Summer Nature Program for Kids

Summers @ Schiff
A healthy dose of fresh air, active fun, exploration, and creative play while immersed in nature with an overarching integration of environmental education.
(AGES 6-13)

Make sure to initiate or renew your Schiff (Trailblazer or above) membership by Monday, 3/6/2023 to be eligible for Early Registration on Monday, 3/20/2023.

Current Schiff members enjoy a member's benefit of Early Registration on Monday, 3/20/2023.

Open Registration (for those who became members post 3/6) is Monday, 3/27/2023.

Summer Nature Program at Schiff, Mendham NJ

What We Offer Each Week

Summer Nature Program at Schiff
  • A 1:10 staff to child ratio
  • Morning and afternoon sessions available
  • Lead instructors are experienced professional educators
  • Lessons designed to educate, motivate, delight, and inspire children
  • Science, Sustainability, Environment, and Art integrated into all our curriculum
  • Weekly activities include nature inspired games, stream exploration, tie dye making, and hiking
  • Recycled craft projects to promote environmental awareness complementing daily lessons
  • Opportunities to explore Schiff's many splendors while building confidence and strong friendships
    • Access to 500+ acres of streams, forest, and meadow
    • 12 miles of hiking trails to explore and discover

Session I- July 5-7
Session II- July 10-14
Session III- July 17-21
Session IV- July 24-28

2023 Summer Nature Program Descriptions

Ages 6 - 13 (9 AM -12:30 PM) or (1:30 -5:00 PM) ($150 for 3-day Program) - Fee $250.00
Schiff Trail Mix (Age: 6 - 13)
July 5 - July 7 - Morning Session CLOSED
July 5 - July 7 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

Join us on an adventure of swirling tie-dye in celebration of SNP’s top twenty games, activities, crafts, and hikes as we kick off our 20th season! We can’t wait to celebrate the wonderful work of Schiff’s Summer Nature Program with your children!

Tales of Tails on Schiff’s Trails (Age: 6 - 13)
July 10 - July 14 - Morning Session CLOSED
July 10 - July 14 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

Shake your feathers, swish your tail, and take a journey through time learning all about Schiff’s preserved land and the animals (including humans) who call Schiff home. Our hikes will lead us on an adventure searching for historic structures, listening for signs, and looking for traces of wildlife!

Oh Deer... We’re 20! (Age: 6 - 13)
July 17 - July 21 - Morning Session CLOSED
July 17 - July 21 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

What animal is considered an excellent swimmer and can jump a 9-foot fence? That’s correct, a white-tailed deer! Join us as we explore the biology and behavior of these magnificent creatures. Playing games such as “Oh Deer!”, conducting activities that teach us about predator-prey relationships, and picking wine berries are just a few of the fun-filled activities we have in store!

Camouflage, Color & Colorings (Age: 6 - 13)
July 24 - July 28 - Morning Session CLOSED
July 24 - July 28 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

Discover the magic behind animal defenses and learn about some of Schiff’s wild neighbors who specialize in some of the most dazzling defenses! Going on a scavenger hunt, playing the game “Camouflage” and creating a colorful craft are just a few of the many activities we will engage in as we explore the amazing world of animal adaptations!

Special Electives (Afternoon Only 1:30-5 PM) - Fee $250.00
Outdoor Adventures in Stewardship (Age: 10 - 16)
July 5 - July 7 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

Adventure, stewardship, and friendship! As we hike with a purpose, this elective combines nature discovery with the exploration of Schiff’s mission. Your children will engage in activities, games, and a special conservation project as they spend time connecting with the trails of Schiff while gaining stewardship skills.Come explore the art of nature as we combine nature exploration with the exploration of different mediums used to create works of art. This elective is designed to spark creativity and a connection with nature, by using the natural world as inspiration and as a subject matter for your children’s masterpieces!

Artists of the Forest (Age: 8 - 13)
July 10 - July 14 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

Come explore the art of nature as we combine nature exploration with the exploration of different mediums used to create works of art. This elective is designed to spark creativity and a connection with nature, by using the natural world as inspiration and as a subject matter for your children’s masterpieces!

Into the Woods (Age: 12 - 16)
July 17 - July 21 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

This wild adventure will provide a foundation for wilderness survival skills in a fun and friendly environment. Learning the art of navigation, interpreting animal tracks, constructing shelters, and building fires are just a few of the many skills to be learned as your child’s awareness of the natural world around them is heightened during this week in the woods!

Nature’s Craft Closet (Age: 8 - 13)
July 24 - July 28 - Afternoon Session CLOSED

Join us on our artistic quest as we create works of art that address environmental issues and promote conservation of the natural world! Children will learn about sustainable art practices and create pieces of eco-friendly art using recycled and natural materials. We can’t wait to make a positive impact on our community through art and the great outdoors with you!

*NEW* CIT “Counselors-in-Training” Program (Age:12-16) - Fee $150.00

We are thrilled to announce Schiff has a NEW Counselor in Training Program! This program offers an excellent way for children to gain leadership skills while being role models for our younger program attendees. CIT's will be trained and coached by staff members in a manner that builds confidence and independence. By the week's end, CIT's will be able to use their newly acquired skills to assist in leading program activities alongside Counselors and Instructors.

Space is very limited. To accept the most applicants, accepted individuals will only be able to participate in one session. This year, we can accept 4 individuals per week into our CIT program (3 AM spots, 1 PM spot).


  • Interact with program attendees in a fun, positive and responsible manner
  • Serve as a role model for program attendees
  • Assist Instructors and Counselors with supervision of the group
  • Help facilitate program activities (games, crafts, hikes, photography, etc.)
  • Assist with program preparation and clean-up


  • Must be 12-16 years old
  • Must be enthusiastic, enjoy working with children and the environment
  • Must be comfortable getting dirty and working in all summer weather conditions
  • Must commit to one full week (Monday-Friday) of our Summer Nature Program (AM or PM Session)

To Apply
Applicants should email the following to Schiff SNP Co-Directors; Christi Lorenson & Jenny Chmura at . Schiff members may submit applications on 3/21. Non-members may submit applications on 3/28.
- Letter of interest
- Resume

There is a $150 fee for all CIT's to cover training expenses. This fee is due upon acceptance into our program.

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

Important Notices

Summer Nature Program for Kids
  • Membership at Schiff Nature Preserve is required to register to Schiff's Summer Nature Program. Access to our Summer Nature Program is a benefit of Membership.
  • Trail Blazer Membership must be initiated or renewed by Monday, 3/6/2023 to register prior to 3/20/2023. Contact if you are unsure about your membership status.
  • Registration is accepted online with payment via PayPal. Payments must be received prior to the start date of summer nature program. If you wish to pay by check or cash, contact .
  • Cancellations received by email or phone within 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 your child's selected session.
  • Waitlist is available. Please email to be placed on our wait list.
  • Caregiver must be on the premises with your child between 12:30 and 1:30pm, if you choose to register your child for an AM session and PM elective in the same week.
  • Groups are divided by grades. If you would like your child placed with a sibling or friend in the approximate same grade, please note this request in the "comments section". NOTE: When creating group rosters we try our best to accommodate everyone's placement requests, but such requests cannot be guaranteed.

Please email with any questions about registration.

Our Directors:

Jenny Chmura
Meet Jenny Chmura
Summer Nature Program Co-Director
Christi Lorenson
Meet Christi Lorenson
Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Words from Friends:

Summer Nature Program Camp

"Our daughter absolutely LOVES her time at Schiff! She comes home energized and excited to talk about all of her adventures. Her favorites are tie die days, picking wineberries and, of course, the trip to the stream. The counselors are wonderful - our daughter talks about them year round and is always thrilled to see them the next time camp is in session! Thank you Schiff!" - C. Patullo, 2022 SNP Parent

"Every year our kids count down the days until the Schiff Summer Nature Program. It is their absolute favorite! They learn so much and have a blast every day. Thanks for the perfect summer memories!" - C. Mitchell, 2022 SNP Parent

"Our daughter looks forward to Schiff's Summer Nature Program every year, and is always so sad when it's over! She loves making her annual tie-dye t-shirt, building shelters in the pine grove, playing the game "Camouflage", painting at the stream, and making new friends. She always says how everyone at Schiff is just so nice and so much fun to be around!" - C. Lorenson, 2022 SNP Parent

"My boys loved EVERYTHING about Schiff, but their top three was building forts, tie dying shirts and stream day." - Parent of 2020 Summer Nature Program

"I wanted to reach out to tell you all of my boys had another fantastic year at Schiff. Thank you." - A. Alessi, Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"Q. from Mom: 'How was your day?' A. from kids: 'Awesome!'" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My children enjoy all aspects of Schiff's Summer Nature Program." - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"He loved it all!" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"The staff of SNP are AMAZING!!" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"'There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.' - Linda Hogan. I like to keep this quote in mind when planning our children's summer schedule. So many times we are too scheduled, too busy or too distracted... but this never happens at Schiff's Summer program. My children absolutely LOVE being part of this program and actually begged me for more weeks next year. We can't wait to come back! We have even been recreating the tie-die shirt ceremony here at home when we fold our laundry - ha! Great memories!!" - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My children said this was the best camp and enjoyed it more than any other camp they attend in the summer. They both said the counselors were the nicest counselors they have ever had! My daughter specifically mentioned that she loves that the staff don't push her to do anything and let her get there on her own!" -Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"My daughter as been coming here for years. It's the one camp she always wants to attend each summer." - Parent of 2019 Summer Nature Program

"I like Schiff better than my house!" - child from 2018 summer program

"Our daughter said 'all of it' was her favorite." - parent of child of 2018 summer program

"My son comes home everyday. He might be dirty. He might be wet, but he has had the time of his life." - M. Vankirk, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"Thank you! He loved it so much that we decided to let him have another week with you all at Schiff!" - T. Silverman, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"Our family continues to enjoy our membership at Schiff Nature Preserve (now our third year) and we are excited for our youngest to join your Fledglings program this summer as a 4 year old!" - M. Clark, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"My kids had nothing bad to say about the program at all - it was their absolute favorite week at camp and can't wait to return."

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

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

"He wished the week wouldn't end."

Check us out on Facebook & Instagram!
Schiff Summer Nature Program on Facebook  Schiff Summer Nature Program on Instagram
Jenny Chmura, Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Jenny has been part of the Schiff community since 2014 as an instructor with the Summer Nature Program and is excited to be part the magic of Schiff. She has worked as an eighth grade language arts teacher since 2001. Jenny earned BA in English from Montclair State University and also earned her Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. Jenny's passion is providing opportunities for children to learn about, appreciate, explore, and respect their natural environment. When she is not at Schiff she can usually be found hiking local trails with her dog and bird watching.

Christi Lorenson, Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Christi joined the Schiff family in the fall of 2017 as the co-Director for the Schiff Summer Nature Program. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. Since then, she has worked for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation as a Grants Manager, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge as a Development Assistant, and most recently spent the last 7 years working at Trailside Nature & Science Center as a Park Naturalist until she deciding to stop working full-time so she could be home with her children. Christi's strong respect for the environment and desire to preserve its natural habitats has encouraged her to dedicate her career to environmental education and outreach. Christi's love for the environment has also shaped the hobbies she has taken up which include volunteering with wildlife rehabilitation centers, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and throwing pottery; however, what she loves to do most is spend time with her family. She currently lives in Gladstone, NJ with her husband, 2 young daughters, and two Burmese Mountain dogs... And it's no secret that Christi's eldest dog, Kona, is her heart and soul.