Education Coordinator Matt Schnabel gives a virtual field trip.

Assistant Education Coordinator Beth Foley finds a deer antler on a virtual field trip.

Virtual Field Trips










SC Forestry Commission Education Staff have developed virtual field trips of the environmental education programs offered at Harbison State Forest. These live forest hikes are an engaging way for students to learn about forestry and natural resources. All programs are free, typically last around 30 minutes, and include a student worksheet to be completed during the hike (except kindergarten). It is recommended that these programs are streamed while in the classroom and students are encouraged to ask questions. Google Meet is the preferred platform for these virtual field trips, but another platform can be requested by the teacher. Programs can be scheduled on consecutive days to allow all students to attend who are in the classroom on alternating days. All programs are aligned with South Carolina 2014 Science Standards.

Please contact Beth Foley, Environmental Education Assistant, 803-896-8855, for more details and to book a program.



Program 1 – Forest Animals and Their Needs for Survival
Science Standards: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.5, K.L.2A.6
Students will learn about the basic needs of animals and what they need to survive in their environment.  They will go on a scavenger hunt to find forest animals that use trees as habitats and discuss how these animals depend on trees in many ways. Learning can be extended by drawing and labeling the organisms found on the forest hike.

Program 2 – Using Your Senses to Learn About the Changing Forest
Science Standards: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.4, K.E.3A.3
Students will discover how their five senses can be used to learn about the changing forest. They will go on a hike to observe seasonal changes in a forest - either winter or spring depending on the program date. Learning can be extended by “adopting” their own tree and making drawings and observations of it throughout a season.

Program 3 – Lifecycles and Basic Needs of Plants in the Forest
Science Standards: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.2
Students will learn how trees obtain the resources they need to survive through plant personification. They will act out the life stages of a tree to understand lifecycles in a forest. Students will also examine structured investigations to determine what plants need to live and grow. Learning can be extended by working through a tree lifecycle diagram to learn more about each life stage.


First Grade

Science Standards: 1.E.4A.1, 1.E.4B.1, 1.E.4B.2
Students will investigate the properties of Earth’s natural resources and learn about ways that they can be conserved. Students will study the soil in a forest habitat to learn about its composition and structure. Students will observe a soil shake demonstration to see the components of soil and record data about their inquiries.

Science Standards: 1.L.5A.1, 1.L.5A.2
Students will learn how plant structures help them survive, grow, and reproduce in a forest. Students will investigate a variety of seeds and learn about dispersal methods for different species and environments. Along with the instructor, they will act out the life cycle of a tree.

Third Grade

Science Standards: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2
Students will explore the piedmont habitat at Harbison State Forest and learn how it supports a variety of organisms. Students will investigate food chains and energy flow through an ecosystem. They will participate in a scavenger hunt to find producers, consumers, and decomposers then create food chains with the discovered organisms.

Science Standards: 3.L.5B.1, 3.L.5B.2
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 examine how a longleaf pine has adapted to live in a fire managed ecosystem.

Fifth Grade

Science Standards: 5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4A.2
Students will explore two different forest ecosystems - terrestrial and aquatic habitats. They will go on a scavenger hunt to find living and non-living components of the different forest environments and learn how the plants and animals are adapted to those environments. Students will create Venn diagrams to see what is unique and what is common in each habitat.

Science Standards: 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.2
Students will explore the piedmont habitat at Harbison State Forest and learn how biotic organisms interact within an ecosystem. Students will investigate food webs and the flow of energy through a forest ecosystem. They will participate in a scavenger hunt to find producers, consumers, and decomposers then create a food web with the discovered organisms.


Seventh Grade

Science Standards: 7.EC.5B.3, 7.EC.5B.4
Students will learn about local invasive species and the problems they cause with forest ecosystems. They will hear about four common "forest invaders" found at Harbison State Forest and the characteristics that encourage their establishment and spread. Students will explore how invasive species can affect the balance of an ecosystem and discuss solutions to minimize the impacts and spread of these plants and animals. 

Environmental Education