Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center is closed as part of Penn State’s efforts to maintain public health and safety in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. For questions about cancellations, program changes, or virtual delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic, please contact us at For the latest updates and information, visit:

SEED Semester

Your Spring Semester at Shaver’s Creek!

Get outside and off campus for your spring semester! The forests, fields, and creeks of Penn State’s Outdoor Education Field Lab, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center become your classroom for this full-semester experiential journey of outdoor leadership and environmental interpretation courses. The SEED Semester (previously called the Discovery, or “Block” Semester) has been providing transformative engaged scholarship experiences for Penn State students since 1979. Graduates of the program have gone on to work as park naturalists, environmental educators, corporate team building facilitators, high ropes course instructors, classroom teachers, and university faculty. You’ll spend your days with like-minded classmates engaging in real world, hands-on experiences teaching children and families about the natural world. You will work side-by-side with our experienced outdoor educators, team building facilitators, and naturalists to gain a holistic set of outdoor leadership skills.

Information Meeting: learn more about SEED!

We are hosting an informational session on Thursday, November 5th at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom in this room. All are welcome; we hope to see you there! Please send any questions beforehand to Laurie McLaughlin at

The SEED Semester is appropriate for students interested in:

  • Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management (RPTM) major or minor — Park Management & Environmental Interpretation (PMEI) track
  • Elementary or Agricultural Education (AgEd)
  • Environmental Resource Management (ERM) major
  • Community, Environment, Development (CED) major
  • Wildlife and Fisheries science (WFS) major
  • Science Education (SCIED) major
  • environmental and outdoor education
  • outdoor/environmental/adventure careers
  • spending a semester at Shaver’s Creek!

Penn State SEED Students Working Together

The Experience

The SEED experience features engagement and connection activities that weave together the fabric of each course’s content for a truly unique semester. There will be opportunities for self-reflection and both personal and professional growth through journaling and solo time. By connecting with other SEED students and the faculty, you’ll help create a healthy and accepting learning community. A special opportunity for this coming semester, SEED students will connect with several other nationally recognized environmental education-based institutions via the virtual landscape (see below for more details!).

The Classes

The Shaver’s Creek SEED Semester includes includes the following courses, taught as one unit, plus frequent visits to organizations and individuals doing exemplary work in the fields of environmental education, outdoor recreation, and interpretation. SEED is a required component of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management’s Park Management and Environmental Interpretation (PMEI) track, as the classes offered below are essential to its study.

RPTM 326 — Natural History Interpretation

3 credits

Develop methods, techniques, and resources to acquire knowledge of natural history and share it with others. Field identification, projects of an applied nature, and seasonal application.

Prerequisite: RPTM 325

RPTM 425 — Principles of Interpretive Materials

3 credits

Learn principles, practices, and application of nonpersonal interpretive activities common to natural/cultural history, including exhibits, and audiovisual and illustrative materials.

Prerequisite: RPTM 325

RPTM 430 — Environmental Education Methods and Materials

3 credits

Discover methods and materials for developing, implementing, and evaluating environmental education programs in formal and nonformal educational settings.

This course also counts towards the Intercollege Minor in Sustainability Leadership.

Prerequisite: RPTM 325

RPTM 470 — Recreation and Park Management

3 credits

Understand management and administration procedures essential to park facilities and recreation programs.

Prerequisite: RPTM 320

A note on prerequisites: RPTM 320 and RPTM 325 are the prerequisites for the SEED Semester because they provide a strong foundation on which the curriculum is built; however, students who are unable to schedule these courses should contact Patty Kleban at to discuss possible alternatives to prepare for the SEED Semester.


Visit wonderful resources such as nearby Greenwood Furnace State Park and Rothrock State Forest, and remotely drop by the Appalachian Mountain Club, Montshire Museum of Science, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary, and Tin Mountain Conservation Center. More importantly, connect with the people who operate these professionally well-regarded parks, centers, and environmental education programs.

SEED Students Walking in a Snowy Forest