Tupper Lake, NY – As area schools open their doors on a brand new year, so too does The Wild Center’s School Group Program. The annual field trip favorite for students and teachers alike is geared toward Pre-K through college-aged students and not only fits state education standards, but also is engaging through hands-on, interactive experiences.

“We’re excited to kick off the school year with a great selection of educational programs that engage, excite, and empower students as science learners, while supporting teachers and current education standards,” says School Programs Coordinator Michael Trumbower.

This year, groups can choose self-guided adventures or choose to add a Wild Classroom program during their visit. Self-guided adventures will allow groups to have a brief orientation with Wild Center staff before being turned loose to explore the 450 animals, Wild Walk, iForest, the Flammer Panoramic Theater, outdoor trails and new exhibits for themselves. Wild Classroom programs are student-centered, naturalist-led experiences in which students get hands-on and up-close to topics such as earth systems, natural history, biology and engineering.

Much of The Wild Center’s School Programming is informed by Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). VTS is an innovating learning practice designed to improve the ability of students of all ages to observe, think, listen and communicate. The inquiry-based teaching strategy was originally developed for art museums like MOMA to provide an opportunity for students to better engage with and make their own meaning from pieces of art without correction or guidance from the teacher. The Wild Center has adapted these strategies for natural history and science as VTS blends so well with science and engineering practices found in current science standards. For example, students may be introduced to a porcupine and examine it closely as they look for clues, present ideas and formulate possibilities to questions asked of them. Instead of being told the correct answer right away, they work together as a group, learning more about the porcupine and its place in the Adirondacks through what they observe.

For more information on school group visits, contact Michael Trumbower at (518) 359-7800 x112 or visit The Wild Center’s website.