Letchworth’s Humphrey Nature Center offering virtual field trips
The Humphrey Nature Center at Letchworth State Park will offer live, guided, educational field trips for students of all ages.
Schools can call in to the Nature Center using the virtual meeting platform of their choice for an educator to accompany their class as they watch the park’s virtual field trip videos, free of charge.
“Since June, teachers have been sending their classes YouTube links to our virtual field trips and keeping in touch with us,” said Elijah Kruger, environmental educator at Letchworth State Park. “Now, our staff are trained to guide classes through those virtual field trip videos live on camera, just as we would for an in-person hike outside.”
When educators started working from home as part of COVID-19 public safety directives, in-person programs were impossible. In response, the Humphrey Nature Center started Nature Detectives, a weekly observation-based educational video series on Facebook.
Since March, the park has released weekly videos where seasonal Student Conservation Association member Conrad Baker invites viewers to notice specific details of a mysterious plant, animal or fungus that leads to identifying it and learning how it affects humans.
Staff members produced three, 25-minute videos with most of the fundamental material normally delivered during outdoor programs as part of the Nature Center’s long-term response plan. All are accessible on the New York State Parks YouTube channel.
Letchworth State Park is producing more virtual field trips and making their educators available to connect virtual field trip material to teachers’ lesson plans, enrich what students have already covered as a class and answer student questions.
“The pandemic was an unexpected opportunity for the park to get out of our comfort zone and focus on online content,” Kruger said. “Virtual programming is now very much our comfort zone. We’re delighted to see teachers and homeschoolers getting good use out of our educational videos and want to keep nurturing this new style of education.”
Call (585) 493-3683 to schedule a virtual guided program.