Since 1956, the Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center (formerly the Maine Conservation School) has worked with thousands of students, teachers, and groups helping them explore and investigate our natural world. Our summer camp and Lakeside Classroom school programs offer a unique blend of inspired fun, practical outdoor skills, hands-on experiential science, and team building/leadership activities which help form the foundations for a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors.
The Bryant Pond 4-H Camp and Learning Center’s Lakeside Classroom program is designed to inspire stewardship of our environment by fostering a “sense of wonder” as well as an understanding of what it means to live sustainably on a planet with limited resources. As our students develop a relationship with the natural world and confidence in their outdoor skills, they take steps toward a lifelong stewardship ethic. Our curriculum is a unique blend of fun, conservation education, and instruction in outdoor skills.
Activities take place in small study groups of 8-12 students, each led by an experienced field teacher. Our programs are designed to be part of the classroom curriculum. Every program is correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards and is further tailored to the curricular goals of each participating class.
Please contact our Assistant Director (207-665-2068) to inquire about a custom-designed program for your school group. Click here to see a photo tour of our facilities.
Teambuilding and Leadership Skills
Students who participate in teambuilding activities develop cooperative attitudes and appreciation for the differences of others. Students work together in small groups and face challenging activities as a unit, relying on each other to successfully complete tasks and initiatives. Communication, conflict resolution, motivation, goal setting, and leadership development are outcomes of the team experiences. Whether navigating the low ropes course, building a group shelter to sleep, or working in pairs on the map and compass course, cooperation with one another becomes vital to a successful experience in our program.
Conservation Education Programming
Students who participate safely in outdoor activities associate nature with fun. Outdoor recreation also helps individuals connect with their own potential, and as a result, can boost self-esteem, self-reliance, and confidence. Kayaking, canoeing, orienteering, hiking, high ropes, fishing, archery, and other nature-based recreational activities lead to increased levels of comfort in outdoor settings, and ultimately in a lifelong passion for healthy outdoor activities.
Students have an opportunity to discover the interconnected and ever-changing forest as they become scientists among the branches of coniferous and broadleaf trees. Adventuring in the forest encourages students to get to know our resident producers, consumers, and decomposers and to appreciate the role each has in maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem. Students might learn to use field guides to identify trees, investigate decomposing logs, ponder the formation of our unique landscape, or focus on the cycles that allow Maine forests to flourish.
Students will have an opportunity to explore Bryant Pond’s various water sources including Lake Christopher, vernal pools, ponds, and streams. They will look at the ABC’s of ecology which covers biotic and abiotic factors along with the cycles and changes that occur in an ecosystem. This unit focuses on discovery and exploration using hands-on learning opportunities. Students will use keys to identify the many micro and macroinvertebrates that call Bryant Pond home.
Students who develop sensory awareness perceive the natural world as a living part of themselves, not as a separate commodity. We encourage students to expose their senses to the natural environment, get their hands dirty, wade into streams, and hike through the woods day or night. Outdoor games and activities such as the string stalk, blindfolded walks, animal tracking, and fire-making engage students directly with the natural world. The result is an awakening to the rich, complex, and interconnected nature of our world.
*If one of the following programs does not fit your curriculum please contact the Assistant Director to get more info on a custom program.*