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A large percentage of the spring and fall programming at our parks and reservoirs is with local school groups. Programs range from general hikes to trips to unique features of a property to curriculum based sessions designed by property staff and/or teachers. Program lengths vary, but generally range from 1-4 hours. These programs are typically available at sites with a full time interpretive naturalist. Some of our interpreters also offer in-school programming during the winter months. On site and off site programs are also available to scout and other youth groups as well. Call early to schedule any field trip or other environmental education program - we’re in high demand.
Resources for Teachers and Students
Each property has unique features on which we focus in our programming and exhibits. These primary messages, called themes, can help teachers choose field trip content and sites to visit.
These themes can also help students who are writing research reports about an Indiana state park or reservoir. Download the web booklet Discovering a Sense of Place: An Overview of the Special Stories and Features of Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs to learn more about our properties.Try our new elementary school centennial curriculum in your classroom or with your group. The curriculum views Indiana’s history through the lens of our Indiana State Parks.
Teachers can learn about the curriculum in one of six workshops across the state during the summer of 2016. See workshop locations and registration information here.
Programs On-Site at State Parks or Reservoirs
A $1/person fee will be charged for on-site educational programs at state parks or reservoirs. Funds collected are used to support interpretation and education at our state park and reservoir properties. For more information about this fee, download our Group Program Fee FAQ.
Programs at Your Site
A $2/person fee is usually charged for off-site programs at schools or other locations, but that fee may be adjusted depending on type of program, staff needed, and distance traveled. We know that many schools and groups are stretching budgets, and we want to help. At the same time, we want to continue to connect students to the outdoors and to the parks and reservoirs in their own backyards.
Properties may limit distances travelled since our budgets are tight. They may also limit the number of days they go off-site for programs so we don't overlook our regular property visitors.
Contact the state park or reservoir nearest you for their in-classroom program options.
Discovering the Outdoors Field Trip Grants
We are pleased to offer field trip grants to Indiana educators and their students. This grant program in the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, is designed to distribute funds to public, private, parochial, or home school educators interested in taking students on field trips to an Indiana state park or reservoir. The fund was originally established in memory of Tom Huck, a long-time DNR employee who was an ardent supporter of the work of the interpretive naturalists in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and of the value of outdoor experiences for children.
Field trips can engage students in learning about Indiana's fish, forest, wildlife, or natural habitats and their conservation, or about Indiana's history and cultural resources as they relate to Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. These learning experiences should support science, social studies and other academic concepts being taught in the classroom. Grants will enable educators to provide real-world learning experiences beyond the classroom.
Any educator in a school or school district in Indiana from kindergarten to grade 12 may apply for the grant. Educators in home school groups are also eligible. Additional grant requirements are included in the application form.
Applications are accepted between May 1 - June 30 each year for the school year to follow.