COVID-19 Updates


As we navigate the fluid situation caused by COVID-19, the County continues to keep the health and welfare of our community as our top objective. As a result, some County services may be paused or curtailed.

County facilities may close or experience reduced service hours and accessibility, all in the interest of protecting the community. The following services will be curtailed or closed, as noted, until at least April 30, at which time the County will reassess operations in light of the COVID-19 response and determine any additional changes needed.

We will continue to update the information below as conditions warrant.

  • All park public programs and events, including shelter reservations and overnight stays, are canceled.

  • Park offices, bathrooms and centers are closed.

  • Park and preserve grounds remain open.



Harris Lake offers a variety of environmental education programs for public and private schools, scouts, the general public, birthday parties and other organized groups. Programs are available at the park or off-site (outreach). All programs are specific to the Piedmont region of North Carolina.

As of Jan. 1, 2019, group and outreach programs are free. All programs are one hour in length unless otherwise noted. Group size per staff member will be limited to 15–30, depending on the program requested and age of the participants. Programs for pre-K groups are available to groups of 15 or less.

The NC DPI curriculum correlations for K–5 for all of our group programs may be found here:

Group Programs Curriculum Correlations.pdfGroup Programs Curriculum Correlations

Please allow at least three weeks in advance (one month is recommended) to schedule a program for your group. Begin the group program reservation process by choosing a topic from our Group Program List below. Please call 919-387-4344 or email to request a program date or for more information about one of our program offerings. If you have questions about a program topic that is not listed, please ask our staff – we will do our best to accommodate your group. 


We would love your feedback!
Did you attend one of our group programs? Let us know how we did!
Complete our brief group program evaluation online.
The following list of programs is designed to accommodate a variety of age groups and curriculum. All programs are 1 hour in length, with the exception of “Longleaf Legacy,”
which is 1.5 hours.


Aquatic Adventures: 
Learn about an aquatic food chain, the lifecycle of a frog, and some special adaptations aquatic insects have in order to survive in an aquatic environment. We’ll go dip-netting in our pond to investigate further the animals that call this watery world their home.

Bird Buddies:
Learn what makes a bird different from other animals. Through a fun bird call matchup activity, we’ll identify some of our common birds by the sounds they make. Participants will learn about bird habitats and adaptations as we take a hike in search of our feathered friends.

Busy Beavers:
(K–5th grade)
Students will be introduced to the life history of the beaver, plus how beavers alter the landscape to provide important habitat for other wildlife. A volunteer will dress up like a beaver to demonstrate how beavers are perfectly adapted to life in an aquatic environment! We’ll take a hike to look for signs of beaver activity here in the park.

Composting & Recycling:
(3rd–6th grade)
Adding your share to the landfill? There are many benefits to composting and recycling! Discover better ways to dispose of “trash.” Participants will take a closer, hands-on look at some of nature’s little decomposers (earthworms) as they learn what vermicomposting is.

Evening Exploration:
A whole new world opens up as the sun goes down. Join a nature instructor for a night hike in the woods to look and listen for the nocturnal animals that inhabit the park. We’ll explore the special adaptations that help these animals survive and flourish in a world of darkness.

Insect Investigations:
(K–5th grade)
Participants will learn why insects play such an important role in our environment. Through an insect dress-up activity, students will learn about insect anatomy. Insect movements and identification of insects using sweep nets will also be included in this hands-on program.

Longleaf Legacy: (This program is 1.5 hours in length)
(4th–8th grades)
Students will learn about the historical and ecological significance of the Longleaf Pine in our state. We’ll discuss the Longleaf’s original range, growth stages, reasons behind its loss, animals that depend on the Longleaf Pine, as well as the Longleaf’s dependence on fire for its survival and efforts toward restoring this majestic tree at Harris Lake County Park.

Reptile Roundup:
Learn about some common reptile inhabitants of the Piedmont, why reptiles are an important part of the environment, plus some unique characteristics our reptile friends have. Participants will get a chance to meet some live reptiles.

Soil Scientists:
(3rd–5th grade)
Through engaging, hands-on demonstrations and activities, students will learn why soil is important, how it is formed, and why different soil particle sizes absorb water at different rates. Students will also explore soil textures and become scientists as they collect their own soil samples for further investigation!

Tree-mendous Trees:
Participants will learn the different parts of a tree and their functions by participating in a “build a tree” activity. Students will also learn why trees are so important to our environment (and us). We’ll take a hike to identify some common trees found in the Piedmont.

What about Watersheds:
(3rd–6th grade)
Learn what a watershed is and how it plays an important role in water quality. Students will be able to predict and follow the flow of water as it travels through a watershed and empties into a lake or other water source. At Harris Lake, students will determine the flow of water on its watershed by discovering the pattern, shape or other forms of direction that divert or allow the free flow of water into its lake. Activities will show the different land uses on a watershed that affect what goes into a lake and ultimately the lake’s water quality. Erosion factors and river basins will also play a part in this program.

Wilderness Survival:
(4th grade +)
Would you know what to do if you were stranded or lost in the woods? Learn how to find your way out of the woods and what to do in a survival situation. We’ll practice building debris shelters and learn how to make fire. 

Birthday Parties:
Does your child love science and nature? Many of our nature programs can be adapted for birthday parties. Please call 919-387-4344 to find a program that’s just right for your child’s birthday celebration. Limited to ages 5 and up.