The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy recognizes that a sustainable future depends on an engaged and informed youth. We support environmental education in our region by offering WPC properties, projects and staff expertise to local teachers and student groups and through education programs at Fallingwater.
Education Partnerships at WPC
Are you an educator who would like to enhance your curriculum with a scientist in the classroom? Could your students benefit from a field experience in a nature reserve? The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is seeking opportunities to support educational programming at your school, organization, youth group or camp.
We recognize that a sustainable future depends on an engaged and informed youth. We offer our properties, projects and staff expertise to schools and other organizations, partnering to cultivate our youth as conservationists. WPC Education Partnerships in Action offers a glimpse into some of those collaborations.
To learn more about potential educational partnerships, please contact Danielle Forchette, WPC education coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education Programs at Fallingwater
Fallingwater is a house designed in 1935 by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was designed as a private residence and weekend home for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh and is one of Wright’s most widely acclaimed works and best exemplifies his philosophy of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature. Today, Fallingwater inspires students, scholars and artists during architectural tours, Learning through Architecture school programs, residency programs at the Fallingwater Institute and continuing education opportunities for adults.
WPC Education Partnerships In Action
The Conservancy works closely with teachers and partner organizations to fill specific needs for their students. Whether we lead a nature walk, attend a club or facilitate a scientific investigation at a summer camp, we love bringing students closer to nature. Here are some examples of our education partnership work.
- Outdoor Programming in Washington County: WPC staff teaches more than 300 students about water quality and fish populations during Trinity Area School District’s annual outdoor program. Want to learn more with your kids or elementary students? See our Watershed staff join PA American Water to teach about the “critters” who help us learn about what macroinvertebrates can tell us about water quality.
- Student Groups Plant Community Gardens: Each spring and fall, thousands of volunteers help plant and care for the Conservancy’s 132 community gardens. School students are among those volunteers who regularly participate in garden plantings, as well as helping to plant trees along streets and in parks. Do you have a group of young learners looking to get some hands-on gardening experience? Check out our garden volunteering opportunities here.
- Observing Nature All Around: Collaborating with the Allegheny County Library Association, WPC staff review and recommend nature-themed books available through the public libraries. Looking to extend the reading experience? Check out the Nature Explorers program at libraries in Allegheny County.
Nature provides invaluable learning experiences to children. Learning in an “outdoor classroom,” such as the school garden or your own backyard, offers many opportunities for students to explore, discover, observe and directly experience their surroundings.
The nature activities provided below are adaptable to a variety of educational settings and are best suited for children in first through third grades. Whether you’re a parent looking to supplement weekend or summer activities, or an educator seeking to develop new lesson plans, we hope you find these resources useful.
Let us know about your experience with a particular activity!
Bird Habitat Scavenger Hunt
Explore outdoors as you learn about different features in a bird’s habitat.
Experiencing your Environment through
Conservation (EYE Con) Institute
EYE Con provides a fun, hands-on STEM opportunity for high school students to experience conservation science while earning college credit. The Institute is led by biologists and educators from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Natural Heritage Program, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Westminster College.
Students work with biologists to design field-based experiments that will answer research questions relevant to natural resource management. EYE Con’s data collection methods are very similar to methods used by conservation professionals. This allows students to learn more about long-term monitoring of natural communities and populations of rare species in Pennsylvania, especially as it relates to climate change.