Something special for youth

The Institute offers several special programs for children and families, separate from our school programs or summer offerings. Our goal is to keep kids engaged through many different avenues. Check out these possibilities for your next involvement!

In the warm summer months, Summer Institute offers educational and fun activities for kids, too!


Grades 6–12

“Water striders” are insects that skim the surface of pond and stream waters for food. Their feet hold a delicate balance on the water using surface tension to stay afloat. WaterStriders are also middle school-aged students in the local area who are fascinated by life in the waters of our local streams and who want to help take care of the Antietam Creek Watershed. Most of them also have a desire to explore the greater watershed all the way to the Chesapeake Bay!

The Institute’s after-school program WaterStriders offers youth the opportunity to “wade into” creek study and have fun too. Under the supervision of the institute’s teaching staff, Striders meet once a month to conduct water quality monitoring tests as part of the Antietam Watershed Association’s stream monitoring program. Striders also check out macroinvertebrates (water critters), participate in other watershed activities, take field trips and enjoy the company of their fellow Striders.

This group holds extra sessions to prepare a display table for The Institute’s Earth Celebration Day in April. Striders engage the public as they explain their exhibit and help people become “watershed aware for watershed care.”

Group size is limited. Contact the Institute for availability of openings.

A big thanks to our WaterStriders sponsors, John & Erin Hershey III, and Jay & Pat Heefner.

EXPLORE! (90 minutes)

All ages

This program, with either a cultural history or environmental theme, is available for groups (scouts, youth, camp, daycare, etc.) and families that arrange for special dates.
Suitable for birthday parties, group outings or family reunions.
Our instructor will lead enjoyable activities that are educational and fun, while participants become immersed in the worlds of nature or history, sometimes a bit of both.

The minimum number of participants for this program is 15. The base fee is $90 for 15 participants.
If you have fewer than 15, we can conduct the program, but the base fee is the same, $90.
Cost for participants in excess of 15 is $6 each, with a maximum group size of 30.

For more detailed information and a complete description of group programs and fees, contact The Institute by phone at (717) 762-0373 or by email at

Note: Public Explore! programs are offered seasonally throughout the year…email or call us to find out about those!

WaterStriders rinse sampling bottles in the creek.