Education Through Expedition | Earthworks Institute

Education Through Expedition



We believe that the best way to get students engaged with learning is to take a hands on approach. We bring the world to your classroom through “expeditionary” teaching to provide very unique learning opportunities. Earthworks uses a combination of experiential learning and very diverse programming links which, tie history, art, writing, science, and even a bit of engineering and math, all together into utilizing the natural resources we have available in this bioregion – our goal is to make learning come alive!  In all of these programs, Earthworks uses period-specific technology, manipulatives, travel, games, challenges and multimodal teaching methodologies to engage learners. Students can read, write, listen and speak while researching, recording, creating artifacts of learning, reflecting, being active and sharing out that learning. While we focus mostly on elementary and middle school, we can also scale these experiences to be grade specific and work as consultant teachers or lead instructors. Earthworks turns learning into an adventure, using the natural connection between youth and environment to inspire curiosity and a love for learning!


Our educational workshops are designed by staff who are trained to facilitate Project WET, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree curriculum, as well as project-based learning for Science, ELA and Social Studies.
Let us bring the world to your classroom!


We tailor all programs to your classroom and curriculum.

Check out some sample programs below or, 

contact us to start customizing your perfect program!


Start Your Adventure with Us Today!





Primitive Technology and Crafts

Grades: 3 – 12, Students: 5-25, Time: 1-2hours (or multi-session)

This lesson introduces ancient and forgotten knowledge of primitive technologies and crafts. Our ancestors knew how to use all the gifts nature has to offer to get creative with survival. Students will be learn the methods our ancestors used to identify and harvest natural resources, engineering tools and design every day items that helped them to evolve as a civilization. We could even work with animal hides, stone tools, wood and plant fiber recreate some of these same relics our ancestors used while making simple but exciting discoveries of our own – cattail for food and fiber, or the versatility of fire for more than just keeping warm. This program isn’t just about time travel, it’s history brought to life!

Ecology hands

Ancient Storytelling and Ecology

Grades: 3 – 8, Students: 5-25, Time: 1-2hours (or multi-session)

Did you know that humans evolved together with their environment ­ humans caring for the land and other living beings, and in return using the resources on earth to survive? This is referred to as “stewardship.” Part of how we passed this ancient knowledge of stewardship on from generation to generation over thousands of years, is through story. Because there was a time when we did not have the ability to write words, or worried that what we could write would be lost, we told each other stories. This is the reason why our plants have common names which remind us of the key things we should know about each plant.

Water testing

What’s in Your Water?

Grades: 7 – 12, Students: 5-25, Time:  1-3hours  (or multi-session)


Water – one of the most important natural resources.  We need it to survive.  But do you know what is actually in the water you put in your body everyday? In this program, students will participate in water sampling, aquatic invertebrate identification, and water quality evaluation.  Depending on the season, we will will either bring your classroom outdoors or bring the outdoors to your classroom to ensure a very hands-on workshop, guaranteed to deepen the students knowledge of what’s really happening right beneath our feet!


Running Wild

Ages: 8-14

MAX: 14 Children

A unique survival skills program, Running Wild is designed to teach ancient knowledge and understanding of the natural world combined with unique instruction on the time-honored techniques of wilderness living.

Expect your child to learn about the wonders of their environment and all its natural processes through immersion in a full sensory experience with nature. Earthworks staff encourage kids to explore  while working closely with peers to practice wilderness skills such as; shelter building, fire making, wild crafting, identification of flora and fauna, use of plants for food and medicine, purification of water, natural navigation, responsible tool use and more. Our curriculum combines unique outdoor games with challenges that give children the confidence to discover the outdoors in a safe and meaningful way. Our goal is to activate each child’s curiosity and love for learning while fostering personal growth, social responsibility and bonds that last a lifetime.

Team Building and Restorative Justice

Grades: 4 – 12, Students: 5-25, Time:  3 hours (single day w/ low ropes) or multi-day session with trip included


Students combine studies of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people with time-honored restorative justice practices to build a sense of community.  This expedition involves pre-trip studies, a day of low ropes/Project Adventure activities for tea-building on-site with teachers and students, and culminates with a trip to Ganondagan State Historic Site full of hiking, fireside storytelling and even an encounter with a legendary figure in peacemaking history, all lead by Earthworks staff.  The goal of this program is building trust, community, and fostering a sense of belonging.

*Associated readings, reflective writings and other artifacts of learning can be recommended upon request.

Stewardship class

Survival and Stewardship: A Workshop for Life

Grades: 3 – 12, Students: 5-25, Time:  1-2hours  (or multi-session)


In a modern world filled with computers, cars and cells phones, it is easy to forget just how dependent we are on our natural world.  The goal of this workshop is to expand our understanding of the world we all live in.  Student’s learn about our ancient relationship with nature and how, for millennia it has provided us with food, medicine and utility. This hands on program will provide an opportunity for a hand on skills demonstration using handmade tools and even a sampling of natural treats!  The Survival and Stewardship workshop focuses on the importance of connecting with nature – allowing students to see the world with different eyes to realize their role as stewards within their community and their environment.

Growing goodness

Growing Goodness

Grades: 3 – 8, Students: 10-25, Time:  1-2hours  (or multi-session)


Farmer, Farmer how does your garden grow?  This workshop includes a fun and interactive lesson on plant anatomy using props and role- playing. For the younger (grades 3-5) students, we’ll offer a group activity on wacky plant design and follows up with a jeopardy team challenge to win seeds which the students will get to plant and watch grow in the coming weeks.

For the older (grades 6-8) students, we’ll still enjoy an interactive lesson on plant anatomy but they will follow it up by creating their own ecosystem in a bottle, which will explore the impact of various environmental factors – like sunlight and pollutant – on the growth of an ecosystem.  The exploration of ecosystems will lead to a discussion about our local environmental impact, and a lesson about how we can sustain the preserve the environment for future generations.

Food Comes From

Where Does Your Food Come From?

Grades: 3 – 12, Students: 10-25, Time:  1-2hours  (or multi-session)


Did you know that less than 5% of the earth’s surface if farmable land?  In this workshop students will participate in several hands on games and activities that focus on food choices, resource sustainability, and environmental stewardship.   Using discussion to promote critical thinking, this workshop informs students about where food comes from, the ecological footprint of the foods we choose to consume, and how the land and resources used for farming are finite.

Use it

Use It and Lose It!

Grades: 3 – 12, Students: 10-25, Time:  1-2hours  (or multi-session)


Not everything lasts forever…. but how often do we think about that in our daily lives?  This program focuses on sustainability, nonrenewable resource use  and scarcity to help students think more critically about what resources we use and how to conserve them.  Using class discussion, and a treasure hunt students will work in teams to simulate resource use to understand that searching for limited resources is not as easy as we think.  We’ll finish off the program with a very unique game of BINGO to bring it all together and help students focus on how truly dependent we all are on such precious commodities

Aidless Navigation: A Historical Journey of Travel

Grades: 4 – 6, Students: 5-30, Time:  Day 1 Mapping (2 hours) & Day 2 Expedition (4 hours)


Consider a journey without a compass or a true map. Imaging traveling alone or in groups but with no knowledge of your destination or if you will arrive safely. This was a journey that so many of our ancestors made, some seeking a new beginning and some even seeking their own freedom. Without the ability to purchase or read a map the key to survival is understanding natural navigation or reading signs in nature to determine cardinal direction. In this program students are challenged to consider more than just using the North Star to help them navigate; What might a freedom seeker need to do on a cloudy night for example?

This workshop covers lots of fun and hands-on lessons including; lessons on how to establish cardinal directions (where is north? how do we know? what big geographical features are north in this region?), creating and practicing use of hand drawn maps, a full-day excursion to practice aidless navigation outdoors using sun dials, “story trails”, a scavenger hunt and real life journey through a forest to find our way back to ”freedom”.