Harris Lake Virtual Group Programs

graphic promoting Virtual Field trips in Wake County Parks

Until we can gather again, Harris Lake County Park is excited to offer engaging virtual field trip programs for groups. Get an interactive, educational experience from the safety and comfort of your own home or organization.

School classes, scouts, clubs, homeschool groups, retirement communities and other organizations can sign up for an educational program to enjoy online.

Harris Lake's educational programming offers opportunities for students to learn about Wake County's unique natural and cultural history. Let us bring the natural world into your virtual classroom!

Planning Your Virtual Visit

Our virtual field trips combine video and live sessions led by Harris Lake County Park educators. Each program lasts about 30 minutes and encourages students to think critically about the natural environment.

There is no fee for virtual field trips. We recommend scheduling one program session per class, and we can offer multiple dates, times and program sessions to best fit your needs. 

Our virtual programs use Zoom or Google Meet. Students will need internet access and either a computer, tablet or smartphone to join the presentation.

Each program includes an activity packet offered in either PDF or Google Classroom-ready format, to digitally extend the program content.

Please complete a Virtual Group Program Request Form and email it to [email protected] to begin scheduling your virtual field trip. 

Amphibians as Bioindicators

Photo of a Green Frog at Harris Lake County Park

Due to their life cycle and other characteristics, amphibians can tell us a lot about what is happening in our local environment. We will focus on North Carolina native species as we discuss amphibian adaptations, life cycles, and their role and importance in the ecosystem. Students will also get to meet our live educational amphibian ambassadors! 

This program aligns with the following North Carolina Science Standards: 

2.L.1.1 Summarize the life cycle of animals: • Birth • Developing into an adult • Reproducing • Aging and death 

2.L.2.1 Identify ways in which many plants and animals closely resemble their parents in observed appearance and ways they are different.  

5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).   

5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem.  

Busy Beavers: Adaptations for Survival

Photo of a beaver chewing on a stick at Harris Lake County Park
Photo by Robert Oberfelder

Through video, live session and accompanying printable material, students will be introduced to the life history of the beaver and how beavers alter the landscape to provide important habitat for other wildlife. Explore adaptations for survival, what it means to be an herbivore, and characteristics of rodents. With just a few adaptations, watch what humans would need to become a beaver and live perfectly in an aquatic environment! 

This program explores key concepts in alignment with the following K-2 Science Standards, but can be adapted for use with other groups: 

K.L.1 Compare characteristics of animals that make them alike and different from other animals and nonliving things.

1.L.1 Understand characteristics of various environments and behaviors of humans that enable plants and animals to survive.

2.L.1 Understand animal life cycles.

Longleaf Legacy: In the Pines

Photo of a branch of a Longleaf Pine at Harris Lake County Park

Through visual imagery, virtual specimen examination and virtual activities, students will explore the history of Longleaf forest uses, current management policies and biological features of the Longleaf Pine Forest ecosystem. Students will have optional crafts and research suggestions to provide further enrichment opportunities.

This program aligns with the following Science Standards for grades 3–5, but can be adapted for use with other groups:

3.L.2 Understand how plants survive in their environments.
3.L.2.1 Remember the function of the following structures as it relates to the survival of plants in their environments:

  • Roots – absorb nutrients
  • Stems – provide support
  • Leaves – synthesize food
  • Flowers – attract pollinators and produce seeds for reproduction

 

4.L.1 Understand the effects of environmental changes, adaptations and behaviors that enable animals (including humans) to survive in changing habitats.
4.L.1.1 Give examples of changes in an organism’s environment that are beneficial to it and some that are harmful.
4.L.1.2 Explain how animals meet their needs by using behaviors in response to information received from the environment.
4.L1.3 Explain how humans can adapt their behavior to live in changing habitats (e.g., recycling wastes, establishing rain gardens, planting trees and shrubs to prevent flooding and erosion).

 

5.L.2 Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.
5.L.2.1 Compare the characteristics of several common ecosystems, including estuaries and salt marshes, oceans, lakes and ponds, forests, and grasslands.
5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).
5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem.

Snake Scales and Turtle Tails

Photo of a black rat snake at Harris Lake County Park

With a focus on turtles and snakes, this interactive program will explore different local species, reptile adaptations and what makes them special, their importance to the ecosystem, and aim to dispel some myths about this wonderful group of animals. Virtually “meet” some live animals and have a chance to ask your educator those questions crawling around in your head! 

This program aligns with the following North Carolina Science Standards: 

5.L.2.2 Classify the organisms within an ecosystem according to the function they serve: producers, consumers, or decomposers (biotic factors).  (frogs, toads, snakes as secondary consumers; turtles as both primary and secondary) 

5.L.2.3 Infer the effects that may result from the interconnected relationship of plants and animals to their ecosystem.  

What Happened at Harris? A History Mystery at Harris Lake County Park

Photo of a remnant Longleaf Pine at Harris Lake County Park with "cat face" markings

Let’s discover Harris Lake’s interesting past and learn how we can use this information to make important decisions for our future! Through artifact analysis, mapping and research, participants will explore clues from the former inhabitants of and visitors to Harris Lake County Park to discover how the park’s lands and resources were used over time.

This program aligns with the following North Carolina Standards:

4th grade

Social Studies

     4.H.1.1 Summarize the change in cultures, everyday life and status of indigenous American Indian groups in NC before and after European exploration.  2.04 Describe how different ethnic groups have influenced culture, customs and history of North Carolina.

     4.G.1.2 Explain the impact that human activity has on the availability of natural resources in North Carolina. 

     4.G.1.3 Exemplify the interactions of various peoples, places and cultures in terms of adaptation and modification of the environment. 

Science 

      4.L.1 Understand the effects of environmental changes, adaptations and behaviors that enable animals (including humans) to survive in changing habitats. 4.L.1.1 Give examples of changes in an organism’s environment that are beneficial to it and some that are harmful. 4.L.1.3 Explain how humans can adapt their behavior to live in changing habitats (e.g., recycling wastes, establishing rain gardens, planting trees and shrubs to prevent flooding and erosion). 

 

8th grade 

Social Studies 

    8.H.1 Apply historical thinking to understand the creation and development of North Carolina and the United States. 8.H.1.1 Construct charts, graphs, and historical narratives to explain particular events or issues. 

    8.G.1. Understand the geographic factors that influenced North Carolina and the United States. 8.G.1.1 Explain how location and place have presented opportunities and challenges for the movement of people, goods, and ideas in North Carolina and the United States. 

Science 

    8.L.3 Understand how organisms interact with and respond to the biotic and abiotic components of their environment. 8.L.3.1 Explain how factors such as food, water, shelter and space affect populations in an ecosystem.