School Programs

If you’re a teacher or lead a youth group, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art offers a number of wonderful educational opportunities year-round for children and adults. All programs are led by trained center staff and volunteers, and besides being informative, are lots of fun. If you’re looking for something new and unique to do, call the Ned Smith Center at (717) 692-3699, or email us at  Please allow at least four weeks’ notice in scheduling.

NEW PROGRAM! Watershed Conservation and Aquatic Resource Teaching Trunks
This new and exciting resource allows teachers to bring authentic field study experiences to the classroom.  Each trunk is designed to provide teachers with all the information and resources necessary to engage students in a comprehensive review and study of aquatic ecosystems.  All activities can be completed on or near school grounds with ANY available water source.
These trunks have been specifically designed to align with Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Environment and Ecology.  Four trunks are available for grades 3-5 or grades 6-8 and are available for rental from the Ned Smith Center FREE OF CHARGE!  For additional information, contact Santino Lauricella, Director of Education, by email at
This program has been funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Nature Photography
Using digital cameras and special close-up lenses, students can learn the basics of photography (composition, balance, focal points) while exploring the scenic Ned Smith Center property and photographing natural subjects from wildflowers to salamanders and insects. Great opportunity for wildlife and plant identification. Time required: At least two hours; program can be part of a longer, half- or full-day visit to the Ned Smith Center. Target age: Third grade through high school.
Group size limited to maximum of 30.
The Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art extends our deepest appreciation for the digital photography equipment provided through a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities.

Nature Journaling
Though best known for his artwork, Ned Smith was a prolific and respected writer, with much of his work stemming from the detailed journals he kept for more than 40 years; these journals, in fact, led directly to his classic book “Gone for the Day.” Students will learn the difference between a nature journal and a diary as they are introduced to writings by Ned Smith, Lewis and Clark and others; they will make their own attractive, sturdy nature journal; and will have a chance to hike the Ned Smith Center lands in a guided exercise to experience, record and share their observations. Time required: At least two hours; program can be part of a longer, half- or full-day visit to the Ned Smith Center. Target age: Older elementary through middle school. Group size: Maximum of 30.
NEW! How to Nature Journal for Kids

Wildlife Art of Ned Smith
Students will examine Ned Smith’s original artwork — watercolors, acrylics and oils, pen-and-ink drawings and field sketches — and learn why his works are so highly prized by art lovers, and respected by naturalists for their accuracy. Program closely examines what makes good art composition, the style and techniques Smith used, makes comparisons with the work of other artists in the center’s collection, and explores details of the natural world found in Ned Smith’s work. Time required: At least one hour. Target ages: Elementary to high school.
Group size: Maximum of 30

Hike the Ned Smith Center Lands
With more than 500 acres of stream, meadow and mountainside, the Ned Smith Center’s property affords many opportunities for outdoor exploration, either on your own or accompanied by a staff member or volunteer. Hikes vary in difficulty and distance, from level, wheelchair-accessible grades along a former railroad bed to longer, rugged loop hikes of up to 10 miles, with exceptional views of the Susquehanna River and Appalachian ridge-and-valley system from the summit of Berry Mountain. Time required: Varies. Target ages: Any age group, depending in difficulty.
Group size: Varies.

Custom Programs
The Ned Smith Center is always happy to work with you to devise programs to fit your special needs in the arts or natural sciences, though we ask for as much advance notice as possible. We have contacts with many naturalists, conservationists and artists who will be pleased to share their knowledge with your group. Contact the Center to discuss your special interests and needs.

Ned Smith Center