Summer Group Camps at Harriman State Park
Summer welcomes youth from urban New York and New Jersey to the Groups Camps in Harriman State Park. The 40 Group Camps provide children recreation, education, and connection to the natural landscape.
Harriman Nature Museums’ mission is two-fold:
- To serve Group Camps with hands-on nature education to enhance awareness, appreciation, and engagement.
- To provide Professional Development and training for aspiring environmental educators and scientists.
Budding environmental educators and scientists staff the four Harriman Nature Museums. Nature Museum Educators are trained, mentored, and supervised by the Coordinator of the Harriman Nature Museums. They work in pairs as co-directors of one of the museums.
They learn to create museum exhibits, including live fish, reptiles, and amphibians. They receive training in outdoor education and program development and presentation.
They learn to cultivate skills in welcoming urban children into the natural world and nurture them through hands-on, active learning and dialogue to build children’s awareness and engagement in understanding and stewarding the environment.
Early in each year, we post the job announcement and seek applicants.
The Harriman Nature Museums were founded in 1920. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the American Museum of Natural History partnered to originate and develop outdoor education as a new and much needed pedagogy for urban children particularly of low-resource families.
The original nature museum was located on the shores of Lake Kanawauke and served nearby the Boy Scout Camp. In subsequent years, additional Nature Museums were built and staffed. The small Nature Museums are built of native stone like other structures throughout Harriman and Bear Mountain State Park. With large windows and doors opened wide each day, the Nature Museums are embedded in the woodland landscape.
Each Nature Museum has a small rustic cabin to house the nature educators during their summer tenure.
Nature Museums Endowment
Trailside seeks protect and sustain the Nature Museums with a dedicated endowment to support staffing now and for the century ahead.
The endowment will ensure that the Nature Museums are able to deliver on their mission of educating children of each generation for the stewardship of the environment and training and developing outdoor nature educators.