Summer Nature Program for Kids



Current Family Membership is required for registration. Please join or renew your Family Membership by February 20, 2017 to be eligible for priority registration on March 6th. General registration for Family Memberships paid after February 20th opens March 13th.

At Schiff Summer Nature Program, kids get outside to play, explore and learn together while deepening their sense of community, self-confidence and an appreciation for the natural world.

Check out the fun on Facebook & Instagram!

Tina Miller
Meet Sarah Peña
Summer Nature Program Director

What We Offer Each Week

  • Experienced professional educators as lead instructors
  • Morning and afternoon sessions available
  • A 1:10 teacher to child ratio
  • Lessons designed to motivate, delight, and inspire your children
  • Nature games, trips to the stream, tie dye making, and shelter building
  • Recycled craft projects to promote environmental awareness
  • Opportunities to explore the natural world and build strong friendships
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) integrated into our curriculum
  • Plenty of opportunity for exploration of Schiff's many splendors
    • Access to 768 acres of streams, forest and meadow
    • 15 miles of hiking trails to explore and discover

If a session has full enrollment, please email to be placed on our wait list.


Ages 4 & 5 (9-11 AM) - Fee $165.00
Schiff Fledglings (Age: 4 & 5)
July 10 - July 14
July 17 - July 21
July 24 - July 28
July 31 - August 4

The Fledglings summer program is just what your preschooler needs to break up the long summer days. Each morning includes a story, nature-themed art project, outdoor exploration, snack, and some free time to explore the great outdoors. Children will explore with all five senses different themes each week as they experience the wonder of Schiff’s landscapes, plants, and animals.

Ages 6 - 13 (Morning 9-12:30 PM) (Afternoon 1:30-5 PM) - Fee $195.00
Session 1: Hands on Habitats (Age: 6 - 13)
July 10 - July 14
Morning Session CLOSED
July 10 - July 14

Join us for a week of exploring the diverse wildlife habitats where NJ’s creatures make their homes. Throughout the week children will explore the woods, meadows, and streams of Schiff and learn first hand what wildlife needs to survive and thrive. Fun games, crafts, and adventures will make these ideas come to life!

Session 2: Wondrous Webs (Age: 6 - 13)
July 17 - July 21
July 17 - July 21

Imagine a newly woven spider web covered in a morning dew. This week we will weave the tale of how all living and nonliving factors of our environment are wondrously woven. Children will explore the Preserve from the soil to the sky! Come out and discover the links between the fungus and the trees, the rocks and the crayfish, and the deer and the mouse. You name it, we can connect it!

Session 3: Woodland Whimsy (Age: 6 - 13)
July 24 - July 28
Morning Session CLOSED
July 24 - July 28

Some very curious sightings have been made! Might there be some gnomes in the native garden, a few elves crouched in the hollows of our trees, or possibly fairies might be painting those meadow flowers after all. This week we will have fun with the place where imagination and nature intersect! We’ll create a gnome trail and fairy houses. We’ll even make some troll jam (also known as wineberry jam to mere mortals).

Session 4: Creatures Great & Small (Age: 6 - 13)
July 31 - August 4
July 31 - August 4

There is something for everyone as we spend a week investigating furry, scaly, feathered, and shelled wildlife. A bug net will gently swoop up a new insect to investigate, an overturned log will reveal a surprised salamander, or a river stone will turn out to be the cavern of a shy crayfish. The children will fall in love with all creatures great and small at Schiff and can visit their new wild friends anytime in the great outdoors!

Special Electives (Afternoon Only 1:30-5 PM) - Fee $195.00
Playwrights of the Preserve (Age: 9 - 16)
July 24 - July 28

Nature was born to be a star, and we’ll explore the wild side of life through acting games and writing workshops. The children will write, produce and perform their own unique production. Parents will enjoy watching the nature-themed play at the end of the week long session.

Artists of the Forest (Age: 6 - 12)
July 31 - August 4
Afternoon Session CLOSED

Nature has been inspiring artistic expression for all of human existence. This elective combines nature exploration with hands-on crafts and art projects. Some artwork will remain in the wild, and other pieces will be displayed in the Nature Center. Parents will have an exclusive tour of the show at the end of the week.

Counselors in Training (Ages 13-16) - Fee $100.00
Counselors in Training (Age: 13-16)
July 10 - August 4
Morning Session CLOSED
July 10 - August 4
Afternoon Session CLOSED

Students seeking experience and volunteer hours during Summer Nature Program can volunteer for 2-4 weeks of the SNP. Responsibilities will include assistance setting up and implementing activities, crafts, and games. Fee includes training and supervision. Please Click HERE to enter your information and make payment

Important Notices

  • Family Membership is required for Registration. If you are not already a member, please click here. A $50 family yearly membership must be renewed prior to the beginning of the program. Please contact the Nature Center if you are unsure about your membership status.
  • Health Forms are required for each summer nature program child. Please download a health form here. Each child attending the Summer Nature Program MUST have a completed form on file by June 1, 2017. Forms may be mailed or emailed.
  • Registration is accepted online with payment via PayPal. If you must pay by check or cash, contact .
  • To choose a session, click on the link and follow the registration process. If you wish to register for multiple sessions, you need to click on each session link and follow the registration process again. You will be paying PayPal separately for each session.
  • Choose as many sessions as you like. Please note that morning and afternoon sessions are identical each day unless you sign up for an afternoon elective. However, if you choose to register your child for a morning AND afternoon session in the same week, a parent or caregiver must be on the premises with your child between 12:30 and 1:30pm.
  • For your planning purposes, our groups are divided by grades.  If you would like your child placed with a sibling or friend in the approximate same grade, please let us know in advance in the "comments section" as it is difficult to make changes once the program has begun. Thank you.
  • After you register, you will receive an acknowledgement email which is verified by PayPal, at which point your spot is guaranteed.
  • Waitlist is available, if a session has full enrollment. Please email to be placed on our wait list.
  • Cancellations received by email or phone with 14 days notice are eligible for a full tuition refund minus $40 administrative fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations less than 14 days prior to the start of child's summer nature program.

Please email with any questions about registration.

Words from Friends:

"He loved every minute of it. He loves being outdoors and loved learning and going on hikes."

- 2016 SNP Parent

"She was excited about the art and hiking and she was eager to go each day."

- 2016 SNP Parent

"She LOVED Artist's week, but also really enjoyed collecting wine berries, eating them, and making jam."

- 2016 SNP Parent

"He wished the week wouldn't end."

- 2016 SNP Parent
Sarah Peña, Summer Nature Program Director & Environmental Science Program Developer

Sarah started at Schiff at the end of 2016. She has worked as a science teacher in biological and earth sciences since 2011. She earned her MS from Rutgers University in Ecology and Evolution and her BA from Vassar College. Sarah's passion is providing opportunities for children to be inspired by the beauty and complexity of the natural world. When she's not implementing programming at Schiff, she is usually with her husband and three young children hiking local trails or playing in their backyard, stream, or garden.