PreK-12 Program Updates

Youth Explore Conservation at Merry Lea

About a dozen high school students are spending a week at Merry Lea in June to learn more about sustainability, land management and future careers that might interest them. The schedule looks like a cross between summer camp and college. The week began with a toasty cross-property hike. Participants are also scheduled for service projects, a tour of the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm, a research hike, a smattering of geology and plenty of campfires.

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Volunteer Chris Broni prepares to transform into an opossum for Merry Lea's Enchanted Forest.

Enchanted Forest Transforms Volunteers into Native Animals

Merry Lea’s 2016 Enchanted Forest attracted a robust crowd of 220 people. Children had a chance to chat with native animals such as a beaver, an opossum, a monarch butterfly, an owl, a frog, a toad and a raccoon. Volunteer animals took a crash course in diet, predators, parenting and other habits of the animals they portrayed.

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Environmental educator with children.

Children Find Favorite Foods at Merry Lea Sustainable Farm

Exploring Merry Lea Sustainable Farm will wrap up a successful first season this week. The program introduces children to a working farm and the ways farm ecosystems are different from wild ecosystems.

During their visit, children act as scientists, comparing and contrasting wild ecosystems with a farm ecosystem. They also hunt for the ingredients found in foods like pizza. Above, a child records a food plant the group has sighted.

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Marcos Stoltzfus teaching.

Puffball Stirs Children’s Imaginations

Children on an Autumn Adventures field trip encountered a puffball near the Learning Center marcos-teachingBuilding on a recent October morning.

“What do you suppose this is? ” queried Marcos Stoltzfus, Director of Merry Lea’s Environmental Outreach program.

“A dinosaur egg!”

“Oooh! Wouldn’t that be exciting!” Marcos replied without missing a beat.

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