Help Build the Future

of Environmental Education

Your help is needed for an improved facility to support our mission...

Shaver’s Creek serves as an extended classroom to more than 2,300 Penn State students for credit and noncredit opportunities. We envision coordination with even more colleges and departments to maximize the unique resources of our entire facility. unlock the potential of this unique space...

Building improvements and additions — including 3,200 square feet of new classroom space — will act as a conduit to connect people to the outdoors, build community relationships, and enhance education opportunities for all.

...for the future keepers of the Earth.

Ultimately, this gift will be for future generations — the children and students who will become our community’s educators, stewards, and change agents for the greater good of humanity on this planet we all share.

A new facility for the future keepers of the Earth

Connecting people to people and people to nature

Since 1976, Shaver’s Creek has been educating Penn State students, schoolchildren, and community members by modeling respect for each other and the natural world. Our mission is to provide individuals and communities with the knowledge, values, skills, and experiences to interact in harmony with one another and the systems that support all life.

Shaver’s Creek’s goal is to lead by example and serve as a community role model in how to live sustainably and in balance. Building relationships and providing quality educational opportunities for all is key to our work as an environmental center. We are ready to shepherd this good work into a new phase of growth.

Teaching in the woods

2015 by the Numbers

Noncredit Program Attendees
0K +
Drop-in Visitors
Full-time Staff
Members of Shaver's Creek
Schoolchildren On-site
Credit Enrollments
Incoming Students (AURORA)
Team Development Programs
Graduate Assistantships
forestry lodge image

We've outgrown our 1930s forestry lodge

Our model of engagement with Penn State students and the community has proven successful for more than 39 years, with an upward trajectory of solid programming and facility use over the last decade that we expect to continue into the future. The capacity of our facility, however, is overwhelmed by this success.

When our current building was constructed 75 years ago, it was designed as a three-season structure for group functions and warm-weather instruction. Our year-round and seasonal Shaver’s Creek staff numbers have grown to more than 30, and many are housed in temporary outbuildings. These accommodations are now crowded and inadequate, with current instructors teaching a maximum load of more than 35 classes for six colleges and nine departments. There is no physical space to add new staff and meet the demand of our partner colleges, to continue to grow our credit offerings.

How our donors have helped

A resource for engaging students and the community

Shaver's Creek provides a bridge between Penn State students and Pennsylvania schools, organizations, and families — working to find synergy and interrelationships that connect community outreach efforts with undergraduate and graduate teaching and research. Each year we reach more than 70,000 Pennsylvanians through school, teambuilding, and traveling naturalist programs throughout the Commonwealth.

School Programs and Summer Camps

Kelly at summer camp

Students, interns, and volunteers connect with 5,000+ schoolchildren and 500+ summer campers.

Traveling Naturalist Programs

Woman holding hawkOur programs reach more than 7,000 children at schools around the Commonwealth and another 50,000 people at events like the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Outdoor School

Brianna helps child with compass

As many as 220 Penn State students from more than 40 majors teach environmental education to 700 fifth graders in a camp-like setting.

Festivals and Public Workshops

Two women with ukulele for Fall Fest.

More than 80 Penn State students are the creative engine for 3,000+ paying attendees to our annual festivals.

AURORA Outdoor Orientation Programs

Man going campingUpper class students and recent graduates of Penn State become leaders for incoming first-year students and transfer students to Penn State in AURORA. These four-day backpacking or service project adventures offer students 2 credits and the opportunity for great new friendships before starting their fall classes. About 250 students will start their life at Penn State with AURORA, and we hire about 30 leaders each year.

Extending the University's classrooms

Shaver's Creek once served as outreach solely for the College of Health and Human Development. Since joining Penn State Outreach in 1996 we've become more nimble and better positioned to serve all the colleges, their faculty, and students.

Agricultural Sciences

Ag and Extension Education, Ecosystem Science

Health and Human Development

Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Kinesiology


Science Education

The Liberal Arts



Engineering, Design, Technology


Office of Internships and Career Placement


We want to work with even more colleges to reach more students and engage them in new experiences.

Credit enrollments are on the rise

Our model of engagement with Penn State students and the community is one that has proven successful for over 39 years, with an upward trajectory over the last 15 years that looks to continue into the future.

The capacity of Shaver’s Creek staff and facility-wise, is becoming overwhelmed by continued growth. We are being asked by more departments and colleges to help them engage students in a way that will transform their lives.

Our staff teaches in two indoor classrooms that each hold around 25 people. We struggle to meet the demands of the colleges with these dated classrooms with inadequate insulation and little-to-no storage space. We need more classroom space for instructors to ply their craft, adequate space to maintain the existing high quality of animal care, and more office space for our staff — leaders and experts in our field.

Help Build the Future

of Environmental Education

You can help us realize this vision

We are in the architectural planning phase of enhancing and adding to our 1930s structure. Penn State Outreach and Online Education is providing funds for much of this project, but we need your help to complete it. We are reaching out to friends and supporters of Shaver’s Creek to raise the remainder of funds needed to make the most of this wonderful opportunity to expand.

Among the key core values for this venture, Shaver’s Creek will strive to be a model of fiscal responsibility and sustainability. We will choose sustainable features that have a tangible effect on the environment, and they will be ingrained in the design without costly burden.

Because the culture of our staff and volunteers is so important to the delivery of our programs, the facility should maintain, enhance, and continue to foster that culture. The building addition, renovation, and new classroom space should strengthen the core tenets of outreach, education, research, and an experiential approach that are hallmarks of the Center.

New Features and Details

  • 3,200 square feet of new, technology-enhanced classroom
  • Expanded and redesigned interior exhibit room space
  • Improved visitor entrance, bookstore, and convenient restrooms
  • Additional space for our education staff and resident animals
  • Improved parking areas and footpaths
  • New and more sustainable mechanical, electrical, and HVAC systems for the entire site
  • Integration of solar arrays
  • Retain the aesthetics of the 1930s lodge with stone and wood exterior
  • Locally sourced building materials
Naming April 2017

During our 40 years of reaching the community, your grassroots support has been incredibly important to Shaver’s Creek. A donation at any level will make a significant difference in the success of this project.

For more information on naming opportunities, contact Rob Butler at 814-865-8283.

Creating a space to encourage future leaders

Shaver's Creek works closely with Penn State students and offers internship opportunities. Read more about their experiences.

"I was actually studying graphic design and photography at Penn State when I learned about [AURORA] and being a counselor for Outdoor School. I realized my senior year that I didn't want to have a desk job or live in a city, so I interned at Shaver's Creek to get the foundation in environmental education I needed to pursue this career. I am local so I had gone to Shaver's Creek as a kid and loved the Center for many years before actually working there. Since interning, I have worked at five other outdoor organizations ... I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for Shaver's Creek."
Kaitlin Pope
Former Summer Camper and Intern
"My internship provided me with hands-on experience in outdoor education and a constant reminder of how influential one person can be in inspiring others to care for the outside world. Since my internship, I have worked with outdoor education facilities in New Jersey, California, and New Brunswick, Canada. I have also spent time working with dolphins and sea lions for the Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, CA. As different as each of these experiences has been, they have also shared one commonality: the belief that the natural world is worth preserving and that it is ultimately up to us to do so. This is a belief that was reinforced to me at Shaver’s Creek and one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life."
Ryan Elliott
Former Shaver's Creek Intern

Who is this for?

Ultimately, your gift will benefit the future keepers of our Earth who we serve while they are still schoolchildren, the future change agents – who are Penn State students – who are for leading the first time in their young professional lives, and the future sustainability of the planet we all share.

Kids Laughing

Help make our vision a reality

This project will help Shaver’s Creek fully achieve our “role model” status among environmental centers, by elevating our facilities and programs so that the brand and visitor experience are consistent, tangible, and thoughtful expressions of our mission.

Shaver’s Creek

Since 1976, Shaver’s Creek has been educating Penn State students, schoolchildren, and community with members by modeling respect for each other and the natural world. Our mission is to provide individuals and communities with the knowledge, values, skills, and experiences to interact in harmony with one another and the systems that support all life. Our core principles have remained dedicated to educating for sustainability and the environment.