These and a dozen other hands-on classes form the backbone of the Environmental Education Program. Each class, led by Penn’s energetic and trained staff, lasts 90 minutes and explores a specific part of the natural surroundings on our campus.
Students are introduced to various environmental science concepts, including the use of biotic indexes and dichotomous keys, discoveries of various onsite habitats, etc. Key concepts are highlighted and hands-on explorations bring home the real-world importance of newfound knowledge. Classes are designed to take advantage of those unique educational resources that are available at the Center, especially the 220 acres of forests, lakes, streams, and fields… even dark night skies. In this way, the outdoor science classes at Penn can complement lessons already being learned in the classroom. Care is taken to correlate classes & topics with North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study for each grade level of student.
The atmosphere is an enjoyable balance between the excitement and wonder of a camp experience and the seriousness and studiousness of a science or math exploration. Betsy-Jeff Penn’s staff of instructors are able to make strong interpersonal connections with individual students over the course of a two or three day program, bringing opportunities for emotional growth and role modeling, as well.
An overnight trip to the Environmental Education Program, including sleeping in cabins, eating in the dining hall, singing around a campfire and star-gazing, can be the highlight of a school year.