Program Descriptions

All About Birds – Birds are beautiful and fun to watch. Discover what makes a bird a bird, and learn how to identify birds in your backyard. Students will take part in activities to help teach them adaptations and general bird characteristics.

Animal Adaptations – Figure out how animals are able to survive by finding food, water, and shelter in a variety of habitats. Discover animal adaptations through examining animal skulls, pelts, specimen’s and participating in group activities.

Aquatic Adventure/Pond Life (May – September) – Discover the creatures that live in and around a freshwater pond and learn to identify them. See how the insects, fish, turtles and plants depend on each other in a food chain, as we build a pond together. Participants will have a chance to get hands-on with local Green and Bullfrogs, tadpoles, fish, and take a closer look at the water boatman, giant water bug, dragonfly nymph and other aquatic insects. You’ll observe these in larval and adult stages, find out how these animals have adapted to life underwater, and how they are all connected to each other. This program encourages hands-on participation through net sampling of bottom sediments.

Changing Trees (October-November)  – The Adirondacks are alive with color in the fall. This is an ideal time to learn about trees while exploring one of Up Yonda’s woodland trails. Discover why trees are an important natural resource for humans and wildlife. Learn how trees grow and the parts of a tree through hands-on activities. Take a hike and learn to identify common local species.

Dark Wings Discover the creatures that rule the night – bats and owls. See the lighter side of these animals who have long been a source of fear in the dark.

Maple Sugaring (March) In March, come to Up Yonda and discover the craft that has become a legend in the northeast. As the sun begins to warm the trunks of sugar maple trees, sap starts to flow. This marks the start of the sugaring season in the Adirondacks. Join us for Maple Sugar Basics and enjoy the process that yields sweet reward! We’ll tap, collect, and boil the sap of sugar maples on the property, then we’ll cover all the steps to get from sap to syrup. Our sugar house makes this popular program even better!

The Pollinators (May – August) – Learn about the lives of the fascinating honeybee and other local pollinators. See how pollination results in the production of honey. Watch the worker bees toil behind the glass in our observation hives. See if you can find the queen, and look for emerging young. You’ll see some of the tools of beekeeping and learn why bees are so beneficial to all of us.

Monarch Butterflies (July-September)  – Learn about this fascinating insect and its annual migration. Discover the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. As summer comes to an end, millions of monarchs begin their annual journey to Mexico. This amazing insect weighs as much as a paper clip, and can fly distances over 2000 miles! The University of Kansas coordinates a network of volunteers dedicated to monitoring the fall migration. This program includes field observations and a chance to catch a wild monarch. Nature permitting, selected participants will tag monarchs with a naturalist.

Natural Heritage – Get hands-on with as many New York State symbols as you can!  The topics covered include our New York State symbols and their meaning, as well as the natural formation of our state’s mountains, lakes and rivers.

Night Sky– The portable planetarium known as Starlab is used for this program and presentations are held indoors during the day. Learn to identify some of the constellations in our sky and hear about the mythology behind them. You will become familiar with star patterns, their names and locations, and even how they are created. Topics include: star patterns, star names, The Solar System, constellations, Greek mythology, and Native American storytelling. Our StarLab also supports Earth Science classes with both Regents Astronomy and Plate Tectonics presentations and Life Science with the Biological Cell presentation.  School programs run from sixty to ninety minutes, depending on the grade level. StarLab accommodates roughly 25(K-3rd), 20 (4th-6th) or 14-18 10th grade students.

Orienteering is a competitive sport where participants find their way to various checkpoints using a map and compass. The winner completes the course the fastest.  In this program participants will learn the use of a basic compass (provided) and traverse a practice string trail before putting their newfound skills to work navigating to locations around Up Yonda Farm.  This is a great program for those interested in learning to use a compass, navigating outdoors, and having some fun finding their way around Up Yonda Farm. We’ll be off trail in the fields and open woods around the fields, so bug spray and sunscreen are recommended!  This program is best for ages 10 and above and can be done at your location as well.  Contact the Up Yonda Farm Naturalists to see how to bring orienteering to your school or group’s location.

Ready or Not (November – December) – As winter approaches, animals and plants prepare for the change in different ways. We will examine how wildlife survives the season of cold and wind. Activities will focus on migration, hibernation, and adaptations. Discover Adirondack wildlife through skulls, pelts, specimens and animal tracks.

Snowshoeing (January – February) – Up Yonda staff is excited to offer snowshoeing in the winter. The program includes a brief look at the history and techniques of the sport. Then we will travel the trails looking for signs of animal activity. Commonly seen tracks at Up Yonda Farm include: fox, white-tailed deer, turkey, squirrel, crow, feral cat, and more. Best of all, we will have a fine time playing in the Adirondack outdoors! Come enjoy the property during one of the most beautiful times of the year.  Snowshoeing can also be brought to your group or school, the Up Yonda Naturalists can come to you with snowshoes for your group and lead activities at your location.  Group size is limited, and additional fees for snowshoe rental apply. This program is weather dependent, as adequate snow cover is required.

Watersheds – Explore the local watershed through hands-on activities, topographic maps, an Enviroscape and the TopoBox.  Using the TopoBox, an augmented reality sandbox, participants will investigate how water flows on different topography by manipulating the sand to see immediate results.  This program will also look at the Up Yonda Farm rain garden, pond and wetland to see how different areas affect water flow.

Wild Things – Discover the fascinating lives of reptiles and amphibians. Learn more about snakes, newts, turtles and many others. Figure out the difference of these groups of animals with the help of reptile and amphibian props. If available there will be a few, small, native live animals

Woodworking – Woodworking programs at Up Yonda Farm make a great hands on outing! All our kits are pre-cut, drilled and ready to assemble using only a screwdriver. Projects include: bluebird houses, bird feeders, bat houses, walking sticks, bug boxes, and more. Woodworking can be arranged well in advance for school and group programs and does require an additional fee per kit. Please inquire about kit options when requesting the program. This program is not suitable for children under 2nd grade level. – Birdhouses and feeder kits are currently out of stock. Please inquire about our walking stick program!

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for – Contact the Up Yonda Farm Naturalists to discuss a custom or modified natural science topic for your group.