Home » Education » School programs » In-school programs

In-school programs

We’ll come to you!

If your class cannot make it out to Harbison State Forest, have the program come to you! SC Forestry Commission Environmental Education staff have developed in-school versions of the environmental education programs offered at Harbison State Forest. All programs are aligned with South Carolina 2014 Science and 2015 SCCCR Math Standards. These FREE programs typically last an hour per class and have been modified so they can be completed on your school grounds. Multiple classes can rotate through the program, and a schedule will be made specifically for your school.
For more information, or to reserve your school’s date and time, please contact Assistant Environmental Education Coordinator Beth Foley at bfoley@scfc.gov or (803) 896-8855.

SCFC Education Staff will follow the school’s COVID-19 safety procedures and will also be following the latest guidance and safety protocols from the CDC and SCDHEC to do our best to protect everybody from the risk of spread of COVID-19. If the county of the program location or county of the school has a Cumulative Incidence Rate (as determined by SCDHEC) higher than “Moderate” at any time leading up to the event (up to 3 weeks beforehand), then the program will be canceled as required by the SCFC’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Program descriptions


Program 1: Forest plants and animals, and their needs for survival
Science Standards: K.S.1, K.L.2
Math Standards: K.MDA.1, K.MDA.2
Students will examine the structure of a tree and how different parts of the tree help it function. Through plant personification, students will act out parts of a tree and the lifecycle of a tree. Students will “adopt a tree” and use all five senses to observe their tree. They will investigate what animals use it and why they need it for survival. They will also measure and compare/contrast their trees.

Program 2: Using your senses to learn about the changing forest
Science Standards: K.L.2, K.E.3
Math Standards: K.MDA.1, K.MDA.4
Students will go on a school yard hike and use their five senses to observe signs of spring or fall (depending on the season). They will discuss what happens in the forest during these seasonal changes. Students will make an object graph by sorting leaves, nuts, and seeds. Students will then explore why animals make sounds in the forest and their different communication methods. They will become songbirds and play a game in which they use their sense of sound to locate birds of the same species.

First grade

Program 1: Earth’s natural resources
Science Standards: 1.S.1, 1.E.4
Math Standards: 1.MDA.1
Students will investigate the properties of Earth’s natural resources and learn about ways that they can
be conserved. Students will study the soils in a forest habitat to learn about its composition and
structure. Students will observe, make predictions, record data, and draw conclusions about what they
have learned.

Program 2: Plants and their environments
Science Standards: 1.L.5
Math Standards: 1.MDA.4, 1.MDA.5
Students will learn how plants survive and how they respond to changes in their environment. Working
in a team, students will go on a seed scavenger hunt and then learn about different seed dispersal
methods for different species and environments. They will act out the life cycle of a tree and create a
tree using themselves as the parts. Students will observe, record data, make graphs, and draw
conclusions about what they have learned.

Third grade

Program 1: Forest ecosystems
** This program is 2 hours in length and intended to be to be done at a school with two different habitat
types to collect data in. This may require walking to a nearby park or stream.
Science Standards: 3.L.5

Math Standards: 3.MDA.3, 3.MDA.4
Students will take an in-depth look at 2 different habitats to learn about their characteristics and how
those environments support a variety of organisms including producers, consumers, and
decomposers. At each site, students will record data on soil, sunlight, wind, temperature, topography,
plant life, and animal life. Then students will organize, graph, and interpret their data to draw
conclusions about the similarities and differences between the ecosystems.

Program 2: Effects of habitat changes
Science Standards: 3.L.5
Math Standards: 3.MDA.3
Students will examine how plants and animals respond when their habitats change. They will learn how
changes are sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful and that they can occur naturally or by the
organisms that live in them. Students will become trees in a forest and learn how trees are affected by
competition for resources and by natural or human-caused events. They will be collecting, organizing,
and graphing data that will be analyzed to draw conclusions.

Fifth grade

Program 1: Ecosystem interactions
Science Standards: 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.2, 5.L.4B.3, 5.L.4B.4
Math Standards: 5.G.1, 5.G.2
Students will learn about the flow of energy through the biotic components of ecosystems including
producers, consumers, and decomposers. They will become a part of a food web in a forest
environment to learn how energy flows through it. Students will experience first-hand how a deer
population reacts to limiting factors by becoming part of a deer herd. By collecting and plotting data on a coordinate system and then looking for trends, students will see how limiting factors can affect an ecosystem.

Seventh grade

Program 1: Forest ecosystems: organization and effects on populations
Science Standards: 7.EC.5 Math Standards: 7.GM.4 Students will learn about the characteristics of the levels of organization within different forest ecosystems. Students will collect data to estimate volumes of trees and learn how limiting factors can affect a forest by becoming part of a forest in a hands-on (and body-on!) game. Students will also learn how our forests may respond to a changing climate in the future.

Program 2: Population dynamics and energy flow
Science Standards: 7.S.1A.4, 7.EC.5 Students will learn how the forests are dynamic and are ever-changing in response to natural and human-caused events. Students will get to play a food chain game to show how energy flows through an ecosystem. Students will study the balance of ecosystems and how the introduction of new species may affect this balance.

High school

Programs are tailored to the needs and learning objectives of the specific class and teacher. Typical classes we have worked with include Biology I, Environmental Studies, A.P. Environmental Science, and Agricultural Science classes studying forestry.