School Program Options

Download the Ashokan School Program Brochure for more details.

Updated November 2017.

Natural Science Series

Students are immersed in nature as they make and record natural history observations, collect authentic ecological data, and discuss the conservation of natural resources.  Units of study in the Natural Science series include:

  • Water Quality Assessment
  • A Hike to Cathedral Gorge
  • Forest Ecology
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Watershed Study
  • Animal Tracks and Traces
  • Plant and Pollinator Phenology
  • Field Ornithology

Living History Series

Here students experience what it was like to live more than a century ago. Students consider the ingenuity employed by humans from the time of the Native Americans to the Industrial Revolution and incorporate journaling and dialogue; comparing and contrasting today’s practices and values with those of our ancestors.  Units of study in the Living History series include:

  • 1817 Schoolhouse
  • 1830 Homestead
  • Writer’s Cabin

Hands-on History & Colonial Craft Series

This series of programs emphasize the system of apprenticeship employed prior to the Industrial Revolution through hands-on experiences and live action role playing. Students discuss and write about the concept of community, roles people held within the community, and how the practices and systems of the pre- and post-Industrial Revolution have changed our lives. Units of study in the Hands-on-History & Colonial Crafts series include:

  • Blacksmithing
  • Broommaking
  • Tinsmithing

Adventure Education Series

Using outdoor activities as a way to inspire community-building, new skills development, and safe outdoor-adventure practices, the Adventure Education Series engages students with each other through challenging and problem-solving experiences. Fun, healthy, and educational, this series takes place in a setting that promotes physical and emotional safety for all. Units of study in the Adventure Education series include:

  • Survival
  • Adventure Canoeing
  • Group-Building Games
  • Intermediate Ropes Course

Living off the Land Series (Seasonal)

  • Cider Pressing (Autumn)
  • Maple Sugaring (Early Spring)

Other Options

Nature Art (NEW!)

During our new Nature Art class students will interact with nature while exploring some of the Elements and Principles of Art. Through the use of natural materials, students will cooperatively create a temporary art installation.

Sense of Place Journaling

When students arrive at the Ashokan Center they receive a Sense of Place Journal to keep during (and after) their journey through the Ashokan educational experience.  This journal gives students the opportunity to record new ideas and skills, personal reflections and represents a powerful way to bring this practice of journaling home.  The activities, exercises, and journal prompts explore natural and cultural history, present-day social and environmental issues, home and family origins, and one’s personal relationship to place. The journal functions as a naturalist’s field journal, a poet’s notebook, an artist’s sketchbook and more. Students will leave the Ashokan Center with a keepsake from their experience that records and captures their sense-of-place challenges and discoveries. This journal spans the chasm often observed between field trips and classroom education by incorporating educational and artistic activities meant to provide an interdisciplinary and natural history based understanding of the human relationship to place.

Stewardship Service Learning Projects

Service Learning provides an opportunity for students to work directly with the land and to understand the work and care needed to manage a landscape in a sustainable way for future generations. Projects are seasonally appropriate and change according to what is needed on the land during any particular time period. Examples of Service Learning projects:

  • Native Plant Restoration
  • Invasive Species Removal
  • Gardening and Permaculture
  • Composting
  • Trail Maintenance

Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers

The Ashokan Center offers Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) to teachers and school administrators. While students are experiencing Ashokan’s wide array of experiential educational programs in natural history, science, history, adventure education, and service learning — teachers will have the opportunity to engage in a professional development and community-building experience. Teachers and students will leave Ashokan with new educational tools that imbue existing curriculum with experiential and inquiry-based learning approaches.


Download the Ashokan School Program Brochure, for more details.

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The Ashokan Center
477 Beaverkill Rd.
Olivebridge, NY 12461

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