Class Trips/OPEX

Where better to learn about nature, animals, farming, and environmental concerns than here at Stony Kill Farm? Our Mission is to teach children and their families about our rich agricultural heritage, to learn more about the farm to table movement and the environmental challenges we face. Students will engage in activity and inquiry based programs that will foster a better understanding of our mission and the importance of being good stewards of our planet. We offer programs for elementary through middle school children. We have also worked with Girl & Boy Scouts Troops of all ages, pre-schools, and can accommodate children with disabilities.

Our most popular educational experience is Operation Explore, which is open to all schools groups, grades preK – 7. The activities are tailored to the age of your group. Modules, described below, focus on different elements of our rich agricultural, historical and environmental programs that are conducted year- round. Bring a snack and/or your lunch and have a picnic outdoors or indoors. Please call our Program Director at 845-831-3800 to make a reservation for your school group.

MODULES: For a half-day program you pick 2, and for a full-day program you attend all 4.

Module 1: Barn and Livestock Tour (all grades): Stony Kill is a working farm where students will visit with our resident livestock including our beef and dairy cattle, sheep, chickens and pigs.  The 1860’s barn was constructed to be open to the southeast protecting the animals from the cold north wind while maximizing the energy of the winters’ sun. In some ways, the barn is an example of energy efficient technology of its era. Students will learn about our on-site livestock, where our food comes from and enjoy a hands-on interaction with our animals.

Module 2: Choose one: Nature’s Recycler’s (grades 2 – 7):  This hands-on activity will allow students to dig into a compost bin to discover a diverse team of decomposers that work together as nature’s premier recyclers. We’ll make a mini composter using natural materials for a take-home classroom experiment.

Seed Need and Dispersment (grades 4 – 7): During the fall months, seeds are most plentiful in the outdoors. Students will go on a seed expedition to collect and examine their findings. Students will learn about the plants growing in our greenhouse and will start a seed sprouting activity.

Module 3: Choose one: Dirty Water (grades 4 – 7):  Stony Kill Farm is part of the Hudson River watershed and proper farming techniques are instrumental in keeping our watershed clean.  Students will learn about various types of erosion, integrated pest management and waste management and how a farming practices can protect and enhance the environment. They will participate in a hands-on activity to highlight various types of water pollution.

Watershed and Water Conservation (1 – 7 grade): Students will learn about where their water comes from and the NYS watershed. Using our Hudson Valley watershed model, we’ll explore the reservoirs and aqueducts that provide the 8.6 million residents in NYC with freshwater. They will create their own watershed model and participate in a fun water cycle activity.

Pond Study (1 – 7 grade): Students will learn about the complex ecosystem of the farm pond through collection of specimens and observation. This module is available from April to November.

Module 4: Choose one: Honey Bees and Pollination (all grades):  One in every three bites we eat is the result of insect pollination. Honey bees though non-native to North America are not only used to pollinate crops but produce their own agricultural product, honey, gathered from the nectar at Stony Kill Farm.  Students will learn the inner workings of the hive by observing the bees in action in our observation hive and will taste different varieties of honey.

Corn and Johnny Cakes (all grades): Students willappreciate the connection between what is grown and produced on farms and how the nutritional value of our crops has changed over the centuries. Students will learn about corn as a viable crop on farms and participate in making journey cakes from hand ground corn meal, homemade butter and bio plastic.

Cheese Making (4 – 7 grade): When our dairy cow is producing milk, students will be able to make fresh mozzarella cheese learning the techniques and chemistry of how cheeses are produced and how a grass becomes milk through the complex stomach of a ruminant. (currently unavailable)

Preschool – Kindergarten levels

Below are a list of our programs best suited for the preschool/Kindergarten age range. These grade levels are scheduled as a half-day program with two modules.

Module 1: Farm Barnyard: We’ll read a story together and learn about all the animals that live on Stony Kill Farm. We’ll have some fun identifying different types of eggs too! Each of our animals have different traits that give them each a unique purpose on a farm. Students will have a hands-on experience with one of our special farm animals.

Module 2: Choose one: Plant Parts & Photosynthesis: Learn about all the elements that plants need to grow and how our greenhouse helps this process. We’ll explore the different part of our edible plants and play a game to see who can name all the important plant parts! Then we’ll enjoy a plant parts salad that everyone will help to make.

From a Sheep: Did you know our Tunis flock originated from the Northern Coast of Africa! We’ll learn all about our unique ewes and all the important products that come from them. Each year our sheep are sheared and we are left with bags of wool that need to be cleaned and brushed. We’ll learn how to wash our wool and get to make our own breed of sheep, complete with genuine Stony Kill wool!

Corn and Johnny cakes: Did you know corn is the most widely grown crop in the United States? We’ll learn about products that come from corn, including ones that are safe for our environment. And the best part, helping to make butter and Journey cakes for everyone to try!

Honeybees and Pollination: Honey bees are so important to our environment, and did you know they have five eyes?! We’ll learn about our bee buddies and the important job of pollination that helps all of our plants and trees grow! We’ll check out our buzzing classroom observation hive and try to find the Queen bee, then we’ll get to taste some SKF honey! What a treat!

Our barn classroom seats up to 65 comfortably during the winter months and we have ample space on our picnic tables in the field for our sunny days. Call or email us to schedule your field trip to Stony Kill Farm today!