Environmental Centers connect the busy daily lives of people to nature and help to remind everyone of the importance of fresh water, green trees, and clean air. Many are teaching experiences, but all help to put people in touch with the natural world. Explore the beauty of outdoor Franklin County at one of its environmental centers. Whether part of a state park system, a local school district, or operated by a non-profit conservation organization, environmental centers build knowledge, help the public make informed and responsible choices, and support healthy communities.
Charles Brightbill Environmental Center
Fort Loudoun Road, Mercersburg, PA 17268
Located adjacent to the James Buchanan High School on Fort Loudoun Road.
Hours: The center is open on the first Sunday of each month from September to June, 2 PM until 4 PM.
Environmental Education: This center is home of the Tuscarora Wildlife Education Program, which hosts monthly programs open to the public and to school groups. The center also schedules programs available on request and in the past, they have done stream studies, recycling, tree identification and much more. The center includes a classroom, numerous displays of stuffed wildlife from all over the world, fossils, rocks, skulls, nests and a large natural science library.
Outdoor Walking Area: The center includes a natural habitat area with trails and a stream, with an abundance of birds and butterflies..
For more information: www.twep.org
for Environmental Studies
500 Leitersburg Street, Greencastle, PA 17225
Directions to this 45-acre environmental center: Exit 5 off I-81, left onto Baltimore Street to Ridge Avenue. Follow Ridge Avenue until it ends, turn left at the stop sign at Leitersburg Street. Remain on Leitersburg Street to Tayamentasachta.
Hours: Call for hours.
Environmental Education: This center is operated by the Greencastle School District and has education programs for kindergarten through 5th Grade, including plant identification, learning to be stewards, environmental protection, ecosystems, habitats and much more. Tayamentasachta derives from a Native American word that means “never-ending water” and the center includes a 19th century farmhouse and barn, spring, spring house, log cabin, longhouse, pavilion and orchard.
Walking Trails: The center is open dawn to dusk seven days a week to the public and has walking trails, woodlots, field and gardens for the public to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Tayamentaschta Apple Festival: This fall event happens every October and highlights apples, which are a big industry in Franklin County. Local students are invited to help peel apples for apple butter and learn more about apples during the day. Other activities include making corn husk dolls, s’mores, scenic wagon rides, and apple dumplings for sale.
For more information:
Renfrew Institute for Cultural
and Environmental Studies
1010 North Main Street, Waynesboro, PA 17268
This environmental center, in Renfrew Park, is located on Route 16 East, take Exit 5 off I-81 (Main Street is Route 16)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Environmental Education: First-hand experiences help students understand how nature works and what role humans play in the eco-system. Younger children explore sensory activities and introductory concepts in ecology and older children explore more advanced topics such as watershed and wetland studies. Adults and teens can attend lectures and workshops on cultural and environmental topics throughout the year. Youth can also attend after-school watershed and stream study programs.
Summer Institute: After school is out for the year, Summer Institute provides fun, educational activities for children including discovering nature, hiking, gardening and much more.
Fish or Swim: Wade in the Antietam Creek, which flows through the park, or go fishing. A water-monitoring team also works on site which keeps information about the river before it goes into the Chesapeake Bay, two hours away.
Cultural History Education: For school children, the center offers a variety of hands-on activities and discovery-based learning methods. Students can step back in time and learn how Pennsylvania Germans lived on the farmstead 200 years ago with topics such as dairy culture, wool culture, flax culture, food preservation and preparation and German four-square gardening. Older students visit the Renfrew Museum house and use curatorial methods to become “
Earth Celebration Day & Festival of Art: Renfrew celebrates spring with environmental exhibits, music, art, drum circle and food at Renfrew Park
Kite Fly: In April, enjoy a free afternoon of learning how to fly a kite from kite flying experts at Renfrew Park.
JazzFest: Relax on the lawn and listen to world-class jazz on a Sunday afternoon in August.
Pumpkin Festival: The Pumpkin Festival is a family tradition in October, highlighted by the exciting pumpkin-chunkin’ trebuchet, pumpkin carving, hayrides, live music, activities, games, food and more.
Other on-site programs include the Youth Festival in May, workshops doing heritage crafts, geology, owl walks and stargazing programs.
For more information: https://instituteatrenfrew.org/