Environmental Education “Block” Semester Info Session


Spring 2012 Discovery “Block” Semester Information Session:

Thursday, September 22nd, 4:15–5:00 p.m., 815 Ford Building

At Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, we believe that an integrated, experiential-based semester can facilitate powerful paths to self-discovery. Come to Ford Building Thursday afternoon to learn more about whether this 19-credit “block” of courses might be right for you.

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center offers Penn State students an outstanding opportunity to immerse themselves in the outdoors and the field of environmental education and interpretation. The courses are integrated in a way that allows students to go into the field and visit other outdoor locations and centers without disrupting their other courses. The students work side-by-side with Shaver’s Creek’s experienced outdoor educators and naturalists to gain a holistic view and set of skills in the environmental field.

Included in the semester is the Discovery Trip to New England—a ten-day adventure in the snow-covered Green Mountains and the beaches of Cape Cod. The Discovery Trip is just one course in the Shaver’s Creek Discovery Block Semester.

Please note that while the courses are mostly RPTM-listed, students from other disciplines are encouraged to enroll. Students in ERM and AEE may be able to count these courses towards the core-requirements of your degree as well. In the past, Block has also welcomed students from Integrative Arts, Biology, Science Education, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and other programs!

The Discovery Semester includes the following seven courses, taught as a collaborative unit on Tuesday/Thursday and selected days throughout the semester, primarily on-site at Shaver’s Creek:

RPTM 230 Teambuilding Facilitation (3 credits) Learn teambuilding and facilitation skills to increase your understanding of leadership qualities and group dynamics.


RPTM/SCIED 297A or E Outdoor School Counselor/Instructor (2 credits) Outdoor School is an environmental education experience for teachers, counselors, and fifth-grade children. This course will train students in leading and supervising the campers.


RPTM 297G Interpreting Maple Sugaring to Families (2 credits) Learn the process of maple sugaring and how to interpret this process to the general public through an interactive, community-based festival—the Maple Harvest Festival (in March).

RPTM 326 Natural History Interpretation (3 credits) Discover the methods and resources to acquire knowledge of PA natural history and how to teach this content to non-formal audiences.  Includes field identification of birds, trees, wildflowers and general Eastern Forest ecology.


RPTM 425 Principles of Interpretive Materials (3 credits) Learn to apply principles and practices of non-personal interpretive activities common to natural/cultural history sites, including exhibits, audiovisual and illustrative materials.

RPTM 430 Environmental Education Methods and Materials (3 credits) Highlights methods and materials for developing, implementing, and evaluating environmental education programs in formal and non-formal educational settings.


RPTM 497K Discovery Trip (3 credits) Take a ten-day experiential journey through New England to visit and explore exemplary outdoor education centers, natural history museums, adventure education centers, and national parks.


“A great opportunity to get hands-on field experience, have fun, travel, and make friends.”   —Christine Murawski, RPTM ‘08

Contact Doug Wentzel (djw105@psu.edu) for more information and to enroll in the semester. You can also visit http://www.ShaversCreek.org to learn more about Shaver’s Creek and the programs and Penn State courses we offer.

One thought on “Environmental Education “Block” Semester Info Session

  1. This experience will change your life. It is the single best decision I made in my entire education. Possibly the best decision I have made in my entire career. This is an opportunity to make your education your own hands. Don’t miss out

Comments are closed.