Program A (1.5 hrs):

·         Walking the Path of the American Indian – Discover how American Indians used nature to provide all their food, shelter, and water. Make pottery and experience the American Indian oral tradition with a story that still applies today.   

Program B (1.5 hrs):

·         Walk like the Animals - Use your senses to discover how the forest and river provide a good place for animals to live.

Program C (1.5 hrs):

·         Water Properties – Why does the river look different at different times? Little scientists will love to experiment with this question while learning about our beloved Rappahannock River.




Kindergarten and 1st Grade: 


Program A (3.5 hrs):

2010 Science SOL’s: K.1, K.2, K.4, K.6, K.7, K.9, 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8

·         River Investigation Hike – Investigate the river habitat with your senses – observing, describing, and charting. Discover how animals use their senses for survival.

·         Trees – Gain a better understanding of tree parts, trees as a resource, and why trees are so important to our river.

·         Life in the River Habitat – Explore many different plants and animals along the river and discover why they live next to the river.

Program B (3.5 hrs):

2010 Science SOL’s: K.1, K.5, K.6, K.7, K.9, 1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 1.7, 1.8

·         Aquatic Arthropods in Action– These tiny creatures are extremely important to the river ecosystem. Discover the secret lives of our little friends living in the river through a series of investigative dry-land activities. 

·         Water Properties –What can the river tell us about the properties of water? Conduct an experiment to find out!




 2nd and 3rd Grades:


Program A (3.5 hrs):

2010 Science SOL’s: 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10

·         Wetlands: Snowden and Beyond – Hike to a wetland ecosystem, learning about plants and animals along the way. Deduce how wetlands help wildlife and the river.

·         Just Around the River Bend – Explore the diversity of plant and animal life, their inter-dependency, and their relationship with the river.

·         Water Cycle Game or Food Web Game (choose 1) – Both of these activities cover important topical vocabulary disguised as a fun game!

Program B (3.5 hrs.):

2010 Science SOL’s: 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.1, 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10; History and Social Science SOL’s: 2.2, 2.4, 2.6

·         Signs of Seasonal Change – Why do the leaves change colors and drop from some trees? How do animals survive during winter? Collect and analyze evidence of seasonal change to answer these and other questions.

·         Rappahannock Connections - Discover how the Rappahannocks, an American Indian Tribe of the Eastern Woodlands, used their natural resources to meet life needs.  Investigate their respect for nature through pottery, artifacts, and oral tradition.



4th and 5th Grades:



Program A (3.5 hrs):

2010 Science SOL’s: 4.1, 4.5, 4.9, 5.1, 5.7

·         We All Live Downstream - Deduce the benefits of riparian buffer zones along our river, discuss erosion and pollution’s impact, and propose solutions.

·         What is a watershed? – Where does the water go? Manipulate a model of a watershed to better understand human impacts on ecosystems.

·         Commit to Conserve – Find out how you can protect our waterways and commit to an action that will help.

Program B (3.5 hrs):

History and Social Science SOL’s: VS.1, VS.2, VS.3, VS.4, VS.6; USI.1, USI.2, USI.3; 2010 Science SOL’s: 4.5, 4.9, 5.7

·         Survivor: John Smith - Visit the northwest extent of John Smith’s exploration of the Rappahannock, comparing Virginia resources now and then. Through tasks and role playing, simulate the Jamestown settlers’ effort to survive and fulfill responsibilities to the Virginia Company and the King.   

·         Rappahannock Connections - Discover how the Rappahannocks, an American Indian Tribe of the Eastern Woodlands, adapted to their environment and used their natural resources.  Investigate their respect for nature through pottery, artifacts, and oral tradition.   




6th through 12th Grades:  


(can be adapted for collegiate/adult participants)

Program A (3.5 hrs):

2010 Science SOL’s: 6.1, 6.5, 6.7, 6.9; LS.1, LS.4, LS.6, LS.8, LS.9, LS.10, LS.11; ES.1, ES.2, ES.6, ES.8, ES.10; Environmental Science; Ecology

·         Water Quality and Protection – Students will perform both biological and chemical water quality tests. Biological tests include benthic macro invertebrate sampling; chemical tests include data collection via handheld digital probeware and traditional chemical tests.

·         Riparian Buffer Hike or Wetlands Hike (choose 1) – Students will learn why these ecosystems are important by investigating their impact on our watershed.         

Program B (3.5 hrs)

2010 Science SOL’s: 6.7, 6.9; LS.11; ES.6; Civics: CE.1, CE.9; Environmental Science; Ecology

·         Environmental Literacy and Ethics – How do you interact with the environment when no one is looking? How do your environmental ethics compare to those of your peers? Students learn how to advocate for environmental issues they care about.

  • Conserving the Natural Landscape – Students play the role of key stakeholders in a mock public hearing about land rights issued through a conservation easement. Learn how easements work and why they are a valuable



 Additional Programs:



·         Nature Journaling (appropriate for 2nd-8th grades) - Discover the value of natural places using science, history, and art.  Hone your observation skills and record nature along the scenic Rappahannock River. 

·         River Safety (appropriate for 3rd-8th grades) - Learn to evaluate river safety conditions in order to enjoy the river safely. Interactive and hands-on, but all on dry land. Health SOL’s: 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1

·         Snorkeling (8 yrs. and up) – Investigate how water quality, invasive species, bioaccumulation, and biomagnification affect food chains and webs. Identify fish, aquatic insects, and aquatic vegetation. 2010 Science SOL’s: 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 4.9, 5.1, 5.5, 6.1, 6.5, 6.7, 6.9; Environmental Science; Ecology; LS.6, LS.8, LS.9, LS.19

·         Water Quality Testing by Canoe/Kayak (12 yrs. and up) –Collect water samples from different tributaries of the Rappahannock by canoe/kayak. Complete chemical water quality tests of the different samples to compare and analyze.

·         Fishing (8 yrs. and up) – Learn fishing/river safety and “Leave No Trace” fishing basics. Eye protection is required (sunglasses or safety glasses work well). Group size is limited to 15.




Program Fees 

  • $6 per child/student (snorkeling and boating prices vary, call for details)
  • $50 registration fee (will be applied to the $6/child fee for the program)
  • Payment balance due the day of the program unless prior arrangements have been made
  • Minimum group visit $60
  • Adult chaperones are free
  • Special arrangements may be possible for groups where cost would otherwise prevent participation

    Please Note…

  • You will receive a confirmation letter when scheduled
  • Please let us know of special needs and we will try to accommodate them
  • All programs include river and trail safety instruction
  • Programs may be altered during inclement weather

Adult chaperones are free, Please limit chaperones to no more than 1 per 5 children. Exceptions to the maximum chaperone limit are special needs children, home school, small preK and scout groups.  No siblings, please.    


Cancellation Policy

Classes are conducted rain or shine unless weather is a safety issue.  We will contact you as soon as possible to notify you of cancellation.  If you wish to cancel a program, please do so at least 4 weeks prior to your scheduled program in order to receive a registration fee refund.     

Directions to Field Trip Sites

Friends of the Rappahannock - River's Edge Nature Preserve 3219 Fall Hill Avenue, Fredericksburg

From I95:  Exit at 133A- Falmouth. Follow road to Rte 1-right at light onto Rte 1 S.  Go over the bridge (look at the great view of the river), to second light, right on Fall Hill Ave., past houses, past bend in river, right into Virginia Outdoor Center/Friends of the Rappahannock.   

Westmoreland Berry Farm 1235 Berry Farm Road, Colonial Beach

From I95: Exit at Route 3 East. The farm is approximately 35 miles East of Fredericksburg Follow Route 3 East to the Intersection on Route 3 and Route 301 Continue on Route 3 for approximately 7.5 miles, enter Westmoreland County Turn right onto Claymont Road (Rt. 634) Follow Claymont Road (Rt. 634) for approximately 1 mile Turn Right on to Rappahannock Road (Rt. 637) Follow Rappahannock Road (Rt. 637) for approximately 2.5 miles Will see a Berry Farm sign on the right next to Berry Farm Lane Turn right on to Berry Farm Lane Follow the road back to the Farm Market   


Questions & Registration

Friends of the Rappahannock 3219 Fall Hill Ave Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Tel: 540-373-3448 ext. 115 Fax: (540) 373-8111 Web: Email:    


 TitleModified DateSize (Kb) 
Contact Information and Waiver for Homeschool10/8/2009106.96Download
                                                                Scouts can participate in any of the regular youth programs or they can work on specific scout badges/beltloops/pins.* Our scout programs are designed to meet scouting requirements for the achievements.





EcoExplorer Brownie Girl Scout Badge

Brownies investigate the river and woods habitat discovering the interactions of plants and animals with their environment.  Complete badge.


Earth and Sky Brownie Girl Scout Badge

The soil and the sky are essential to all life.  Explore the wildlife living in both. Complete badge. 


Earth Connections Junior Girl Scout  Badge

Junior girl scouts delve deeper into the woodland ecosystem learning to more about interactions of plants and animals with their environment as well and plant identification and medicinal uses.  Complete badge.


Wildlife  Junior Girl Scout Badge

Take a closer look at wildlife investigating  adaptations, poisonous plants, and animal habitat and behavior. Complete badge.


Wildlife Conservation Cub Scout Belt Loop and Pin

While visiting the Friends of the Rappahannock cub scouts will explore a variety of natural resource concepts including the food chain and camouflage and conservation.  To complete this belt loop and pin, scouts will need to learn about and report on an endangered species to their den.


Fishing Cub Scout Sports Pin and Belt Loop

Scouts will learn how to cast, bait a hook with live bait and lures, and then go fishing.  A review of the fishing regulation book will complete the Belt Loop requirements and  put them  well on their way to the Fishing Pin. (allow 2 hours)


River Safety:Although this is not a specific scout badge, it is popular with troops because it teaches scouts valuable skills and is the basis for many of the scouting water activity achievements. Learn how to read the river to evaluate safety conditions and to enjoy the river safely; interactive hands-on activities all on dry land.  River levels and weather permitting, we take the scouts in the river to practice what they have learned.




Programs are conducted at the Virginia Outdoor Center on Fall Hill Ave, Fredericksburg.  They last 1 ½ hours unless otherwise noted, and  cost $6 per scout, minimum $60 per program.   See the education brochure for more details.  For reservations call 373-3448 or email 


*The requirements for each badge/loop are met as indicated, but the actual patch, loop, or pin is not provided. Patches should be ordered through your unit or pack.

Rising 1st and 2nd graders
Junior River Rangers spend their mornings exploring along the banks of the Rappahannock River! Learn about the plants and animals that make their homes in and around the river. Play games, meet new friends, hike, make sandcastles, and much more! If you like to get dirty and spend time outdoors, this camp is for you! *Please note: Junior River Rangers may get wet, but do not get in the river.
9am-1pm:  July 16-20, 2012 or August 13-17, 2012  


$85 FOR members, $100 non-members
Email: Phone: (540) 373-3448

Rising 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders
River Rangers spend their days hiking, swimming, tubing, rafting, snorkeling, fishing, playing in the woods, and more! Learn about the Rappahannock River while playing in it. If you like to get wet while learning 
about our natural world, spend a week at FOR!
9am-3pm: July 23-27, 2012 or August 6-10, 2012

Cost: $160 FOR members, $185 non-members
Email: or Phone: (540) 373-3448

Rising 6th, 7th and 8th graders
River Rats, our oldest campers, will kayak, hike, swim, tube, snorkel, fish, and more! Hang out with new and old friends while learning about river recreation, wilderness survival skills, and how to help protect the Rappahannock River.  If you want an outdoor challenge this summer, then this camp is for you!
9am-3pm:  June 25-29, 2012

$160 FOR members, $185 non-members
Email: Phone: (540) 373-3448



We are happy to offer summer field trip opportunities for your center at Friends of the Rappahannock! Bring your group down to the river for an educational and fun outdoor experience. Our age-appropriate environmental education programs are the perfect compliment to your summer program! Preschool and school age programs are available.
Choose from one of the following programs or call to arrange a program to match your summer themes.

Animals by the River – Students will learn about life in and around the river by participating in interactive games, scavenger hunts, crafts, and more!

Water, Water Everywhere – Students will participate in interactive games, activities, and crafts that cover river safety, the water cycle, and the importance of protecting our waterways.

Programs run from 9:30-11:30am or 12:30-2:30pm. An additional 30 min. can be added the beginning/end if you would like to have lunch at the river. (We have a covered picnic area.)  *Four hour programs based on our regular school field trip programs can also be arranged for an additional fee. For a listing of these programs, please see

Price: $6/child, minimum of ten children ($60) per group. Maximum group size is 25 per program. Available dates are limited and will fill up quickly. Deposit of $60 is due by June 1, 2010 to reserve your trip. Registration after June 1 available as space allows.

I hope to see your group down at the river this summer! Call to register today!

Commit to Conserve is a program developed by Friends of the Rappahannock to engage children in personal action to preserve both the quantity and the quality of water that flows from the mountains, down the Rappahannock River and to the Chesapeake Bay.  Our goal is to empower the children to have a personal impact on their environment and to extend the impact of the field time they spend here at the Rappahannock River.  We hope you will find this program useful in your interactions with children.  There is also a version for families. This program was funded by a grant from CarMax.


You may select an action to conserve water quantity or quality.  Examples are turning off water while brushing teeth or washing hands, taking shorter showers, or using one paper towel rather than many. Families may choose to compost rather than using their disposal, wash the car on the grass instead of pavement, or collect the water that runs while waiting for the hot shower water and use it to water plants.  There are plenty of other ideas you can find on the internet or in our Livable Neighborhoods program.  Fill out a Pledge Card, and then print a tracking picture to put on your refrigerator. Pledge Card and tracking picture are below for you to download.  Every time you do one action to help the river, fill out one ripple in the picture to help the water get from the mountains to the bay.  

 TitleCategoryModified DateSize (Kb) 
Tracking Form 3/6/2009938.44Download
Pledge Card 3/6/2009190.33Download

What is a livable neighborhood?
 Imagine a neighborhood where the attractive landscape invites you to stroll down the street.  The bushes and trees are used as a water-purifying filter.  There are fewer toxic pesticides for your children and grandchildren to ingest when they play outside.  Neighbors know more about each other than the make of their car or where they work.  A Livable Neighborhood is a place you want to be.
This Livable Neighborhood and the river are directly linked.  The same actions that make our neighborhoods safer, healthier and prettier also restore the rivers and streams.  Our water resources are being harmed by our daily lifestyle choices.  How we live threatens the drinking supplies, the recreational uses and beauty of our rivers.  A Livable Neighborhood is only possible in the long-term if we have healthy rivers and groundwater. 

How does the program work?
We will give you materials, training and ongoing support to be a leader in your community.  Each step of the way, our staff will be there for you.  Together we will build a team of your neighbors who will meet 4 times.  This team selects from 32 step-by-step actions in a workbook designed to improve the water quality and water efficiency of each household.  None of these activities are difficult or new.  the program simply gives you the extra motivation and support to ensure you actually complete them.  Some examples include:
-  Reducing toxic products in your home
- Reducing the use of weed killers and fertilizers on your lawn
- Mulching grass
- Washing your car with the least impact
- Installing a rain barrel and other water saving devices
See the workbook section below for more details descriptions of the activities. 
Be part of the solution and become a Team Leader.  Contact Daria Blom 540-373-3448x115 or for more information or to sign up for the team leader training
What do the team leaders do?
Team leaders work with the staff to gather and motivate the neighborhood team.  You will attend one 4-hour training session and host 4 gatherings with your neighbors.  The staff will be with you every step of the way. 
Teams are forming now.  Team Leader trainings are happening now!  Contact Daria Blom at 540-373-3448 x115 or to sign up.


FOR partners with the University of Mary Washington to do an environmental education internship during the fall and spring semesters.  It's a fun chance for students with junior or senior standing to try teaching!  We visit area 4th grade classes to teach about water quality and conservation, along with other environmental science concepts.  For more information, please contact Cassie Pallai at or 540-373-3448 x 118.

Nature Adventure Packs is a new and growing program started by FOR education staff.  The NAPs are themed children's school backpacks filled with books, field guides, natural objects--such as rock collections and tree samples--as well as tools for exploring nature--like binoculars and bug viewers.  They are available free for check out through library systems.  So far, we have 9 packs in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library:
                  Nature at Night                        Butterfly Bonanza
                  Mammal Mania                        Rocks and Minerals
                  Creepy Crawlies                       Feathers in Flight
                  Reptiles and Amphibians          Woodland Wonders
                  A River Journey
We also are working to expand the program to the upper and lower regions of the Rappahannock watershed.  Check back in the coming months to see if your library has been added!

© 2006 - 2013 by Friends of the Rappahannock   |    |  Privacy Statement  |  Terms of Use