“Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.”
– Terry Tempest Williams
Fox Haven offers children opportunities to observe, explore, learn, play and find refreshment and inspiration amidst the ecosystems at the farm. Our field trips are rich learning experiences and encourage children of all ages to use what they learn and share it with their families, classrooms, scout groups, and communities.
Learning takes many forms: working with the earth in the garden, orchard, and compost; exploring the forest and streams; observing insects; building fires; creating forest shelters; reading weather patterns; creating visual art; story writing and storytelling; poetry and letter writing and more.
Fox Haven’s field trips are a la carte programs, customized, upon age and ability level. We match our experiences to state education standards, Common Core, STEM, STEAM, Eco-literacy and Ag-literacy.
Homeschool groups love the farm and we enjoy creating programs that correspond to books the groups are reading, science/math studies, and social studies explorations. We require a minimum of 8 children.
Pricing is dependent on supplies needed, length of time spent at the farm, and number of children in the class/field trip. All programs can be 1-4 hours in length, depending on your goals and number of participants. The average field trip lasts 2 hours, with groups sometimes bringing their lunches and having some recess before loading onto the bus to head back to school. Prices range between $7-$12 per person for these trips. We offer one free adult entrance per 15 students.
We will work with you, teachers, parents, and youth workers, to craft a class to meet your needs. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
OUR NATURE-BASED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
Storytime in the Big Red Barn
Join us for a 1-hour storytime and nature walk. Bring a snack or lunch to enjoy afterward. This experience is for pre-school age children only.
Welcome to the world of the butterflies! We’ll read stories about their amazing lifecycle then take a look at their actual habitat here on the farm. A craft activity can be incorporated into this experience.
Decomposers & Scavengers
Discover the difference between these two vital groups, gather evidence of their presence at Fox Haven with a clipboard and magnifying glass in hand, play some decomposer tag, and create mushroom spore prints.
Compost on the Farm, Garden & Your Backyard
Learn about how animals, insects, fungus, and microorganisms work together in our eco-systems to enrich the soil so that we can grow delicious, healthy food. With magnifying glass in hand, children explore the garden and forest soils to discover these critical players. We move to the compost area to learn about aerobic and anaerobic composting, taking temperatures of piles and looking for evidence of life within. Vermicomposting, using red worms, is another area of exploration. If requested, we can teach the children to make their own worm compost bin to use at home, school, community center, or religious center. Children will learn about the human role in waste production, reduction, and repurposing. This class can be 1, 2, or 2.5 hours in length.
Pollinators & Poetry
Discover what hard work it is to be a pollinator. Look at all the different things that they do and their critical role in our Maryland ecosystems. They work really hard to keep our environment healthy and are critical to our food supply. Participants will go on a short hike to look for bees and other pollinators, without getting too close, gather their observations and return to the barn to write poetry together. Our beekeeper can be called upon to give a presentation on beekeeping, the history of the honeybee, and offer a taste of honey. We encourage safe strategies for learning about bees.
Orchards as Biodiverse Wonderlands
Discover the insects and companion plants that help fruit grow. Bring your clipboards, pencils and magnifying glasses to get a closer look and record your findings. Explore how we manage our orchard without pesticides. Learn how biodiversity is critical for we humans to survive and thrive on planet earth and how you can be a citizen scientist in your community.
Conservation on the Farm
This program is for students from eighth grade to college age. Reconnect with nature, read some Aldo Leopold, tour and explore conservation areas of the farm, examine how you can practice conservation at home, school, and in your community. Riparian buffer zones, warm and cold season grasses, food forests, and stream health will be addressed. Students will be connected with local and regional organizations that monitor conservation activities as a way to build a sense of civic engagement.
Native, Non-Native, and Invasive: Weeding through Plant Language
We offer a discussion and exploration on what these terms mean, why we should know them, and we lead you through plant identification while walking the land. What sort of benefits and challenges does each type of plant bring to ecosystems and wildlife? You will leave with more knowledge on what to plant to create your own habitat – be it in your yard, community garden, or apartment terrace. This program is geared towards middle school – college age students. It can incorporate a service project on the farm.
The American Chestnut: Historic, Economic, and Eco-System Wonder
We present the ecological, economic and cultural history of the American Chestnut with an open Q&A. We address the genetic backcrossing being done in Fox Haven’s orchard with a walking tour. The learning box contains samples from different types of trees in this family, chestnut seeds, and vintage photographs of these ancient giants of the forest. This program can be adjusted for elementary through college age students.
Watersheds and You
Explore how we protect the Catoctin Watershed on the farm and who appreciates the efforts. Walk the stream with nets, meet some micro and macro-invertebrates, and find the peace that waterways bring. This class has a size limit of 15.
I Am Nature – full day or half-day lessons
Come to Fox Haven for a day of fun, exploration and mindfulness. In the “I Am Nature” class kids will spend the day traversing the fields and forests of the Catoctin Creek watershed as they learn about the natural world that they are a part of. Through games, art and meditative exercises your child will gain a greater appreciation of the interconnectedness of all life, and the natural systems that shape our world. Come prepared to be outside all day! Bring water, a light snack and sunscreen, and wear close-toed shoes and long pants (preferably).
Some of the activities will include Ecology Tag to learn about predation, resource competition, limiting factors, stream observations, biodiversity activities and an orchard visit to talk about species ID and pollinators, and a wild space observation to learn the differences between human-managed and nature-managed spaces.
Fire & Frost: fire-making, animal tracking, shelter making, orienteering.
Finding our way in the wild, or even suburban woods can be a fun adventure with the right skills and tools. Suit up for fun in the outdoors!
Mindfulness in Nature Classes
We teach these classes in a series or as a one-time class. Children are given mindfulness tools to build self-awareness, resilience, and compassion towards themselves, others, and the environment. Creek exploration, storytelling, yoga, painting, sensory games, clay work, sand art meditation, agility games, music, and nature walks are all a part of this amazing program taught by Jan Hummer. She holds a master’s degree in Mindfulness Education and works with children and adults in Washington and Frederick counties.
Making a nature mandala gives kids a hands-on experience with nature, and uses art, science, and collaboration to create a unique piece of natural artwork. We’ll start out by mapping out a basic layout for the Mandala, making decisions about the size and shape of the mandala. Then we’ll forage flowers, leaves, and anything else we can find to create the pattern. We’ll discuss symmetry, color, and shape as we look for leaves, flowers and other things to help us create the best symmetry and unique patterns. While foraging for the plants we’ll be specifically looking for safe plants to pick and we’ll discuss their uses, whether edible or medicinal and any other interesting facts about them. Picking plants for the mandala will help kids commit the plants to memory and make a connection to them by getting a chance to work closely with them one on one.
Herb Garden Sensory Tour & Tasting
Tour the Garden and enjoy a tea tasting. Learn about the plants that are ripe for tasty recipes and medicine making. From the plant that gives pizza its zing, to the root that made the first marshmallow, to the flower that stops bleeding – we’ll tour the stories and senses that fill our garden.
Herbs for Wellness & Wild Food Foraging
Children will learn about the pantry available right under our feet! Learn to identify, harvest, and use edible wild weeds in nourishing food dishes. Explore the dandelion, milk thistle, nettles, burdock and so much more. Teas, soups, condiments, salads, and pestos nourish the body and reinforce our connection to the earth. Depending on class size and age of children, we can provide a snack-making activity.
Herbal Teas for Wellness
Herbs are tasty, nutritious, and can bring physical and mental wellbeing when used correctly and seasonally. Come explore these benefits while using your senses. You will create your own tea and taste several more. A walk around Fox Haven’s land and nearby forest to gather herbs can be incorporated into this experience.
Garden to Kitchen
Gather the ingredients for a tasty snack or a full meal. Discover the CSA – community supported agriculture. Learn about how the ingredients are grown in sustainable ways that regenerate the soil and our health. Practice your food prep skills and delight your taste buds. This class is for high school and college-age students.
Beekeeping 101 & Honey Tasting
Gather in the Dairy Parlor to explore the tools used to keep honeybees and produce honey. The history of and medicinal uses of honey, discovering our native bees through the microscope and walking the land (safe distance), and a taste of several different honeys is a wonderful way to come to love bees.
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