Susquehanna Permaculture presents
Susquehanna Forest School Summer Programs!
Email email@example.com to register.
Three month-long morning nature immersions for kids
ages 3-8 at the Millport Conservancy!
Each session spans 4 weeks, and consists of 12 mornings: Mondays-Wednesdays from 9:30am-12pm.
Session 1: June 8th-Juy 1st
Session 2: July 6th-29th
Session 3: August 3rd-26th
The Millport Conservancy
737 E. Millport Rd. Lititz, PA 17543
Millport Conservancy is a beautiful, privately managed nature preserve in the countryside southeast of Lititz, just a 15 minute drive from Lancaster City. Millions of dollars have spent over the span of several decades to restore the Lititz Run, as it passes through the property, to a pristine state reminiscent of a pre-agricultural era cold-water creek. The conservancy’s waters are uniquely clean clear. The site also features several ponds, many acres of diverse forest ecosystems, and easy-to-walk trails. An indoor space in the old mill house will serve as a sheltered classroom during inclement weather.
We offer a unique, dynamic tuition structure. The cost of these programs ranges from $185 to $365 per monthly
session based upon the number of kids signed up for the program. The more registrants, the cheaper the tuition. We do not offer discounts or prorated prices for days missed by a child registered in our programs.
Minimum program size: 15 children
Maximum program size: 30 children
Of course we work hard to promote our programs, but it’s also up to the families of our students to recruit others to sign up so that everyone’s tuition can be lower. This also
encourages our cooperating families to make connections with other participants before the class begins, which builds the kind of supportive community that embodies is essential to our curriculum.
Registration Deposits: We have a set budget for this program, and if we do not meet the budget we cannot offer it. When you register, you are expected to be able to pay the maximum tuition rate. We’ll keep you updated on the registration status via the Facebook page for the class & email updates, so you’ll know when the tuition drops, and we can all celebrate!
To register, you must make a $185 deposit. Any remaining tuition is due on the first day of the month-long session. Your child will not be considered officially registered until a deposit is paid. This deposit will be refunded if we do not meet our budgetary requirements and have to
cancel the program. We will not refund deposits otherwise, except in serious emergencies.
Tuition rates per monthly session!
Number of/Kids Tuition
About Susquehanna Forest School:
The Forest School is Susquehanna Permaculture’s offering for children and youth. Our long-term goal is to offer pre-school through 12th grade, as well as summer programs for kids of all ages. Though currently we partner with local land-holding organizations, we intend to have our own home site within the next few years. Our mission is to create a safe space for children to develop a personal relationship with the natural world. Nature is the perfect backdrop, and basis, for every lesson. By blending traditional education elements with ecology-based
curriculum, our goal is to provide a dynamic, exciting, hands-on approach to learning. More “unschool” than school, we challenge our students to explore, create, play, and best of all, we set the stage for children to learn how to learn. At the Forest School we immerse children
in wild nature, and utilize this immersion as the foundation for all other essential learning including reading, history, and math. And while we recognize the importance of these subjects, we also recognize that other
essential skills have fallen out of mainstream education, and we seek to provide these skills to our youth, for the hope of a better future. Such skills include community-building, the cultivation of food, land stewardship, the arts, and culture-crafting. In the summer of 2015 we are
launching our first programs, summer camps for children ages 3-8. We are also working to launch a pre-school & kindergarten in autumn of 2015, and our hope is to open a full elementary program by autumn of 2016, followed by grades 8-12 by autumn of 2017.
About the Program: Summer is the perfect time to get kids excited about the natural world! With wildlife all around, dirt to dig in, wild lands to explore, and cool streams to romp in, it’s impossible not to have fun! Within our natural
classroom we will play, explore, create, build, discover and learn about the wild wonderful world around us. Using observation, games, music, art, and movement your child will learn to recognize the plants and animals in our area, will gain confidence exploring what lies behind each bush and under every log, and will enjoy spending time with friends and playing under the warm summer sun.
We will always maintain at least a 5:1 ratio of kids to adults to safely monitor children around potentially dangerous
landscapes, tools, insects, and plants (see “Cooperative Structure” below). And every adult who participates in our
program will have criminal background checks and child abuse clearances through the State of Pennsylvania (see
“Background Checks” below). We also have staff members who have been trained to administer CPR.
All children ages 3-8 are welcome in our program.
Potty training is preferred.
As participants in our program, your kids will have guided access to:
-The woods, fields, creeks, ponds, and trails of the Millport Conservancy.
-An organic garden being built and maintained just for kids!
-Indoor class-room space in case of dangerous weather.
-Clean bathroom facilities.
-A skilled and compassionate teaching staff!
Topics to be covered during each 12-morning
-Plant, animal, & mushroom species
-Wilderness awareness skills
-Essential wilderness survival skills
Natasha Herr Alvarez is co-administrator of the Susquehanna Forest School as well as a daily instructor. Tasha is a wife,mother, auntie, writer, activist, teacher, gardener, herbalist, and permaculturist. She is a certified
naturalist through The Wilderness Awareness School, Kamana program. She studied herbalism
under Sarah Preston, community herbalist and Reiki Master, and trained in women’s health and
the fertility awareness method with Katie Singer, author of Garden of Fertility and The Wholeness of a Broken Heart. Natasha is certified in Reiki I and II, and has earned additional Reiki certification through Cori Neilson, founder of Sacred Childbirth with Reiki. Natasha’s project, The
Year of Black Clothing, was a year-long exploration of grief and rebellion chronicled in a blog that
inspired her novel, Liminal, published in 2014 by Black & Green Press.
Benjamin Weiss is co-administrator of the Susquehanna Forest School, and coordinator for Susquehanna Permaculture as well as a daily instructor. Ben is a father, a certified permaculture designer and teacher,
activist, gardener, brewer, musician, and poet from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ben studied natural
building and permaculture at The Farm Ecovillage Training Center, received a permaculture
teacher certification from CRMPI, studied urban agriculture at Growing Power, and has studied
herbalism with Sarah Preston ofRadiance in Lancaster and shamanic dreaming techniques with Adhi Moonien Two-Owls. He was the farm manager for two years at Dig It! urban farm in Lancaster where he oversaw youth crews for two summers. Ben also lead after-school workshops
on gardening and foraging in Lancaster City Schools for several years.
Michelle Johnsen is an instructor for the Susquehanna Forest School. She is a photographer, forager, aspiring herbalist, activist, and professional childcare provider of 15 years who has worked with children from 6
weeks old to 16 years old in early learning centers, after-school programs, summer camps, and as
a private nanny. She received a Child Development associates degree from Lancaster’s Penn State
Annex. She has studied plant identification, survival skills, foraging, and herbalism for three years
through Susquehanna Permaculture’s Rewilding School and the Lancaster Farmacy. Michelle loves
to introduce children to the incredible wonders of the natural world.
Shauna Yorty is passionate about learning and nature and wants to share these passions with children. Growing up in a home preschool setting, Shauna has been immersed in caring for children since she was a kid
herself. She has worked in daycares, an alternative school, and a summer camp, while raising
her daughter. Shauna holds a PA State Private School Certification in Art K-12 and currently teaches private and group art lessons. She serves as an adjunct staff member at The Circle School, an alternative democratic school that her daughter has attended for many years. In
order to deepen her connection with nature, Shauna completed her Permaculture Design Course and Advanced Rewilding PDC through Susquehanna Permaculture. She also interns at the Lancaster Farmacy and serves with joy at ARE Camp, a nature immersion summer camp in the Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia. We will have an array of other skilled regular teachers and guest instructors!
The Cooperative Structure:
Inspired by the Lancaster Cooperative Preschool at the Unitarian universalist Church in Lancaster City, where Ben’s daughter Soul attended preschool for three years, we utilize a rotating schedule of volunteer teacher’s aides drawn from the families of the kids in our program. If your child is registered, your family will be asked to sign up to volunteer for one morning out of the twelve-morning session. To opt out of this aspect of our program, you will be asked to pay a $65 fee. Any adult family member who attends our program as a teacher’s aide MUST HAVE COMPLETED CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS AND CHILD ABUSE CLEARANCES through the State of Pennsylvnia (see “Background Checks”
Volunteer teacher’s aides will be expected to:
-Have criminal background checks and child abuse clearances
-Arrive 15 minutes early (9:15am) and remain 15minutes late (12:15pm)
-Assist with the general flow of activities during the morning program hours
-Follow the instructions and suggestions of Susquehanna Forest School’s staff
-Direct any disciplinary or emergency situations to the Forest School’s staff
-Maintain a kind and compassionate attitude toward all of the children, families and staff who participate in the
-Find a suitable replacement or switch dates with another parent if your scheduled date does not work for you
Lunch is not a part of our summer program which is why we end at noon. We will, however, set aside a time every
morning for our kids to have a snack. We ask you to provide your children with a small snack each morning (though we’ll always have some backups on hand in case you forget). We also ask that you send a reusable water bottle with your child each day.
If your child has a food allergy or an allergy to bee venom, we need to know! Please tell us this when you register your child. We will always have an epi-pen on hand in our first aid kit.
Drop-off & Pick-up:
Our staff will be on hand 15 minutes prior to and after every morning. Please try to arrive with your child at least 5 minutes early. If you arrive late, please disrupt activities as little as possible, and be sure to notify a staff member that your child has arrived. If you arrive early for pick-up, please wait in the parking area until noon when we wrap up for the day. We will not send a child home with someone who is not a parent/guardian unless we have been notified of this arrangement by a parent/guardian! If for some reason you will be more than 15 minutes late at the end of a morning session, please call one of our staff members (phone numbers will be provided to registrants) and explain the situation.
General Preparedness for Your Child:
Please send your child to our program every morning with the following:
-A reusable water bottle
-A change of clothing
-Swim-wear (we recommend that your children wear this to Millport under their clothes)
-Water appropriate foot wear (sandals, flip flops, water shoes, etc)
-Sun screen lotion (we will constantly monitor the amount of sun children are exposed to, and we’re glad to help them put on sunscreen if you ask us to)
We will host an optional orientation meeting at Millport Conservancy prior to each of the three summer sessions. We do highly recommend your attendance if you have a child registered in our program. At the orientation meeting we will introduce the grounds of the Conservancy, go over general preparedness, process payments, assist with background checks, answer general questions, and explain the cooperative teacher’s aide structure.
The dates for these meetings are:
-June 3rd for the 1st session
-July 1st for the 2nd session
-July 29th for the third session
Each will be held from 7-8:30pm. If your child has already attended a previous 4-week session, please do not attend
another orientation meeting.
If you plan to serve as a volunteer teacher’s aide you must complete the Pennsylvnia child abuse and criminal
background check clearances and provide us with the final certificates prior to your scheduled morning, or we will charge you a $65 fee. Furthermore, if you have lived outside of Pennsylvnia during the last 10 years, you must also complete an FBI criminal background check. If you have been a Pennsylvania resident for the past 10 years, please provide us a printed, signed note declaring this. The clearances can be completed online and require small fees which are not included in the tuition for our programs. We highly recommend that you complete these applications no less than 2 weeks before your scheduled morning to volunteer.
You can obtain child abuse clearance here: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
You can complete the criminal background check here: https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp
You can complete the FBI background check here:
1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Let us know which of the 3 summer programs you are registering for.
3. Give us your name, address, phone number, and the name of your child.
4. Let us know if your child has any dangerous allergies.
5. Let us know if you are willing to make a donation to our scholarship fund. You can do
this by committing to pay one of the higher of our 4 tuition rates regardless of the drop
in price as more kids are registered.
6. Send a $185 deposit as check or money order payable to Susquehanna Permaculture to:
725 Third St.
Lancaster PA 17603
Attn: Forest School
Scholarship Request Process:
If you would like to attend a class being offered by Susquehanna Permaculture, but cannot afford the tuition fee, there are a number of options available to you.
Firstly, email email@example.com and let us know that you want to take the class, but cannot afford it. We maintain a scholarship fund for many of our classes, but we will not offer you a scholarship until you’ve done some fundraising of your own. Here’s how you can do so:
-Find a sponsor. Ask your employer, a family member, or someone in your community who supports you. Try making a request on a permaculture listserve or Facebook group. If you don’t know how to find one of these, let us know and we’ll direct you to one.
Suggest some kind of return on the investment for the sponsor, such as a work-trade, barter, or a “teach-back” presentation on what you learn in the class.
-Secondly, try crowd-funding platforms such as Indie Go-Go or Kickstarter.
-Thirdly, show us that you’ve tried to raise some money yourself. Send us links to your crowd-funding campaign, or a pledge letter from a sponsor. We are happy to “match”
your effort. For example, if you can raise 50% of the tuition, then we feel good about giving you a scholarship for the other 50% and may be able to do so.
-Lastly, we are willing to entertain offers for barters or work-trades, though, honestly, we rarely accept them. So make us an offer we can’t refuse!