Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Homepage
Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Berkshire Outdoor Center

BOC > Programs & Activities > School Programs > By Focal Point > Environmental Education




Environmental Education - the teaching of how natural environments function - is a Berkshire Outdoor Center program targeted at 4th - 8th graders. The goals of the Environmental Education program are to reinforce topics learned in the classroom. For example:

  • Discussing how trees produce energy, then walking through the Northern Broadleaf forest on our property to look at a variety of trees and discuss differences.
  • Reinforcing lessons of Adaptation and Adaptive Traits, by visiting our Beaver Meadows, looking at a beaver dam and lodge, by researching our aquatic habitats to see what's living there.
  • Developing an appreciation for biodiversity, by spending time in our forests, learning the names of the types of trees and animals in our forests, and how they relate to one another - and seeing this relationship first-hand.
  • Learning about pesticides in the food chain, and the transfer of energy from primary consumers to secondary consumers, by playing a large group game called Predator Prey.

Environmental Education programs at Berkshire Outdoor Center can be as short as a day, or as long as a week. The longer your students can participate for, the more memorable the experience will be for them, and the more their education will be reinforced.

Additionally, Berkshire Outdoor Center suggests you incorporate activities from other program packages we run, to help develop other character traits in the students, while you have this amazing opportunity:

Teambuilding and Challenge Courses - Help students get to know one another a little deeper, help encourage self-esteem and confidence, develop communication skills of speaking AND listening, help encourage critical thinking and analytical thinking, help students solicit new ideas, and explore those ideas in a hands-on setting.

Canoeing, Kayaking, and other Adventure Recreation Activities - Help students develop physical skills, such as maneuvering a boat, or the confidence to be out on the water, or just give them some fun, physical activity in which they can spend time chatting to one another, self-debriefing their day. It also gives students time to play and be kids.

Sample of Our Most Popular Classes

Pond Ecology - Students will learn about animal adaptations to an aquatic habitat, focusing on insect life in the pond. Students will also explore water quality issues and how their actions may affect aquatic habitats.

Beaver Ecology - Students will learn about the American Beaver, its habitat and its adaptations to its habitat, before embarking on a search for evidence of beavers, and the beavers themselves. Several families of beavers live on our ponds here in the Berkshires, so this is a great chance to see beaver dams and lodges up close.

Forest Ecology - Students will learn what it takes for a tree to survive with hands-on exploration of basic concepts of ecology - individuals, populations, habitats, ecosystems. They will learn about trees themselves - how photosynthesis works, how trees survive. In our nature hikes into the backcountry, students will learn to identify species of the Central Berkshires, indicative of Northern Broadleaf Forests. They will learn about the layers of the forest and how forest composition impacts the animals found here.

Bog Ecology - Students will hike to our pristine peat bog to see first-hand the special conditions that define a bog. Students will also examine the water quality in the bog and look at plants and animals living in the bog.

Berkshire Wetlands Study - Combining features of our Pond Ecology and Bog Ecology classes, students will compare and contrast habitats, living conditions, plant and animal life in our ponds, swamps, marshes and bogs. By studying the differences between living conditions, students can draw conclusions about animals that live in these different ecosystems using first-hand experience.

Predator Prey - All things are interdependent in this come-to-life role play activity where students learn about food chains, predator-prey relationships and the web of life that connects all living things. This is a very active outdoor activity where students interact as predator or prey species. The concepts of bio-accumulation and the trophic pyramid are also discussed.

Night Experience - Students will learn about the ways in which the nocturnal world comes alive through games and experiments involving all of the senses. Sensory awareness, predator-prey relationships and the anatomy of animal eyes and ears are just some of the topics of discussion and activity on this night time excursion.

© 2018 Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA. All Rights Reserved.


748 Hamilton Road, Becket, MA 01223
Tel: (413) 623-8991 | Fax: (413) 623-5890