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Animal Adaptations

Adaptations are physical features that improve an animal’s (or a plant’s) chances for survival. Students will be introduced to reptiles, mammals, and amphibians to observe and discover each animal’s adaptations. Students will be encouraged to observe and will have the opportunity to touch some of the animals


4.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.4,

Aquatic Plants and Animals

This is our most popular program. We will use nets and buckets to collect, and charts to identify, the various insects, crustaceans and other small creatures that inhabit our lake.  4th graders will investigate what adaptations are needed to survive in a pond while 5th graders will focus on the pond ecosystem and the plants and animals that live within.  Dichotomous keys will be used to identify the lake’s inhabitants.

4.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 4.L.1.4, Ex 4.L.1 

5.L.2, 5.L.2.1, 5.L.2.2, 5.L.2.3, Ex 5.L.2.1, Ex 5.L.2.2, Ex 5.L.2.3

Compost Crazy

At Chestnut Ridge we try to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and one way we do this is by composting our food waste. Students will visit our compost bins, get an up-close look at who’s at work in there. They’ll learn what goes in a compost bin (and what doesn’t), the role of temperature in composting, and how compost helps gardens, plants, and the planet. Take home instructions for how to start your own compost at home or school.


5.L.2, 5.L.2.1, 5.L.2.2, 5.L.2.3, Ex 5.L.2.3

Force and Motion

Inertia, Acceleration Action/reaction…On my! Explore Newton’s Laws of Motion and discover the power of gravity, friction & air resistance. Notice the transfer of energy as you propel marshmallows with a catapult you’ve created.  Then head to the lake to see how far Chestnut Ridges’ trebuchet can hurl a rock!

3.P.1, 3.P.1.1, 3.P.1.2, 3.P.1.3, Ex 3.P.1, Ex 3.P.1.1, Ex 3.P.1.2, Ex 3.P.1.3 

5.P.1, 5.P.1.1, 5.P.1.2, 5.P.1.3, 5.P.1.4, Ex 5.L.2.1, Ex 5.P.1.1, Ex 5.P.1.2

Herp Encounters

Did you know that North Carolina has more species of salamanders then anywhere else in the United States? In this program we focus on reptiles and amphibians. Students will meet (and possibly touch) different species of reptiles and amphibians most of which can be found right here in North Carolina!  Students will learn about the unique adaptations these creatures posses that allow them to survive as well as discover the importance of these creatures in the lake and pond ecosystems. We will discover which ones are bio-indicators and which ones are invasive species


4.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 4.L.1.4, Ex 4.L.1, Ex 4.L.1.1, Ex 4.L.1.2, Ex 4.L.1.4

5.L.2, 5.L.2.1, 5.L.2.2, 5.L.2.3, Ex 5.L.2, Ex 5.L.2.1, Ex 5.L.2.2, Ex 5.L.2.3

Changes in Property

What is matter? How can it change? These questions & more will be answered as we investigate the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. We’ll figure out what Gak really is and experience liquids turning into solids by either making candles or making (and eating) ice cream.  Some changes are oh, so sweet!

3.P.2, 3.P.2.1, 3.P.2.2, 3.P.2.3, Ex 3.P.2, Ex 3.P.2.1, Ex 3.P.2.3, Ex 3.P.2.4 


Many fascinating geologic features await you in this study of landforms. In this program students will learn specifically about local landforms. They will also investigate and explore our 362 acres as they discover the role water, wind, and time play in forming many features found at camp.


3.E.2, 3.E.2.2

Owl Pellets

In case you are wondering what an owl pellet is, it is the non-digestible part of the prey that the owl must regurgitate! Learn about the role and interdependence of predator and prey animals in our forest ecosystem. Discover the special adaptations that owls possess that allow them to be such efficient hunters. Students will dissect an owl pellet to identify skeletal remains of rodents and other animals.

4.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 4.L.1.4, Ex 4.L.1, Ex 4.L.1.1, Ex 4.L.1.2, Ex 4.L.1.4

Marvelous Minerals

Do you know that we interact with minerals all the time. Not only do we need to consume them to stay healthy but also we use them to build our houses and light our birthday candles. In this program we will examine and identify several minerals by testing their physical properties such as hardness, luster, color and magnetism. We will learn how we interact with minerals everyday and examine rocks to identify what minerals they are contain.

4.P.2, 4.P.2.2

Sensational Soils

Most people call it dirt, but soil is crucial for our survival! Come visit the forest, lake, and farm of Chestnut Ridge to discover the main types of soil (loam, clay, sandy, humus, etc.) and find out how soil is made! Student groups will get their hands dirty as they discover how to make their own soil using a variety of components

3.L.2, 3.L.2.4, Ex 3.L.2, Ex 3.L.2.3

Predator / Prey

The predator and prey relationship encompasses concepts such as survival of the fittest, adaptations, the fundamental differences between animals and relationships within an ecosystem. We’ll meet different predator and prey animals then learn firsthand about the different reactions of prey as they are being hunted, and the variables that can change the outcome of a hunt as we become predators and prey and play a game.

4.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.4, Ex 4.L.1, Ex 4.L.1.1, Ex 4.L.1.4

5.L.2, 5.L.2.2, 5.L.2.3, Ex 5.L.2, Ex 5.L.2.1, Ex 5.L.2.2,

Whatever the Weather

At Chestnut Ridge we are open all four seasons and experience a variety of weather phenomena. Come visit us in any season and become a water molecule that travels throughout the water cycle, watch a cloud being made and see if we can really make it rain during a sunny day.

5.P.2, 5.P.2.1

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