Educational Programs at Delaware Canal

Delaware Canal State Park offers an extensive variety of programs for students, teachers, community groups, and the public. From an early morning bird-watching paddle around the Giving Pond Recreation Area to a watershed education program held at your school, our Education Specialists can work with you to develop a program tailored to your educational needs.

Please contact us to find out more about upcoming scheduled programs and to explore the possibilities of a scheduling a special program for your group.

Year-round Programs

Birds and Boats

This is a fun class, focusing on the use of the Delaware River's greenways as a corridor for migratory birds. The day includes an introduction to bird biology and identification, a natural history walk down the canal towpath, and then finishes with a float on the Giving Pond or down the Delaware River identifying ducks and other water-loving critters.


Birds are fascinating creatures with very special adaptations that allow them to function in various roles within nature. In this class, students learn what makes a bird different than any other animal in the world, what are the different adaptations that allow birds to occupy certain niches, and what are some of the difficulties associated with being a bird. This class can be songbird or raptor focused, and is a great introductory lesson to the "Birds and Boats" program.

Boating Water Safety Awareness

In this two-part class, students will earn a Boating Safety Education Certificate. Classroom topics include PA waters, accident prevention, required and recommended equipment, and navigation rules. In the outdoor portion, students will practice cold-water survival skills, rescue techniques, and proper boat procedure skills in a protected open-water area. Learn more about BWSA programs at the PA Fish & Boat Commission website.

Ecosystems/Trophic Pyramids

All things are connected in the natural world. This class looks at ecosystems: what is in them, how energy is moved through them and what is necessary to keep them healthy and balanced. Particular attention will be given to trophic pyramids and what results when humans make changes to the environment.

Forest Values

Many of the products we use on a daily basis come from our Penn's Woods. But what we often overlook are the hidden benefits of our forests. Students will learn about nutrient recycling, water absorption and the difference between wildlife and timber trees.

Introduction to Watersheds (WE)

How does water effect land...and vice versa? How do people effect water...and vice versa? Why should it matter to us? Learn the basics of watersheds: What a watershed is and how to delineate the one you live in. This class is part of our PA State Parks Watershed Education Program.


In this class, students learn the basic skills of using a map and compass to help them find their way to different points located within the state park. Students will study topography and gain experience reading maps.

Problem Solving/Teambuilding

Students are presented with a variety of problem situations that must be solved through teamwork and group interaction. Hands-on and physically active, these activities challenge the students to work together and create a fun and educational experience.

Signs of a Healthy Environment

We can often tell how a person is feeling just by looking at them, but how can we determine the health of an environment? This class allows students to determine the health of their local environment through simple hands-on activities focusing on the soil, water and air.


Primarily focused on the mental aspects of survival, this class teaches students the basic thought process one should go through while in an emergency situation. Group problem solving and decision making, shelter building and fire making all fit into this very important class.

Wildlife Populations

This class investigates the dynamics of wildlife population growth. Students manipulate a population of white-tailed deer and see what can happen when natural controls are removed and food sources are plentiful. Concepts of carrying capacity, limiting factors and life history are covered in this program.

Water Ecology and Monitoring (WE)

This class covers just about everything you wanted to know about water. The special properties of water, the hydrology cycle, water quality, and the critters that inhabit the water are all covered in this hands-on interactive program. Students will also be introduced to the simple, yet scientific methods of monitoring the health of a water source. This class is part of our PA State Parks Watershed Education Program.

Watershed Field Study (WE)

Use your stream as a window to your community. Through chemical, biological and physical monitoring of a stream, students will learn how we can affect environmental and human health. The outdoor investigation portion of our PA State Parks Watershed Education Program.

Educational Trips and Bus Tours

Bus Tour

See Delaware Canal State Park by bus! A park educator will ride along to help interpret the scenery and show you the sights. Stops can be arranged at the sites of natural and historical significance that best fit the needs of your students. For more information on Canal History bus tours, please see the historical education section.

River Tour

Spend some time paddling down the Delaware River. Whether canoeing or kayaking, the river is a great place to learn about history, animals, watersheds, geology, and almost anything else. A park educator can accompany your group down the Lower Delaware to help interpret your surroundings. A river tour is a great companion to a BWSA workshop. Contact us for details.

Shad Ladder

Shad are amazing! They migrate, they live in fresh and salt water, and they can climb ladders!?! Join a park educator at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers in Easton PA to learn about the astonishing yearly shad migration. If you're lucky, you may even see a shad climb a ladder!

Spring Only Program

Herpetology (Reptiles and Amphibians)

Bring the students to the Delaware Canal for a natural history hike along the towpath in search of the many reptiles and amphibians found in and around the canal. The students will learn what makes these animals different from others, and what important roles these critters play in the environment.

Winter Classroom Programs

Owl Babies - Grades K-1

In this 40-minute classroom program, students are introduced to owl adaptations with the story Owl Babies. We will explain the many traits that are unique to owls with demonstrations and student activities using feathers, talons, pellets, pictures and taxidermy mounts. Silent flight, night vision, camouflage, owl calls, and hunting are all presented in this hands-on program.

Animals in Winter - Grades 2-3

In this hour-long classroom program, students will learn about various winter adaptations and survival strategies through National Geographic's book Animals in Winter. Hands-on activities include investigation of pelts from many of Pennsylvania's native mammals and an interactive game that introduces the food storage strategies of red and gray squirrels.

Solid, Liquid, Gas - Grades 4-5

In this hour-long classroom program, students discover the many shapes and forms water can take as they follow the adventures of a water drop in the story A Drop Around the World. Students then become part of the water cycle as they participate in an interactive game and write the memoirs of their own water droplet.

Endangered Species - Grades 4-5

Through storytelling and an interactive game, students learn how human activities can impact wildlife populations in both positive and negative ways. In this hour-long program, the terms extinct, endangered, extirpated and threatened are defined and discussed with relation to Pennsylvania species.


Loan Boxes

Delaware Canal State Park has standards-based environmental education kits available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Loan boxes can be borrowed for up to two weeks at a time. Attendance at a teacher workshop to introduce the boxes and their contents are required. Please visit our teacher workshop page to find out more about our loan boxes. Act 48 credits are available for attending these workshops.

Loan boxes are available on:

  • PA Geology
  • PA Land and Water
  • PA Reptiles and Amphibians
  • PA Mammals
  • PA Birds
  • PA Native Plants