School Programs at the Bent

Hands-on, curriculum-based learning in nature's outdoor classroom

The Bent of the River Audubon Center offers inquiry-based scientific field studies directly linked to Connecticut State science curriculum standards for grades 5-12. Each field study program includes an introductory classroom visit from an Audubon educator, pre- and post-visit classroom activities, and a visit to the Bent of the River Audubon Center, a 700-acre sanctuary filled with diverse ecosystems and habitats.

These programs are designed to be most effective when used to complement and enhance classroom work with hands-on field experiences. Scheduling can often be a challenge at these grade levels. However, we strive to be flexible and work with your class's availability.

For more information or to register for School Programs, contact Bent of the River Audubon Center at or 203-264-5098.

Early program registration ensures a more diverse set of date options. We look forward to working with you!

Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome Field Study

Students explore an aquatic and terrestrial habitat characteristic of the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome. Using telescoping nets, two-way magnifiers, and field guides, students conduct a macro-invertebrate survey of a vernal pool. Students use a dichotomous key and field guides to identify characteristic trees and inhabitants of the upland forest floor community. Students discover the connection between the aquatic and terrestrial habitats through an examination of the Pomperaug River Watershed and discuss how their everyday actions impact the environment.

Grades: 5-12
Program length: 3 hours (includes ½ hour for lunch)
Fee: $12/student
Class Size: 35 students
CT Science Standards: 5.4, 6.2, 6.4, 9.7, 10.5
Developed through partnership with Region 15 - Grade 5

Pomperaug River & Floodplain Forest Field Study

Students conduct a benthic macro-invertebrate survey to analyze water quality of the Pomperaug River, use scientific sampling techniques to identify soil decomposers in a leaf litter study, and use a dichotomous key to identify floodplain trees. Students compare macro-invertebrate adaptations to reinforce the connection between the river and floodplain forest habitats or create a food web to demonstrate the flow of energy through ecosystems.

Grades: 5-12
Program Length: 3 hours (includes ½ hour for lunch)
Fee: $12/student
Class Size: 35 students
CT Science Standards: 5.4, 6.2, 6.4, 7.3, 9.7, 10.5
Developed through partnership with Region 15 - Grade 7

Winter Ecology Program

An Audubon Educator leads students on a sanctuary walk to discover what’s happening in the winter landscape! Students discuss winter plant and animal adaptations and snow science. Students study animal tracking and use field guides and keys to identify winter plants and trees.

In case of snowfall, add an Outdoor Recreation component to your ecology lesson by taking advantage of youth snowshoes donated by the Lillinonah Audubon Chapter! This program is a wonderful way to study animal adaptations and winter ecology while enjoying the winter snowfall—please be sure to dress appropriately.

Grades: 3-6
Program Length: 1½ - 3 hours
Fee: $12/student
Class Size: 30 students
CT Science Standards: 3.2, 3.4, 4.2, 4.3, 6.2, 6.4

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