The Shaver’s Creek Field Laboratory was founded by Penn State in 1976 as an outdoor classroom for students to get hands-on experience teaching in, and about, the natural world. Since then, “Penn State’s Nature Center” has expanded to offer more than 40 credit courses a year, including our AURORA first-year student orientation programs, environmental interpretation courses, adventure and leadership courses, and our capstone integrated SEED Semester.
Hundreds of students a year from across the University also earn credit with Shaver’s Creek to become camp counselors for a week of Outdoor School, a residential environmental education program for fifth graders, or by becoming costumed presenters at Shaver’s Creek’s Maple Harvest Festival or Children’s Halloween Trail.
- AURORA - The five AURORA Penn State Outdoor Orientation Programs—ORION, POLARIS, RIGEL, URSA, and VEGA—offer first-year students a unique entrance into Penn State life, forging unforgettable adventures and friendships.
- Outdoor School - Outdoor School is a four-day residential program for upper-elementary school students, run by Shaver’s Creek and staffed by Penn State student counselors.
- Credit Courses - Shaver's Creek partners with many academic colleges across Penn State to offer courses in environmental interpretation, outdoor/adventure education, and leadership.
- SEED Semester - The forests, fields, and creeks become your classroom for this full-semester experiential journey of outdoor leadership and environmental interpretation courses.
- Graduate Student Opportunities - The Shaver's Creek Field Laboratory offers a number of Penn State graduate assistant (GA) positions, ranging in focus from adventure education to environmental interpretation.
- Work-Study - Work-Study is a Federal student financial aid program for Penn State undergraduate and graduate students.
Shaver’s Creek’s undergraduate programs are listed with many departments around the University, including:
- Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management
- Ecosystem Science and Management
- Science Education
- Agriculture and Extension Education
While some of our classes meet on campus, many are held at the center.
Shaver’s Creek instructors also teach a number of graduate-level courses in RPTM and as part of the interdisciplinary dual-title intercollege graduate degree program, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment (HDNRE).
Many students get involved in other ways at Shaver’s Creek, too, whether through volunteering to help in the Raptor Aviary or to maintain trails, earning income through a Penn State work-study position, or by joining the Shaver’s Creek Society, our official Penn State student club.