Environmental Educational Programs:
The Paul Smiths VIC is committed to promoting a closer connection between children and nature. To that end, the VIC offers a variety of educational programs designed to teach area school children about the natural world and give them a positive outdoor learning experience at the VIC.
While at the VIC, students will find examples on the VIC's 3,000 acres of all of the various habitats of the park (marsh, pond bog, beaver meadow, mixed hardwood forest, mixed conifer forest) except Alpine summits. In addition, natural features (including glacial formations like eskers, kettle holes and glacial erratics, and several ponds) as well as the 2364' high Jenkins Mountain are accessible on the property.
The VIC seeks to encourage students from the college, as well as the public, to enjoy the nearly 30 miles of trails year round and participate in interpretive and environmental education, outdoor and adventure recreation and the arts. The goals are to increase awareness of and sensitivity to the natural environment, acquire environmental values and concerns, develop healthy and sustainable life-skills, provide learning tools to help identify and solve environmental problems, and provide opportunities for active participation and protection of the environment.
Teachers from local school systems may choose from selections of the VIC's different programs. These allow teachers to create their own programs for their visits to the VIC, regardless of time constraints. With this option, teachers are welcome to focus field trips on whichever activities best compliment their classroom curriculum. Each environmental education program is about 30-40 minutes and will be tailored to the specific age group as well as satisfy portions of, but not be limited by, the NYS Learning Standards. These K-6th Programs will be available Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The cost is $3.00 per student. Teachers and chaperons are free.
In addition, the VIC offers a series of No School Days programs for children in grades 3-5 during the school year. These half-day and full-day sessions are designed for days when school is not in session.