Leo Foster tries his hand at writing with a quill pen and ink during Conococheague Institute’s Life on the Frontier program.

The Institute is collaborating with another organization to present a new educational experience for area homeschoolers, “Exploring Nature and History.”

The program is offered with a choice of two Thursdays, April 29 and May 27, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Conococheague Institute in Mercersburg, Pa.

NOTICE: April 29 is SOLD OUT with a waiting list, but spaces are available for May 27.

View the flier with all the details HERE!

Conococheague Institute (CI) and the The Institute created the new program, combining The Institute’s nature programs for students, and CI’s historical resources and programming.

Students will attend a nature-based session and a history-based session, with programs determined by age.

The Institute’s nature program for grades K to 3 is “Sydney’s Wonder Web.” With spider puppet, Sydney, students learn about the parts of nature, how plants and animals depend on each other and on nonliving elements of nature for food, shelter and hiding places, and about predator-prey relationships.    

For grades 4 to high school, students will attend “Wetlands.” They learn about the three types of wetlands and examine the plants, animals, and soils of these special ecosystems. Students also learn about the benefits of wetlands and why they are valuable to humans ecologically, aesthetically and economically.


Students observe a salamander in the hands of instructor, Christian Swartzbaugh, during The Institute’s Wetlands program.

“We look forward to engaging the homeschool community on the Conococheague Institute’s beautiful campus,” said The Institute’s executive director, Tracy Holliday. “In addition to a historic backdrop featuring frontier history interpretation, the wild meadows, woodland trails and wetland areas offer a perfect outdoor classroom for interpreting the natural world. It’s exciting to forge this new educational partnership that brings together exceptional educators in two disciplines, setting the stage for a day of learning and fun.”

The historical component is “History and Culture of Life on the Frontier,” presented by CI. Students learn about the life of an 18th-century frontier family, including chores, Colonial fashions, how families were organized, and food supply. Students discover important life skills that were part of everyday survival. Activities include a flintlock weapons demonstration and a demonstration of fire-starting with flint and steel, plus hands-on learning with daily Colonial-era chores like drawing water from the well, cleaning, and watering the garden.

“It’s really exciting to have The Institute’s educators here on site for a collaborative program. CI has had ties with them since its inception and greatly admires their work,” said Matthew Wedd, CI executive director. “With CI’s natural resources and The Institute’s long-standing reputation as engaging educators, working together to benefit the community is great for everyone.”

The program fee is $12 per student, per day. Pre-payment is required. To register for this program, email Matt Wedd at: [email protected]