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Naturalist Education Programs

The park naturalist programs offer children and adults an opportunity to experience the natural world firsthand. The programs combine hands-on activities with guided discovery. This fosters a better connection, allowing the lesson to stay with the student long after they have left the park. These curriculum-based programs are offered throughout the year to schools, scout groups, clubs and organizations, home school communities, and to the public. 

Summary of Offered Courses  

The Park Palette Art Series- offered seasonally.

This three-week series is for students ages 10-18. Students learn how to paint native animals, plants, and landscapes using acrylic. These classes follow a step-by-step format and take place at Bowdoin Park.  All supplies are provided, and students take their artwork home. Students can take one class or all three within the series. 

Eaglet Adventures- offered seasonally & as a weekly summer program.

This program at Bowdoin Park is for ages 6-8 with their parents or caregivers. This program offers the chance to for children to become explorers and scientists. Participants will learn about animal tracking, pond life, endangered species, nocturnal animals, the animal food chain, and hiking safety.  

Adventure Program I and II- offered seasonally & as a summer program.

Adventure Program I is for ages 9-11. This program gives students the opportunity to be their own superhero and simulates a full-scale outdoor adventure. This program focuses on teambuilding as students work together to create their own storyline and solve puzzles and builds on critical thinking skills. Adventure Program II is for ages 12-14 and goes into greater depth of skill building including situational awareness, group strategy and problem solving.  Both programs take place at Bowdoin Park.

Survival Program I and II- offered seasonally & as a summer program.

Survival I is for ages 9-11 and is a combination of nature study and survival skills. Participants will explore forest habitats, hike nature trails at Bowdoin Park and observe native wildlife. Program focuses on silent movement, basic camouflage, hunting tools, tracking, group hunting techniques and survival awareness. Survival II (Intensive) is for ages 12-14 and goes into greater depth in outdoor survival education. 

Complete Survival- offered as a one-week summer program. 

Program is for ages 12-14 and explores basic survival skills as well as studies how prehistoric people approached survival and resources. Students must have previously attended Survival II (Intensive) to participate and takes place at Wilcox Memorial Park. 

Living Survival- offered as a one-week summer program.

This program at Bowdoin Park is for ages 15-17 and combines outdoor survival skills and creative adventuring together. Students use their knowledge to complete challenges such as fire making, tracking, purifying water and solving a weekly mystery. 

Adult Survival I and II- offered two times a year.

This program is for ages 21 and up and will go through the skills needed to in a short-term survival situation.  Adult Survival I at Bowdoin Park discusses disaster preparedness, shelter construction, basic fire making, basic survival pack, survival awareness and basic archery. Adult Survival II is an overnight survival challenge held at Wilcox Memorial Park and puts the skills learned in Adult Survival I to the test. Participants are separated into teams and each team must work together to build their own survival camp. Groups will also learn movement in darkness, and the challenges of long-term survival in the outdoors. Link here for flyer. 

Public Archery- offered all year.

This program at Bowdoin Park is for children and adults of any experience level. Each class is spent working on technique and playing various games to improve accuracy. All equipment is provided. 

Maple Education- offered February-March.

This program at Bowdoin Park is for youth and adults and is a hands-on opportunity where participants can take part in different steps in the process from tapping the trees, to collecting the sap, and then boiling it down to syrup. 

For more information on our naturalist programs call 845-298-4602 or email parknaturalist@dutchessny.gov.