catch adult monarch butterflies. Adults that are caught will be tagged with a small sticker on their outer wing in an effort to monitor the migratory population. The data will be reported to an International citizen science project called Monarch Watch and used to help make decisions about monarch conservation.
Special Note: Only available September and sometimes early October.
Soil Science | Fall, Spring
What is soil and why is it important? Use your senses and some tools to study the soil like a scientist. Tests include color, texture, composition, and water retention. Students will learn about soil horizons and the underlying geology of NH soils.
Special Note: It is best if we can dig a soil pit, but soil can be brought in if need be.
Stories in the Stars | All Seasons
Study the stars, the moon, planets, and the Milky Way Galaxy as you connect to cultures around the globe and across history. Learn how to find the most obvious constellation in the sky at the time while learning science and cultural stories connected to it. Discover threats to darkness and how you can measure light pollution through the Globe at Night project.
Special Note: This is an indoor program during the school day, but can be outdoors as a special program at your school. This could even be part of a Star Party in collaboration with the NH Astronomical Society.
Stream/Pond Studies | Fall, Spring
Determine the health of an aquatic ecosystem through chemical and physical testing. Students will also conduct a biotic survey - collecting and identifying benthic macroinvertebrates as a long-term measure of health.
Surviving Winter | Winter
Discover how plants and animals survive long, cold, dark New England winters. Topics may include migration, hibernation, food cacheing, tracking, and tree characteristics.
Special Notes: Some activities require snow.
Valley Quest | Any Season
Tell the story of a special place by creating a Valley Quest on public lands. Vital Communities hosts this program and SCCD works with their educators to help students gain a sense of place through various activities. Students can focus on natural and/or cultural history. They will create a map, design and carve an ink stamp, and create clues that are usually written in verse.
Special Notes: It takes many weeks to create a valley quest, so this is best as a series of lessons, once a week and requires a meeting or phone call with Vital Communities and SCCD to create a schedule and focus area.
Winter Tree ID | Winter, early Spring
Be a twig detective. Take a close-up look at twigs and buds. Learn the lingo for the different structures and use field guides and keys to identify trees using everything but leaves.