Schools and Groups at Powdermill Nature Reserve

Schools, scouts, and other groups can enhance their visit to Powdermill Nature Reserve with rich, hands-on learning experiences guided by our knowledgeable educators. We welcome the opportunity to create unique programs that complement your school curriculum or scouting adventure, and we are happy to adapt the programs below to the interests of your group.

How to book:

Call 724.593.6105 or email to schedule your group visit.

Please have this information handy when you register:

  • Several potential dates for your visit
  • Arrival and departure times
  • Number of children and adults
  • Activities or guided programs you would like to schedule
  • Requests (lunch tables, accessibility needs, or curriculum focuses)



Basic Field Trip  Timing  Price Per Student 
Activity 1 hour $6
Guided Program 1.5-2 hours $8
Advanced Guided Program 2-3 hours $12


Add-Ons  Timing  Price Per Student 
Activity 1 hour $3
Bird Banding Station Tour 1 hour $5


Book a one-hour activity for $6 per student or a guided program for $8 or $12 per student. Additional activities can be added for $3 or $5 per student.

Pricing is for groups of 10 or more. Smaller groups pay the 10-person minimum. The program timing and content may vary, depending on environmental and seasonal conditions.

Groups are welcome to schedule unguided visits at no cost. Parking for buses is available on a limited basis. Please follow the booking instructions above for unguided visits so that we may schedule your bus parking.


Structure your field trip with additional activities guided by a Powdermill educator ($3 per student). Visit the bird banding station ($5 per student) in the autumn, spring, or summer. Availability is limited.

Hike the mile-long Sugar Camp Trail, and observe the changing landscape as the elevation changes. Compare the plants and animals of the Sugar Camp Trail with the Black Birch Trail, and determine the cause of the differences.

Visit each of Powdermill’s four distinct gardens, and find specific herbs, wildflowers, barrens, and pollinators. Determine the plant adaptations needed for each garden.

Tour Powdermill’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green building. Learn about the materials and methods used to create the sustainable facilities at Powdermill Nature Reserve.

Search for various elements in nature to find your next clue. At each station, learn about habitats, plants, animals, and survival skills.

Bring your notebooks and pencils to four different habitats at Powdermill Nature Reserve. Respond to writing prompts to describe the forest, stream, pond, and vernal pools.

Use a geocaching app on your smart phone to find geocaches along the trails. Coordinates and instructions are provided. Guided geocaching is for ages 10 and up, and Powdermill staff will provide scientific GPS units.

See wild birds up close, and learn about their biology from Powdermill scientists. Learn about avian research projects to prevent bird-glass collisions during migration, bird banding, and high-tech tracking with nanotags. Please note that tours of the bird banding station may be cancelled in rain or hot weather to protect the health of birds.

Guided Programs:

Hike the Black Birch Trail, and learn how animals survive in the forest habitat. Find and collect small forest critters, and present your findings to the group.

Visit the Powdermill forest in spring, summer, autumn, or winter to observe seasonal phenomena, including lifecycles, migration, and hibernation. Explore animal adaptations with hands-on examination of nests, skulls, and fur specimens.

Pennsylvania has a staggering diversity of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Learn skills for easy identification as you hike through the forest and visit Powdermill’s four distinct gardens.

Taste edible herbs from Powdermill’s herb garden, determine the age of trees in the forest, and observe tree damage caused by forest organisms.

Learn about the physical and biological elements of the stream habitat with a visit to Powdermill Run. Use tools to catch and identify aquatic organisms while learning about their lifecycles and adaptations.

Test and compare water samples from Powdermill Run, a frog pond, and tap water. Use the video microscope to observe and identify live macroinvertebrates.

Accessibility: Features For All

Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Powdermill Nature Reserve welcome all visitors. We work to assist visitors with disabilities in obtaining reasonable and appropriate accommodations and in supporting equal access to services, programs, and activities.

To request special disability accommodations for education programs at Powdermill, please contact Lauren Horner at 724.593.6105 or

Guests should contact Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s accessibility coordinator with concerns regarding accessibility for visitors with disabilities at the museums. Call 412.622.6578 during weekday hours, or email