Field Trips Back in Person!

Nature Art from a student on a field trip

Chatham’s Eden Hall K-12 office has started holding in person field trips again, our team reflects on how they have started out this year. 

This September, we held our first in-person field trip since March 2020! Five trips have been held so far this fall, with over 200 students touring the Eden Hall campus and participating in activities. We are so excited to be able to have in-person trips!

Multiple Chatham student staff members have joined the team this season to help lead and coordinate field trips. Go to the Eden Hall K-12 Program website to learn more about the new staff. 

Our field trips currently include: opening or pre-visit activities related to the Sustainable Development Goals, hands-on activities in the Agroecology Demonstration Garden, lunches from the Eden Hall cafeteria, and tours of the Eden Hall campus to learn about the various aspects of sustainability featured on campus.  

Students learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and how they are used on the Eden Hall campus. Our pre-visit activity connects the various goals to each other with a ball of yarn, showing how all of the goals are connected and work together. 

Working in the Agroecology Demonstration Garden (ADG) has been described on post-surveys from K-12 students as their favorite portion of the trip. Students tour the gardens where they meet the goats and chickens, learn about sustainable agriculture practices, and do hands-on planting, harvesting or other garden maintenance activities. One group planted garlic and learned how to use tools to aerate the soil. Another group planted winter rye cover crops in open plots of the ADG and learned about the importance of cover crops. Other groups also helped in removing weeds from the beds. Students also are working together to define agroecology and connect how the practices of the garden promote sustainability. They are learning about the practice of composting and why this method is used to manage waste on campus. 

Goats in the Agroecology Garden

On tours with Chatham students who have personal knowledge of the campus, K-12 visitors learn about the sustainable systems on campus, which include but are not limited to a wastewater management system, solar panels, an aquaculture lab, and nature incorporated into buildings (which is called “biophilia”). 

After their trips, students provided us with lots of feedback. They loved the goats and hands-on activities and thought that the Chatham student facilitators were well informed, friendly, and good at answering questions. A few students even said that they plan to apply to Chatham after their trip. They described how their understanding of sustainability improved and some ways that they will include sustainable practices in their lives. 

If you want to sign up for a trip in the spring or know someone who may be interested, share this information! To sign up, visit the Field Trips page of the Eden Hall K-12 Program website for information on how to apply, program options, and scholarships. In the spring, we have expanded the field trip activities being offered, to include the games and activities on the Challenge Course, and aquaponics chemistry and farming. Information on these activities can be found on the field trip page linked above. 

Students on the Challenge Course

Virtual Field Trips and Meeting the Staff

Hello, my name is Jeremiah Davis, and I am a new member of the Chatham University’s Eden Hall K-12 Program staff. I am a first-year Sustainability student interested in community development and public service. I have been working on developing a virtual community development field trip to introduce students to the cool field of community development. When I first heard about virtual field trips, my head tilted: ‘How are you going to have a virtual field trip?’

Well, I have been pleasantly surprised by the awesome work that my fellow staff members have been producing! Through the use of virtual learning tools, video production, and interesting topics such as climate change and pollution, finding a unique angle to approach it and then connect that back to Eden Hall has made for some really interesting content! Lexi Kalpa, our Field Trip Coordinator, and undergraduate education and sustainability student and long-time staff member at the Eden Hall K-12 Program, developed one of our field trips on green buildings. I had no idea about green buildings previously; I was vaguely aware of LEED as a certification system for buildings, but that was about it! In the span of 40 minutes, we explored the science behind green buildings, different certifications, the value of design and space, and how buildings can be used for social justice. My favorite part of the field trip was the video filmed and produced by our team showing behind-the-scenes footage of the sustainable Eden Hall Campus. K-12 students are going to love seeing the physical beauty of Eden Halll’s buildings and learning about all the creative solutions being implemented that align with the concepts from the other parts of the virtual field trip.

Although being in a virtual space has been a challenge, it has pushed us to be more creative in crafting an experience that is engaging to students. That is a hard task to achieve with in-person field trips, and is doubly as hard in a virtual space! Using virtual learning tools such as Google Jamboard, Padlet, Menti, and my personal favorite, 3D images, has been crucial in developing engaging field trips. For younger students, we are excited to partner with other organizations to provide hands-on learning extension kits to have a tactile aid to help with their learning and engagement.

Members of the staff have been tasked with working on different field trips and other things around the office, so I also wanted to introduce the newest members to the team and talk about what they have been working on:

H.R. Liotta, our social media manager and sustainability educator, has been working on updates to the Green Building field trip developed to further improve the experience for students. H.R. is also a second-year arts management major and involved in theater and other things around Chatham.

Nora Robb is a sustainability educator and a second-year early education major. She has been working on our K-3 energy and ecology field trips, the latter of which will introduce students to Eden Hall’s sensory garden. She hopes to become an elementary school teacher, so this is great practice for her future career!

Jared Greenberg is our sustainability educator/blog manager, and he is a first-year master student in the food studies program. He has been working on the behind-the-scenes videos of rainwater capture systems and the sensory garden at Eden Hall for the 4-8 pollution and K-3 ecology field trip, respectively. He hopes to be a food writer, writing about the intersection of food and social justice.

Brooke Duplantier is a sustainability educator, and she is a second-year master student in the food studies program. She has been working on our 4-12 ecology field trip focusing on Chatham’s landscape management practices, introduced species, land colonization and indigenous ecology.

Our veteran student staff, Rashmi and Lexi, have also been hard at work on:

  • K-3 food field trips where students get to meet Eden Hall’s farm animals and learn how they help the garden grow
  • 4-12 food field trips exploring norms and rules we give each other around food in society, who benefits from these rules and who experiences social barriers to food sovereignty
  • 4-12 energy field trips digging into Eden Hall’s renewable energy systems and their data and then learning ways to make energy efficiency and renewable energy more accessible to all

All of us can’t wait to facilitate trips for your students!

For more information about field trips or to book a “trip”, visit our Virtual Field Trips Website or contact Lexi Kapla by emailing

This post was written by Jeremiah Davis

Interdisciplinary Education Using Carvey

By Felicity Moffett

The K-12 program at Eden Hall believes in the importance of interdisciplinary learning. This is why we are so excited to announce a new technology that we will be incorporating into our lesson plans. Inventable’s Carvey is a 3D carving tool that gives students hands-on experience with STEM technology. While the Carvey is capable of carving many materials we are planning on using wood. Wood acts as a sustainable option compared to plastic and gives students the satisfaction of being less wasteful while looking at the bigger picture of sustainability. We are currently incorporating Carvey into one of our garden lesson plans so that students have the opportunity to carve plant marking signs after deciding which plants they would like to add to our garden. Through Easle, a free online program, students can design their signs in advance, sign in on our computers, and then carve the signs using our machine. Both Carvey and Easle are easy to learn which make them the perfect introduction to 3D technology for students of any age. Our first print, a draft of what students will be doing, is shown below. Our staff is having fun using this technology and they are excited to share it with students!


Carvey in Action!


The finished product.



Now Offering Integrated Pest Management Field Trip Activity for Grades 9-12

Chatham University uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control the insects that do damage to our environment. In a new program option now offered during Eden Hall field trips, students explore and learn about IPM in agriculture through discussions, activities, and reflections. Students develop and apply knowledge to distinguish when bugs are considered beneficial or pests, and put into practice some of the most important steps of IPM.

This newest activity includes defining and developing the “IPM pyramid” and researching evidence of pests in either the solar high tunnel or the on-campus farm. Photographs taken during these activities are uploaded to the larger Eden Hall IPM Evidence Database, and will contribute to a much larger scientific database and tracking system that benefits the overall health of the Eden Hall environment.

This IPM program was piloted during a food-themed visit from Hampton High School this November. Check out some photos from the program below. In addition to documenting pests found on campus, Hampton’s field trip itinerary also included a family style lunch and a food-focused campus tour (highlighting the aquaculture lab, vertical gardens, and all campus growing spaces). Stay tuned for future blog posts on our new lunch program, and an extension of the IPM activity into lower grades.

Hampton High School students look for and document evidence of pests in the solar high tunnel at Eden Hall.

A Hampton High School student and teacher look for and document evidence of pests in the solar high tunnel at Eden Hall.

Hampton High School students look for and document evidence of pests in the solar high tunnel at Eden Hall.

by Dani San Filippo, Food Studies Grad Student and Eden Hall K-12 Farm & Garden Educator

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