Upcoming Events

PA Master Naturalist Certification Training

Registration is open for the Fall 2024 PA Master Naturalist training cohort.  A cohort is held in each Fall at the Outdoor Discovery Center at Crooked Creek.

Do you enjoy learning about the natural world?  Are you interested in sharing that knowledge with others? Would you like to know more about supporting natural resource conservation?  Pennsylvania Master Naturalists are a dedicated group of people who share a passion for nature, getting outdoors and giving back.  If you enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, being outdoors, and volunteering, you’ll love being a Master Naturalist.

Become a Master Naturalist by attending our 50-hour training course at the Outdoor Discovery Center.  Classes will be held weekly on Thursday evenings from August 8 – October 24 with four field sessions on Saturdays (August 17, September 7 and 21, and October 5)

Click here to access the Fall 2024 schedule.

Visit the PA Master Naturalist Facebook page by clicking here.

You can also visit https://pamasternaturalist.org/become_a_master_naturalist/ for additional information about becoming a Master Naturalist.

Learn more about PA Master Naturalist training course application at https://bit.ly/PMNtraining.

For more information and registration details, contact Rachel Filippini, ODC program coordinator at [email protected].

Backpacking Program
April 3, 10 and 17, 2024
6:00-7:30pm
$30/participant

A three part program that will teach you the essentials of backpacking. Veteran outdoorsman and local Boy Scout leader, Richard Muth, will lead the classes. The first class will teach you about packs and the basic gear you need.  The second class will cover how you can comfortably sleep along the trail.  And the last class is all about food.  What food and stove should you pack and how will you treat the water so it’s safe to drink?

Classes will be held on Wednesdays, April 3, 10 and 17th from 6:00-7:30pm.  Your $30 admission gains you access into all three classes.

This program is intended for ages 12 and up.  Anyone under 15 should be accompanied by an adult.

Mr. Muth is donating his time to instruct these classes. All proceeds benefit the Outdoor Discovery Center at Crooked Creek.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE BACKPACKING PROGRAM.

Nature & Wellness Series - Nature Journaling
April 16, 2024
6pm
FREE!

Learn the art of nature writing from author and Pennsylvania Master Naturalist  Sandy Stanko. Nature journaling can help you to fine tune your observation skills and can also be a way to practice mindfulness as well as helping you to recognize things in nature that you are grateful for.  Each participant will receive a nature journal workbook created by the instructor.  Class size is limited. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR NATURE JOURNALING ON APRIL 16, 2024.

This is one event in a series of programs to spread awareness about the important connection between nature and human health by encouraging participation in activities that increase people's interactions with nature.  People of all ages are encouraged to participate.  This series was made possible by the generous support from the ACMH Medical Staff Foundation.

Upcoming Nature & Wellness Programs:
May 4, 2024 - Forest Bathing
June 26, 2024 - Kayaking on Crooked Creek Lake with Venture Outdoors
July 21, 2024 - Drum Circle with Music for Life of Pittsburgh
August 12, 2024 - Yoga for Kids

Celebrate the Trees Event
April 27, 2024
10am-12:30pm
FREE

Join us for this fun family event.  Participants will learn the importance of trees as it relates to climate, air and water quality, energy efficiency, and more through a fun and hands-on mix of presentations, demonstrations, games, hikes, and crafts.

Tree Pittsburgh will deliver their Meet a Tree Program to explain the many values and benefits of trees from improving air quality and reducing climate change, to supporting wildlife habitats and increasing biodiversity, to strengthening communities, promoting physical and mental health, and providing economic benefits.

The Armstrong Conservation District (ACD) will be on hand to discuss the work they are doing around the County to reduce streambank erosion through tree planting. The Outdoor Discovery Center will organize a variety of additional activities to help educate children and their parents about trees.

Every family will receive a native tree seedling to take home and instructions for planting.

Funding for this program is provided by a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection environmental education grant.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CELELBRATE THE TREES EVENT ON APRIL 27, 2024.

Creature Feature: A Six-Part Series
Part Three:  May 7, 2024 - America Bullfrog
6pm
FREE for Elementary Age Children & Families!

Join us at the upcoming Creature Feature program.  This six-part series will explore creatures (animals) that call Pennsylvania home.  Each program will include a fun and engaging hands-on nature lesson, activity, and craft.  Elementary age children and their families will leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the featured creature.  This program is made possible through a grant from the Richard G. and Barbara A. Snyder General Charitable Fund at the Armstrong County Community Foundation.

Next Creature Feature Program:
May 7, 2024 at 6pm – American Bullfrog -- Join us and learn about bullfrogs, the largest of all the frogs in North America.  Bullfrogs get their name from the sound the males make during the breeding season, which can resemble a bull bellowing, and can be heard up to a quarter-mile away.  Female bullfrogs can lay as many as 20,000 eggs in one mass.  Hop on over for an interesting lesson followed by a craft and activity.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE AMERICAN BULLFROG CREATURE FEATURE CLASS ON MAY 7TH.

Upcoming Creature Feature Programs - Save the date! 
July 9, 2024 at 6pm – TBD
September 28, 2024 at 10am – TBD
November 2, 2024 at 10am – TBD

Environmental & Conservation Career Panel
May 11, 2024
10am-12:30pm
FREE, lunch provided

Are you a middle school, high school, or college student interested in pursuing a career in the environmental or conservation field?  Do you envision yourself working to protect wildlife, helping families and communities save energy, educating children about climate change, researching safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, managing forests, designing wind turbines or installing solar panels?

The Environmental & Conservation Career Panel will give students an opportunity to meet and hear from local individuals who are currently working to educate the community about environmental issues, working to  protect our natural resources, and/or produce sustainable goods or services.

We will have representatives from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, National Weather Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania Master Naturalists, and Penn State Extension.  Other participants representing industry, non-profits, and consultants will attend.

Panelists will be asked to speak candidly about their profession, how they came to be interested in their line of work, and the schooling or expertise required to get the job they now have.  Panelists will be asked to share what is most interesting and rewarding about their job as well as the challenges they face each day.  Students will have an opportunity to ask panelists their own questions and meet with them for more individualized discussion as well.

This event is free!  Students will be provided with lunch and an opportunity to win fun prizes!!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSERVATION CAREER PANEL DISCISSION ON MAY 11TH.

Monthly Nature Lessons for Elementary Age Homeschool Students
September 2023 through May 2024
1:00pm to 3:00pm

The Outdoor Discovery Center at Crooked Creek will offer elementary age homeschool students a nature lesson each month.  The two-hour program will run the second Tuesday of every month, September 2023 – May 2024 from 1pm-3pm.  Sessions will take place at the Outdoor Discovery Center, and include a fun and hands-on mix of nature lessons, crafts, games, hikes, experiments, and more.

Depending on the topic we will make use of our indoor and outdoor classrooms; our animal room which has an extensive display of mounted, taxidermized mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish; our lawn and trails.

This programming was made possible through the generous support of The Grable Foundation.

Next Class Topic:

May 14, 2024: Butterfly Metamorphosis - Our last homeschool nature lesson for the year will focus on metamorphosis -- how caterpillars turn into butterflies.  We'll have an interesting lesson with a craft, hands-on activities, and fun outdoor play.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE HOMESCHOOL NATURE LESSON ON MAY 14, 2024.

Each session is $10/child. You may pay by cash or check (made payable to the Armstrong Center for Community Learning) the day of the class, but advanced registration is required.  Register by clicking the link associated with the class above.

Class size is limited.

If you have questions, please contact Rachel Filippini, ODC Program Coordinator at [email protected] or call 724-763-6316.

 

Armstrong Nature Book Club: Deeply Rooted
May 14, 2024
7pm
FREE

Open to all, this book club focuses on nature-themed books and is particularly suited for those with an avid interest and curiosity in nature-related topics, human interactions with nature, and how these concepts can personally relate to each individual reader. The book club will be facilitated by a member of the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program.

The book to be featured on May 14th is Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE MAY 14TH ARMSTRONG NATURE BOOK CLUB MEETING.

Wild About Tea Hike
May 18, 2024
10am-12:30pm
$25/person

Across the globe people have used local plants to make tea. Vincent Curtis will teach the program, leading us as we discover the history of tea around the world and learn some common local plants that you can make tea from. You will get to sample several freshly made teas throughout the program.

The program will involve approximately 1.5 miles of hiking on easy to moderate trails at the Outdoor Discovery Center.

Space is limited.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE WILD ABOUT TEA HIKE ON MAY 18, 2024.

2024 Summer Camps at the Outdoor Discovery Center at Crooked Creek:
Young Explorers Camp (4-7 years old):  June 3-7, 2024
Discovery Camp (8-12 years old):  June 10-14, 2024
Read below for details

Young Explorers Camp:

Your 4-7 year old is invited to join us for our Young Explorers Camp this summer.  This is a half-day (9am-12:30pm) camp, running from Monday, June 3 – Friday, June 7, 2024.  Camp will include a variety of nature & environmental related games, crafts, experiments, and outdoor exploration.

Camp activities will be held both inside and outside the Outdoor Discovery Center at Crooked Creek.

We will supply a morning snack.  Campers will supply their own bag lunch each day to eat from 12-12:30pm right before they leave camp.

Each camper will receive a t-shirt.

Camp cost: $90/camper.  A 15% discount given when registering a sibling(s) at the same time. This sibling discount applies to the second, third, etc. sibling in either the Young Explorers or Discovery camps.

Registration is payable by check to the Armstrong Center for Community Learning.  Registration must be received by May 27th to secure your child’s spot in the Young Explorers Camp.

Refund policy: Registration fees can only be refunded if withdrawals are received prior to the registration deadline.

This programming was made possible through the generous support of The Grable Foundation.

The Young Explorers Camp registration is full.  If you would like to place your child on the waiting list, please email the ODC Program Coordinator, Rachel Filippini at [email protected].

 

Discovery Camp:

Your 8-12 year old is invited to join us for our Discovery Camp this summer.  This is a full-day (9am-4pm) camp, running from Monday, June 10 – Friday, June 14, 2024.  Camp will include a variety of nature & environmental related games, crafts, experiments, and outdoor exploration!

Camp activities will be held both inside and outside the Outdoor Discovery Center and make use of the Crooked Creek Recreation Area as well.

We will supply a morning and afternoon snack.  Campers will supply their own bag lunch each day.

Each camper will receive a t-shirt.

Camp cost: $180/camper.  A 15% discount given when registering a sibling(s) at the same time. This sibling discount applies to the second, third, etc. sibling in either the Young Explorers or Discovery camps.

Registration is payable by check to the Armstrong Center for Community Learning.  Registration must be received by June 3rd to secure your child’s spot in the Discovery Camp.

Refund policy: Registration fees can only be refunded if withdrawals are received prior to the registration deadline.

This programming was made possible through the generous support of The Grable Foundation.

Please click here to print out and complete this registration packet for the Discovery Camp.  If you would like the camp registration packet mailed to you, please email ODC Program Coordinator, Rachel Filippini at  [email protected] or call 724-543-2599.

If the cost of camp is an impediment to your child attending please contact [email protected]

Armstrong County Junior Naturalist Program
June 27, 2024
9am-4pm
$25/student.  This program is designed for students ages 10-14 years old.

The Armstrong County Junior Naturalist Program will introduce students ages 10-14 years old to the basic skills and tools that naturalists use in the field.  This day-long session will expose students to a variety of nature topics and experiences where they can learn from certified Pennsylvania Master Naturalists and other experts. They will be able to sharpen their observation skills, learn how to record their data and share their findings and work as a team with their fellow young naturalists.  We hope experience in this program will help to instill a passion for exploring nature among the participating students.

Each student will receive (and get to keep) a backpack stuffed full of naturalist tools including such items as a field journal and pencils, specimen jar, tweezers, hand magnifier, flashlight, rain poncho, pocket naturalist guide, and other items to assist them throughout the day.  Utilizing the animal room and classroom at the Outdoor Discovery Center, as well as our outdoor classroom, lawn, trails, and even the outflow at Crooked Creek, students will spend the day learning about a variety of nature and conservation topics.

This includes:

- Learning why owls are such expert nocturnal hunters and dissecting owl pellets to determine what they’ve eaten;

- Creating a one-yard plot for nature observation;

- Going on a naturalist led hike in search of natural history and animal signs;

- Writing in a nature journal;

- Creating a framed display of a bark rubbing or other natural item with a scientific identification label attached

- Learning Leave No Trace Principles

And More!

Students will need to bring their own lunches. A morning and afternoon snack will be provided by the Outdoor Discovery Center.

To register your child, please complete this registration form and mail it and payment to the Outdoor Discovery Center at142 Kerr Rd., Ford City, PA 16226 by no later than June 17, 2024.

This program was made possible through funding provided by the Grable Foundation.

Youth Water Quality Education & Engagement Projects for High School Students
FREE

Learn more about the Youth Water Quality Education and Engagement projects for high school students by visiting https://www.armstrongcenter.org/odc-events/youth-water-quality-education/.  Here, you will learn about our water quality education and engagement projects, such as building catfish spawning boxes, designing water quality games and activities for elementary students, tree planting for stream bank stabilization, touring a sewage treatment plant, etc.

Armstrong Center for Community Learning

Armstrong Center for Community Learning