Summer Nature Program for Kids

Summers @ Schiff provide kids ages 4-15 a healthy dose of fresh air, active fun, exploration in nature, and the integration of environmental education. At Schiff Summer Nature Program, kids get outside to play, explore and learn together while deepening their sense of community, self-confidence, and an appreciation for the natural world.

"My son comes home everyday. He might be dirty. He might be wet, but he has had the time of his life." - M. Vankirk, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"Thank you! He loved it so much that we decided to let him have another week with you all at Schiff!" - T. Silverman, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"I like Schiff better than my house!" - child from 2018 summer program

"Our daughter said 'all of it' was her favorite." - parent of child of 2018 summer program

Check out the fun on Facebook & Instagram!

Jenny Chmura
Meet Jenny Chmura
Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Christi Lorenson
Meet Christi Lorenson
Summer Nature Program Co-Director

What We Offer Each Week

  • Experienced professional educators as lead instructors
  • Morning and afternoon sessions available
  • A 1:10 staff to child ratio
  • Lessons designed to softly educate, motivate, delight, and inspire young children
  • Nature games, trips to the stream, tie dye making, and shelter building
  • Recycled craft projects to promote environmental awareness
  • Opportunities to explore the natural world and build strong friendships
  • Science, Sustainability, and Ecology integrated into our curriculum
  • Plenty of opportunity for exploration of Schiff's many splendors
    • Access to 500 acres of streams, forest and meadow
    • 15 miles of hiking trails to explore and discover

If a session has full enrollment, please email to be placed on our wait list.

Favorite Moments from 2018

  • Building forts and the games in the woods.
  • Telling everyone at the bakery about how wonderful the wine berries he picked are. Handing me flowers he picked. Loving stream day.
  • Picking wine berries and playing in the stream.
  • My children loved everything about their experience.
  • Finding owl vomit!!!
  • Making their tie dye shirts and trips to the stream.
  • Making teepees and picking wine berries.
  • Excited to go everyday. Likes the stream day and eating his snack in a tree.
  • When he got mad at me for coming to pick him up because he didn't want the fun to end.

TOPICS FOR 2018

Ages 4 & 5 (9-11 AM) - Fee $170.00
Schiff Fledglings (Age: 4 & 5)
July 9 - July 13
Morning Session CLOSED
July 16 - July 20
Morning Session CLOSED
July 23 - July 27
July 30 - August 3
Morning Session CLOSED

The Fledglings summer program includes many hands-on activities for our youngest stewards. Our littlest ones will use their five senses to explore the wonder of Schiff’s landscapes, plant, and wildlife through a variety of hands-on, engaging, and age appropriate activities including outdoor exploration, stories, nature-themed art projects, and interactive nature games all meant to inspire joy and wonder and increase independence.

Ages 6 - 13 (Morning 9-12:30 PM) (Afternoon 1:30-5 PM) - Fee $200.00
Session 1: Animal Antics (Age: 6 - 13)
July 9 - July 13
Morning Session CLOSED
July 9 - July 13
Afternoon Session CLOSED

The deciduous forests of NJ are home to some amazing mammals. Prepare to be amazed and full of awe as we study the furry critters that inhabit Schiff’s forests. We will climb trees like the squirrels, find treasures like the chipmunks, follow the tracks of the raccoon, be sly like the fox, listen carefully like the deer, howl like the wolves, and make dens like the bears. We are sure to find a connection to the wildlife around us as we play fun games, go on animal adventures, and create crafts!

Session 2: Frogs, Turtles, and More! (Age: 6 - 13)
July 16 - July 20
Morning Session CLOSED
July 16 - July 20
Afternoon Session CLOSED

NJ is home to numerous species of reptiles and amphibians. Join us as we explore the habitats of these fascinating species who call the preserve home. We will hike the trails, explore the logs, and look under rocks as we search for salamanders, hope to cross paths with a turtle, maybe slide along with the snakes, and prepare to meet our frogs and toads. Crafts, fun, learning, and adventure await as we “come out of our shells!”

Session 3: Living Treasures (Age: 6 - 13)
July 23 - July 27
Morning Session CLOSED
July 23 - July 27
Afternoon Session CLOSED

The summer is a great time to enjoy the shade of Schiff’s beautiful canopy. The magic and majesty of flowers, plants, and trees is in full blossom and ready to be explored and enjoyed. Join us this week as we hike through the meadow, admire our trees, pick wineberries, and produce some delectable wineberry treats while learning all about the important role of the plants and trees around us.

Session 4: Soaring Through Schiff (Age: 6 - 13)
July 30 - August 3
Morning Session CLOSED
July 30 - August 3
Afternoon Session CLOSED

The preserve is home to many different forms of wildlife. Many of them have wings and fly high over the mountains and right through Schiff. Some fly by day, others at night. Some are big, while others are small. Some soar, others hover. This week we will keep our eyes to the skies while we flutter and drift around the trails in search of butterflies, bats, owls, and other winged creatures. You never know “whooo” we may find.

Special Electives (Afternoon Only 1:30-5 PM) - Fee $200.00
Schiff Survival Explorers (Age: 12-15)
July 16 - July 20
Afternoon Session CLOSED

Everyone loves a fun time in the great outdoors. Nature becomes our teacher in this special elective. Join us as we explore a variety of ways to safely survive in the wilderness.Test your skills of telling time and navigating through wilderness areas, constructing shelter, finding food and water (and making it safe to consume), fire making techniques, creating rope and other tools from scratch, and more! This awesome adventure awaits you!

Artists of the Forest (Age: 6 - 13)
July 30 - August 3
Afternoon Session CLOSED

Nature has been inspiring artistic expression for all of human existence. This elective combines nature exploration with hands-on crafts and art projects. Some artwork will remain in the wild, and other pieces will be displayed in the Nature Center. Parents will have an exclusive tour of the show at the end of the week.

Counselors in Training (Ages 13-16) - Fee $100.00
Counselors in Training (Age: 13-16)
July 9 - August 3
Morning Session CLOSED
July 9 - August 3
Afternoon Session CLOSED

Students seeking experience and volunteer hours during Summer Nature Program can volunteer for 1-2 weeks of the SNP. Responsibilities will include assistance setting up and implementing activities, crafts, and games. Fee includes training and supervision. Please be sure to indicate which week you are interested in. NOTE: Morning Session - July 9-13 - Closed and Morning Session - July 16-20 - Closed

Important Notices

  • Family Membership is required for Registration. If you are not already a member, please click here. A $50 family yearly membership must be renewed prior to the beginning of the program. Please contact if you are unsure about your membership status.
  • Health Forms are required for each summer nature program child. Please download a health form here. Each child attending the Summer Nature Program MUST have a completed form on file by June 1, 2018. Forms may be mailed or emailed.
  • Registration is accepted online with payment via PayPal. Over the course of a year, Schiff incurs over $1,000 in Paypal fees for our customers to have the convenience of using Paypal to donate or register for programs. When you are sent to Paypal to pay for a transaction you'll be asked whether you'd like to add the additional amount of 2.2% and .30 to help us offset these costs. Thank you.
  • If you must pay by check or cash, contact .
  • To choose a session, click on the link and follow the registration process. If you wish to register for multiple sessions, you need to click on each session link and follow the registration process again. You will be paying PayPal separately for each session.
  • Choose as many sessions as you like. Please note that morning and afternoon sessions are identical each day unless you sign up for an afternoon elective. However, if you choose to register your child for a morning AND afternoon session in the same week, a parent or caregiver must be on the premises with your child between 12:30 and 1:30pm.
  • For your planning purposes, our groups are divided by grades.  If you would like your child placed with a sibling or friend in the approximate same grade, please let us know in advance in the "comments section" as it is difficult to make changes once the program has begun. Thank you.
  • After you register, you will receive an acknowledgement email which is verified by PayPal, at which point your spot is guaranteed.
  • Waitlist is available, if a session has full enrollment. Please email to be placed on our wait list.
  • Cancellations received by email or phone with 14 days notice are eligible for a full tuition refund minus $40 administrative fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations less than 14 days prior to the start of child's summer nature program.

Please email with any questions about registration.

Words from Friends:

"Our family continues to enjoy our membership at Schiff Nature Preserve (now our third year) and we are excited for our youngest to join your Fledglings program this summer as a 4 year old!"- M. Clark, Parent of Summer Nature Program

"My kids had nothing bad to say about the program at all - it was their absolute favorite week at camp and can't wait to return."

"He loved every minute of it. He loves being outdoors and loved learning and going on hikes."

"She was excited about the art and hiking and she was eager to go each day."

"She LOVED Artist's week, but also really enjoyed collecting wine berries, eating them, and making jam."

"He wished the week wouldn't end."

Jenny Chmura, Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Jenny has been part of the Schiff community since 2014 as an instructor with the Summer Nature Program and is excited to be part the magic of Schiff. She has worked as an eighth grade language arts teacher since 2001. Jenny earned BA in English from Montclair State University and also earned her Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. Jenny's passion is providing opportunities for children to learn about, appreciate, explore, and respect their natural environment. When she is not at Schiff she can usually be found hiking local trails with her dog and bird watching.

Christi Lorenson, Summer Nature Program Co-Director

Christi joined the Schiff family in the fall of 2017 as the co-Director for the Schiff Summer Nature Program. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation. Since then, she has worked for the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation as a Grants Manager, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge as a Development Assistant, and most recently spent the last 7 years working at Trailside Nature & Science Center as a Park Naturalist until she deciding to stop working full-time so she could be home with her children. Christi's strong respect for the environment and desire to preserve its natural habitats has encouraged her to dedicate her career to environmental education and outreach. Christi's love for the environment has also shaped the hobbies she has taken up which include volunteering with wildlife rehabilitation centers, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and throwing pottery; however, what she loves to do most is spend time with her family. She currently lives in Gladstone, NJ with her husband, 2 young daughters, and two Burmese Mountain dogs... And it's no secret that Christi's eldest dog, Kona, is her heart and soul.