Festival Courses

Many of Shaver’s Creek’s public programs and festivals are designed to offer Penn State students a hands-on, for-credit experience interpreting natural and/or cultural history topics to families. Our two festival courses dovetail with the two major festivals that Shaver’s Creek hosts every year — the Maple Harvest Festival and the Fall Harvest Festival featuring the Children’s Halloween trail — and allow students to apply their course learning directly to a real-world event that reaches literally thousands of adults and children.

Interpreting Festivals to the Public

A Penn State student wears a spider costume in the woods

RPTM 297 — Interpreting Halloween to Children

2 credits Learn to interpret the natural origins of Halloween to visitors attending the annual Shaver’s Creek Fall Harvest Festival featuring the Children’s Halloween Trail — an interactive family event (in late October).

This class will return for the fall 2017 semester.

A Penn State student demonstrates tree identification

RPTM 297 — Interpreting Maple Sugaring to Families

2 credits Learn the process of maple sugaring and how to interpret this natural history process to the general public through an interactive, community-based festival — the Maple Harvest Festival (in late March). This experiential course will explore:

  • how to identify and tap sugar maple trees
  • historical and modern methods of boiling sap into maple syrup
  • interpretive methods for teaching the general public the art of maple sugaring at the Maple Harvest Festival in late March
  • outdoor, experiential, and team teaching techniques


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