New Pond Farm

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School Programs – Field Trips

New Pond Farm has been operating for more than twenty years and our programs are thriving. We have the joy of working with more than 5,000 children (ages 4 and up) each year from CT and NY. All of our programs are hands-on and active, keeping students involved from the beginning to the end.

Our Center is located on 102 acres complete with gently rolling pastures, coniferous and deciduous woodlands, a marsh, a pond, and streams. We have such diverse resources as 19th century barns, a maple syruping shed, three telescopes, an astronomy classroom, and an authentically recreated encampment with a barked wigwam and a thatched longhouse. Our pastures and barns are home for a very engaging bevy of beasts–cows, sheep, a flock of chickens and very proud roosters, and two pigs in the warmer months of summer. Our best resource, however, is our enthusiastic and experienced staff. They pay special attention to details that make our programs unique and very keyed-into children’s learning abilities.

Fall Farm and Fiber

On farms across the land, fall and winter were wonderful times to turn sheep’s fleece into yarn for knitting and weaving. Our flock of Romney sheep will be featured guests in this program. Your students will meet our sheep and lambs, feel their insulating fleece, and then take previously shorn fleece through the steps required to make it usable fiber. They will wash the fleece, hand-card (comb) it, and hand-spin it into yarn with a partner.

During this process, students will learn how it keeps sheep warm in winter and cool in summer. As they work with the fleece, they will feel its natural, water resistant lanolin and understand how it provides a natural raincoat for the sheep.

In addition to meeting the sheep, your students will take a tour of our working farm. We will visit the calves, bring a dairy cow into the barn for a closer look and visit the chicken yard and coop. Your students will gain an understanding of the role each of these animals plays on a farm. It will be an experience they long remember!

Offered: Late September–November
Science Framework Content Standards:
K.2, 1.2, 2.4, 4.2

Eastern Woodland Indians

This popular program provides a look into an important Native American culture that inhabited the eastern woodlands for centuries. Classes will hike to our encampment, comprised of a thatched longhouse, barked wigwam and activity areas. Students will learn about the daily activities of the Connecticut Indians, including the important roles played by all family members, home life, cooking, and the use of ceramics. We will point out plants that were gathered for food, medicine, and even tools. We will also try our best to “stalk” quietly, like skilled Indian hunters. We will also discuss how women crafted clothing from animal skins, and the importance of the seeds, nuts, and berries gathered by children through spring, summer, and fall.

A visit to our Native American museum, full of artifacts and beautifully made reproductions representing a variety of tribes, will provide hands-on experience. Carefully passed artifacts may include spear points, arrowheads, anchor stones, hammer stones, scrapers, bark containers, and hafted hammers.

We will also share traditional foods comprised of freshly made corn bread with maple syrup, raw seeds, dried berries, and fresh popcorn.

Offered: October–December, April–June
Science Framework Content Standards:
K.4, 1.2, 2.4, 3.4
K-12 CT Social Studies Content Standards: 2, 3, 4

Maple Sugaring

New Pond Farm’s maple syruping program is an ideal way to counter late-winter blues. Students will be a part of the reawakening of the woodlands as the sap begins to rise in the sugar maples. By participating in the tapping, collecting, and boiling down of the maple sap in our evaporator, they will learn valuable lessons in tree identification and the life cycles of deciduous trees.

They will also learn the origins of this American tradition. As we venture farther into the woodland, we will come upon a recreated Native American encampment and sugar bush. Here your students will learn the importance of maple sugaring to the Eastern Woodland Indians, and how they were able to collect and boil down sap without the benefit of an evaporator or metal tools. Every participant will be given a slice of the farm’s freshly-baked corn bread with maple syrup drizzled on top.

The final stop will be our sugar shed with its modern evaporator and sugaring equipment. Students will learn how the process of making sap into syrup is completed here at New Pond Farm. They will sample maple cream and candy, delicacies made by sugarhouses across New England.

Offered: Mid-February through Mid-March
Science Framework Content Standards:
K.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.4
K-12 CT Social Studies Content Standards: 1, 2, 3

Spring Farm & Honey Bees

One of our most popular offerings is our spring farm program. In this fast-paced world, it is increasingly important for children to understand the importance of food production and how it is tied to farms. Far too often, when we ask our students where food comes from, they reply, “The grocery store!”

When children arrive, they will become farmers and help care for the animals. They will brush a cow and learn how she produces milk. New arrivals in the barnyard may include newly hatched chicks, young piglets, lambs, and possibly a new calf. As they explore the area, they will learn about the fascinating adaptations of the animals, as well as their importance to farmers.

Our honeybees are a wonderful part of the program. Through photos, props and an indoor observation hive, the children will learn the vital role these insects play on the farm in pollinating our trees, shrubs, flowers and, of course, making delicious honey.

Everyone will taste New Pond Farm’s own honey and make a beeswax candle to bring home.

Offered: Late April-June
Science Framework Content Standards:
K.2, 1.2, 1.3, 2.4, 3.2, 4.2

Habitat Hunt

This exciting hands-on program gives students a chance to explore and compare woodland, pasture, and stream habitats. Young explorers will learn how each habitat functions as a community, and how plants and animals rely on each other for survival.They will learn about food chains and natural recycling. In the woodlands, we’ll overturn rotting logs and discover the community of insects, arachnids and other arthropods that make their homes there. Perhaps we will find woodpecker holes or signs left behind by resident mammals like flying squirrels, foxes, and chipmunks.

Next, we will visit the stream’s edge to discover the range of plants and animals living in areas that are hidden from the swift currents. With luck, we’ll catch and observe water pennies, hellgrammites, mayflies, crayfish, and two-lined salamanders.

In the pasture, we will discover many wonderful plants and work our way up the food chain. We will work as a team to lift “bugboards” and catch the insects before they get away. We will discuss the species adapted to live in this open environment.
Also, we will discover signs left by small mammals and perhaps even see vultures or hawks flying overhead.

Offered: Late April-June
Science Framework Content Standards:
K.2, 1.2, 1.3, 3.2, 4.2

Freshwater Exploration

New Pond Farm is fortunate to have a stream, pond, and marsh. Each of these habitats is unique, and teams with aquatic plants and animals.

Using fine-net strainers, students will catch a variety of life forms, ranging from dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, water boatmen, larval salamanders and tadpoles in the marsh, to crayfish, hellgrammites, water pennies, and minnows in the stream.

As our buckets begin to fill with an assortment of creeping, crawling, and swimming creatures, students will learn about the adaptations and survival strategies that enable the plants and animals to live in their respective habitats.

Our explorations may take us through muddy areas, so we suggest the children wear old shoes or rubber boots.

Offered: May-June
Science Framework Content Standards:
K.2, 1.2, 2.2, 3.2, 4.2

Our program brochure can be found here.

Request Field Trip Information

Please note that filling out this form is a request for more information, it does not schedule the school program. New Pond Farm must be in contact with you to arrange the details. We will contact you shortly. Thank you!