Environmental Education

Help your students discover their place in nature and nature's place within themselves. At Saluda Shoals Park, our Rangers are enthusiastic teachers guiding young learners as they discover the beauty, wonder, and intricacies of the natural world. So, whether you're looking for a lesson on life science, physical science or earth science, our 400-acre classroom and qualified staff can spark the spirit of discovery in students and teachers alike. Come experience the wonder of nature! Where we put science in the hands of students.

Our programs are inquiry-based and developed to address and meet the South Carolina and National Science Standards. All include the following three components:

  • a classroom lesson to establish the principle;
  • an interactive component;
  • an "immersion learning" nature walk;

Each classroom can hold up to 25 children. Teachers must be with the class. Additional chaperones are welcome. Arrangements can be made for schools bringing more than fifty students.


All programs must be reserved in advance and reservations are accepted in the order calls are received. Please note - April and May are peak months so call early! 

  • Environmental Education Programs - $6 per student
  • Interpretive Saluda River Trip - $10 per student
  • Conservation Teambuilding - $6 per student

To reserve your date, call Rachel Kennerly 803-213-2055 between 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Grade Specific Programs, Saluda Shoals Park
• K5: Life Cycle of Plants, Wetland Habitats.
• 1st Grade: Basic Needs of Plants, Wetland Habitats.
• 2nd Grade: Animals and their Habitats, Wetland Habitats.
• 3rd Grade: Food Webs, Wetland Habitats.
• 4th Grade: Interaction on of Plants and Animals, Wetland Habitats.
• 5th Grade: Biotic & Abiotic Factors in a Living System, Wetland Habitats
• 6th Grade: Classification of Animals, Wetland Habitats.
• 7th Grade: Population Ecology, Wetland Habitats.
• 8th–12th Grade: Call for middle and high school programming.

Interpretive River Paddle Trip

Guided by a Park Ranger, paddle a water trail on the Saluda River and discover the effects of cold water meeting warm water.  Explore the shoals and understand the unique habitat they form. Do all this and learn the basics of paddling and river navigation.

  • Fee: $10 per student (max of 20 students)

Required student/chaperone ratio

  • Grades 6-8: 1 chaperone per boat with 2 students
  • Grades 9-12: 1 chaperone to 5 students
  • Additional chaperones are $10 each

Guided Nature Walks

Take a walk through Saluda Shoal's many habitats and trails guided by a park ranger.  Learn about the unique plants and animals that call the park home.  Educational content can be adjusted to any age level.

  • Maximum: 20
  • Fee: $35

Conservation Teambuilding

In this highly interactive program for 6th-12th grades, students will learn problem solving and environmental science concepts on our Real Team Challenge Course. All challenges are led by trained, professional staff. Fee: $6 per student.

Virtual Environmental Education

Saluda Shoals Park is now offering virtual environmental education programs.  Programs are 30 minutes in length and can accommodate up to 25 students.  Programs cost $30 and 15 minutes of additional instruction can be purchased for $15.  Google Meets is the preferred interface for these programs.  Grade specific programs are listed below.  To schedule, please call 803-213-2055.

Kindergarten - Life Cycle of Plants

Students will virtually follow a ranger on a walk through Saluda Shoals Park and observe the immense variety of plant life found there.  Upon completion of this program, students will have learned how plants are unique compared to other organisms, the basic life cycle of a plant, as well which nutrients plants require to survive.

 1st Grade - Basic Needs of Plants

 Students will virtually follow a ranger on a walk through Saluda Shoals Park and observe the immense variety of plant life found there.  Upon completion of this virtual program students will have learned the function of different plant structures, the life cycle of various plants, and the different mechanism of seed dispersal.

2nd Grade - Animals and Their Habitats

Students will virtually follow a ranger through the different ecosystems of Saluda Shoals Park and observe the different animals that call it home.  Upon completion of this program students will have learned why some animals require homes and some do not, how animals adapt to their habitats, and the different mechanisms of camouflage.

 3rd Grade - Food Webs

Students will virtually accompany a ranger on a walk through the Saluda Shoals Park wetland habitat.  Upon completion of this program students will have learned how to categorize animals as producers, consumers, or decomposers as well as how different limiting factors in an ecosystem can determine which organisms can live there.

 4th/5th Grade - Wetland Ecosystems

Students will virtually follow a ranger through the Saluda Shoals Park wetland habitat and learn about the plants and animals that call it home.  The ranger will guide students through analysis of animal furs, bird wings, and skulls.  Students will also get to virtually experience net dipping as the ranger searches for tadpoles, crayfish, and other small animals.  Upon completion of this program students will have learned the importance of wetlands and the services they provide to both the natural world and our everyday lives. 

Native Plant Database

Retired Saluda Shoals Park environmental education director Jeanette Wells has spent many years and countless hours cataloging plant species at Saluda Shoals Park. She has developed a comprehensive database of native plants complete with photos and detailed information. With help from the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, this database has been published.

Jeanette will continue to update and add to the information and welcomes photographs of plants in the park to add to the database. Photos can be emailed to wells0412@gmail.com and the photographer will be given credit for photos on the database.  

To view and learn more about native plants species at Saluda Shoals Park, please visit the link below.

Native Plant Species of Saluda Shoals Park