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Programs at Harbison State Forest



Bring your students to Harbison State Forest for a hands-on, engaging, and fun learning experience!  All programs have been newly written and are aligned with South Carolina 2014 Science and 2015 SCCCR Math Standards.  Programs include a pre-visit activity that prepare students to get the most out of their visit to the forest.  Our programs teach students how to think, not what to think and follow the AKCA model for environmental education: Awareness, Knowledge, Challenge, & Action. 

These FREE programs will be offered on Tuesdays-Fridays at the Harbison State Forest Education Center. Programs can be modified to reach other specific learning objectives. Programs typically start at 9:30 and end by 12:45. Picnic tables are available for lunch but there are no on-site dining facilities. Schools must bring enough adults (teachers included) to accomplish a 1:7 adult to student ratio.   Please contact Beth Foley, Environmental Education Assistant, 803-896-8855, bfoley@scfc.gov at the Harbison State Forest Environmental Education Center for more details and to reserve your school’s space.

We will 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. In order to attend, all schools (children and adults) must follow the SC Forestry Commission’s COVID safety procedures:
                1. all participants wear masks indoors at all times while maintaining social distancing
of at least 3 feet (all the learning stations are outdoors but the bathrooms are indoors)
2. all participants wear masks outdoors when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained
3. all student participants submit signed COVID release-of-liability forms
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leading up to the event (up to 3 weeks beforehand), then the program will be canceled or the school’s invitation will rescinded.

Printable Harbison School Programs

Program Descriptions

First Grade
Science Standards: 1.E.4A.1, 1.E.4B.1, 1.E.4B.2
Math Standards: 1.MDA.1, 1.MDA.2
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.  They will learn how trees benefit our environment and society and how we can help conserve natural resources through a fun paper-making activity.  Students will study a forest environment and compare objects they observe by their length.

Science Standards: 1.L.5A.1, 1.L.5A.2, 1.L.5B.2, 1.L.5B.3
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. They will learn the positives and negatives of fire in a forest and how plants and animals are adapted to deal with fire.  Students will observe, measure, record data, make graphs, and draw conclusions about what they have learned. 


Third Grade
Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2
Math Standards: 3.MDA.3, 3.MDA.4
Students will take an in-depth look at 3 different forest 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 forest habitats.

Science Standards: 3.L.5B.1, 3.L.5B.2
Math Standards: 3.MDA.3, 3.MDA.4
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
Science Standards: 5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4A.2
Math Standards: 5.MDA.1, 5.MDA.4
Students will works in teams to collect, analyze, and interpret data from different terrestrial and aquatic forest environments.  They will then summarize and communicate their conclusions about the living and non-living components of the different forest environments and how the different plants and animals are adapted to those environments. Students will get to use tools to collect information on temperature, diameter, wind speed, and soil characteristics.

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 chain and 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
Science Standards: 7.EC.5A.1, 7.EC.5A.3
Math Standards: 7.GM.4
Students will develop and use models to describe the characteristics of the levels of organization within forest ecosystems. They will collect data and make observations on how fire has played a role in developing each ecological level in two different forest ecosystems. Students will also learn how limiting factors can affect a forest by becoming trees in a hands-on game. 

Science Standards: 7.EC.5B.1, 7.EC.5B.2, 7.EC.5B.3, 7.EC.5B.4
Students will learn how the forests are dynamic and are ever-changing in response to natural and human-caused events. Students will act out food chains and food webs 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 that use Harbison State Forest for field laboratory exercises include Biology I, Environmental Studies, A.P. Environmental Science, and Agricultural Science classes studying forestry.


Junior Forester Program - Harbison State Forest offers an outdoor educational experience with a little learning and a lot of fun.

Environmental Education