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Susquehanna River Field Days

Since the mid-1990's when Shank's Mare first began offering our Susquehannna River Field Days, we have introduced over 20,000 students to the environment and culture of this valuable natural resource right in our own backyard.  What better way to educate future stewards than to give them a hands-on day of learning and adventure.  Thanks to the dedicated teachers throughout our area who have given their students this opportunity.  Shank's Mare is happy to work with any educational institution, non-profit, or camp program to offer this unique outing.  Let us hear from you!

Program Goal

To give an overview of habitat, ecology, and history of the Susquehanna River. To create an appreciation and awareness of the natural beauty of the lower Susquehanna River Valley for area students.

Shank’s Mare’s field trip programs are suitable for middle, high school and home school earth science, history, and physical education curriculum.

Program Format

Depending on number of participants, students are divided into groups which rotate to the various Learning Stations. Teachers may work with Shank’s Mare Staff to develop topics specific to their curriculum , student age, and class status. Our program runs from 8:30 am until 1:30-2:00 pm. Much of this depends on the school and when they arrive and depart due to bus scheduling. Participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear for activities and weather conditions. Students may get wet at some point so plan accordingly. Bring a packed lunch. Picnic facilities are on-site.

Learning Stations

River Discovery

Students embark on a guided paddle tour of Lake Clarke on the Susquehanna River. After paddling orientation and short discussion on Susquehanna River facts and its unique relationship to the Chesapeake Bay, students will launch kayaks and paddle the waterway searching for wildlife including Bald Eagles, Osprey, Great Blue Heron and more. Students will have the opportunity to get an up-close view of this waterway and note the importance of the Susquehanna to our environment and that of the Chesapeake Bay.

Streamside Discovery

Streams play an ecological role to humans, mammals, amphibians and insects alike. Students will explore Fishing Creek and become acquainted with the macroinvertebrates that live in and around the area through hands-on interaction. By discovering the aquatic life and the mammals and amphibians that visit the stream, students can determine the health of the waterway and the important relationship the streams have to the rivers into which they flow. Time permitting, we’ll also run some chemical tests to qualify what we have found regarding the health of the stream.


Immediately following the lunch break, and as an option, students may gather together for a short presentation on the history of the Susquehanna River and its importance in the daily lives of those who inhabited its banks. From the Native Americans to the early European settlers and their border disputes, to the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, the river has played a significant role in the settling of our area.

Support Materials

We encourage discussion before and after the field day to support the student’s learning experience. There are a multitude of teaching opportunities with Shank’s Mare field trips. Students explore Fishing Creek during the Streamside Discovery station studying invertebrates and water quality. Students get hands on experience paddling the Susquehanna River. Students learn Susquehanna River history during “Rivertales” .


We take great pride in our programs and strive to make the day both enjoyable as well as safe for everyone involved. The students are required to wear a PFD (personal flotation device) at all times. Guides are experienced paddlers, and are certified in both First Aid and CPR. Students are supervised at all times. Attention to instruction and response to the guides leading the trip is respectfully enforced.

Program Fees

24 or more Students – $18/Head

23 or less Students – Flat Fee $425

Up to 2 Teachers/Chaperons are no charge.

Over 2 Teacher/Chaperons – $18/Head