Educational Course Descriptions:
Environmental Education |
| Outdoor Education/
Water Ecology (Pond Study):
Students visit pristine Jackson Lake, search for and sample plants,
animals and water. Specimens are then taken back to the
classroom for further exploration using magnification.
Discussion includes identification, classification, adaptations, and
interdependence of organisms (food web), human impact on aquatics,
water quality, water cycle, and watersheds.
Students study bird behavior
and adaptations using bird study skins, binocular use and care, Bird
habitat, field guide use and conclude with a hike on Ebersole trails
looking for birds and bird signs.
Students study native
Michigan owls and learn identification by sight, sound and habitat.
Discussion includes owl's place in a food web, owl adaptations,
human impact on owls and habitat destruction. Students also
dissect owl pellets to encourage discussion about food webs,
adaptations and predator-prey relationships. There is a small
per pellet charge for owl pellets.
Students compare first-hand the different parts
of plants and animals and how physical and behavioral
characteristics help them survive in their habitat. Students
are encourages to think independently as they observe these
characteristics while exploring Ebersole Center ecosystems.
Using the Center's beech and maple
hardwood forest, students will look at the different stages in a
tree's life-cycle from seed to decomposition. By comparing these
different stages first-hand students have a greater understanding of
how trees fit into the food web and why other plants and animals are
found in the forest.
Students explore the different
Ecosystems found at Ebersole Center and study what makes each
ecosystem unique. Discussion includes movement of animals from
one ecosystem to another in order to acquire all the animals needs,
Interdependence of plants and animals, and interesting organism
Students safely work through a series of obstacles geared towards
working as a group and encouraging one another. Adventureland is
geared towards 1st- 4th graders
Course/ Challenge Course:
Participants utilize cooperation, communication, and problem solving
skills to safely achieve a series of challenges. Teamwork,
personal confidence, resourcefulness, physical limitations and group
dynamics are also stressed. Teams and Challenge Courses are
beneficial and suitable for groups 4th grade through adult.
Ebersole Naturalists can also create a "custom" team building
experience off-site utilizing portable equipment.
Skills: Students are
encouraged to think about how they would survive if stranded in the
wilderness. Discussion includes necessities for life.
Students then work in groups to build debris huts (shelters), purify
water, and build small campfires. This course is often linked
with Orienteering (below).
includes various ways to orient yourself in relation to the rest of
the world and how to find your way out of the woods. Students
then learn how to correctly use a compass and how to estimate walking
distances. Students then work in groups to find their way
through a series of points in the woods using compass coordinates and
walking distances. This course is often linked with
Survival Skills (above).
Half-Day Canoe Trip: Groups can plan an off-site,
half-day canoe trip in order to hone skills learned while
canoeing on Jackson Lake. Center canoes
are trailered to a lake a few miles from Ebersole, while students are
transported by the center bus. Students then paddle in a group
through a series of lakes and channels and are required to safely
exit, portage and launch canoes as well as maneuvering through a
variety of waterways. Teamwork is required to successfully
complete the trip. There is an additional mileage charge for
Canoeing: Safety is stressed as students learn
the basics of canoe technique and etiquette. Students learn the
parts of the canoe, several canoe strokes, how to enter and exit a
canoe, proper paddle use and importance of life jackets.
Students explore the quiet waters of Jackson Lake practicing what they
have learned. Canoeing instructors must be certified lifeguards
(center Naturalists have this certification). This course is
also a prerequisite for groups wishing to participate in the
Half-Day Canoe trip.
Archery: Students learn to safely handle and properly
use bow, arrows and other archery equipment. Safety and accuracy are stressed.
Students improve their skills by taking turns practicing shooting at
Fishing: Students learn basic fish terminology and
morphology as well as discuss fish adaptations and fishing safety.
Students learn to safely bait their own hooks and spend time trying to
catch "the big one" from Jackson Lake. Caught fish are
identified by species and returned to the lake. Groups supply
their own bait or for an additional charge Ebersole can supply bait
(must be ordered in advance).
Springs Hike: Students travel
by bus to Yankee Springs State Recreation area (about 15 minutes).
At the Park, they will hike on a variety of terrain and discuss
history of the area, both prehistoric (glaciers) as well as Native
American times and post settlement times. Students learn about
plants and animals found here and also hike around "Devil's Soupbowl",
a deep glacial depression. There is a small mileage charge
for this trip.
Michigan Trip: Groups travel
by bus to Saugatuck State Park on Lake Michigan (approximately 1
hour). At the park, they hike through a series of dunes while
discussing history of the area, dune formation, plants and animals in
the area, Lake Michigan formation, and the ways that humans are
affecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem. The finale of the hike is a
first hand visit to the lake. During warmer weather, students
are encouraged to touch the water or wade along the shore and play in
the sand on the beach. There is an additional mileage charge for
This course also utilizes Michigan history and Group Building.
Discussion includes Michigan Native American way of life before
Europeans arrives as compared to afterwards. Students are
encouraged to "think like a Native American" and attempt to barter for
other items. The Natives (students) are given furs that they
then try to trade with a French fur trader (the teacher) for items
they might want or need.
Country Skiing: Students get the opportunity to
experience a winter wonderland at Ebersole by exploring snow-covered
wilderness trails. Students learn the history of Nordic skiing,
discuss safety and equipment care followed by proper use and
technique. Students practice skiing in open areas and finally
explore the Ebersole Ski trail.
Snowshoeing: Students learn the history of snowshoes
and the physics behind their design. Also discussed are
variations in snowshoe shape and materials. Discussion includes
proper care of equipment and snowshoe technique while students explore
a variety of terrain at Ebersole.