In-Person Field Trip Programs

Land as a Canvas: Voices from the Land

  • FOR: PreK-8th Graders (This program can be adapted for other grades and Special Education groups)

Frederic Church considered Olana (the house and the landscape) his greatest work of art. In this ½ day field trip, students will visit one room inside, tour the building exterior, and enjoy a short hike in the landscape. After exploring, students will make art from found materials in Olana’s landscape. This project is designed to help students think creatively and invent in nature. Core Learning Standards in Art and Science: Children are active learners. During this field trip we encourage participation, involve multiple contexts, and engage the senses to help children explore their environment. Students will use materials in novel ways to represent ideas and experiment to build upon their observations.
Questions will be employed throughout the field trip to activate group discussion. Each trip will incorporate activities designed to challenge students to develop divergent solutions and outcomes.

Contact with any questions.

Islamic Design: Persian Influence and Geometry at Olana

  • FOR: 4th-8th Graders. (This program can be adapted for other grades.)

Frederic E. Church and his family travelled extensively in the Middle East in the 1860s. His home, Olana, was designed and built just after this trip—so the Hudson River Region boasts a rare glimpse into designs of ancient Persia! During this day-long visit students will tour Olana; then, with sketchbooks in hand, students will hike and sketch geometric designs that combine nature and geometry. Core Learning Standards Art, Mathematics, and History/Social Studies: Students will be asked to observe and analyze designs in terms of geography, shape, proportion, and repetition. Students will then formulate problems and solutions from everyday situations seen in regional interior design and architecture. These observations will be translated from a picture/diagram to a numeric expression and then back again. Students will present this design problem verbally, geometrically, and graphically. Students will use a number of tools to develop mathematical proportions and clean geometric compositions. Students will also link their experience to the cultural dimensions of art, they will analyze

and study art, and they will make decorative art designs based on certain tools, geometric repetition, spatial parameters, and geographic sensibilities

Contact with any questions.

From Sketch to Study to Painting: Studying Frederic Church’s Method from en plein air to Studio

  • FOR: Scalable content for 3rd Grade – High School

Frederic E. Church created dozens of studies and sketches outside in the landscape before creating his masterpiece canvases inside. Students will tour Olana, hike the grounds, and study Church’s en plein air art. During this day-long visit, students will take notebooks and drawing boards into the landscape to make art and notations in the style of Church. Then they will choose their favorite drawing and make a study from the sketch, and groups are encouraged to take their en plein air studies and sketches home to continue painting. Core Learning Standards in Art and History: Students will explore art to understand the social, cultural, and environmental dimensions of human society through a series of activities that expose the inherent relationships between land, shaped land, and how a culture has been influenced by art works. Students will follow core development steps (analyze, interpret, develop, and refine) while actively engaged in making art.

Contact with any questions.

Odes to Nature and Nature Writing

  • FOR: Scalable content for 3rd Grade – High School

While The Hudson River School was the first art movement in the USA, Transcendentalism was the first philosophical moment. Frederic Church read and travelled with Ralph Waldo Emerson and read Thoreau. Around the same time Church was building Olana, naturalist John Burroughs (Wake Robin) returned to the Catskills and his childhood farm to devote his life to writing and gardening. During this tour, students will explore shared traits between these nature writers and nature painters. They will examine why early art in the United States focused on issues of nature and environmentalism. Connections to Core Learning Standards in History/Social Studies: Students will be asked to observe and analyze images as primary sources, citing specific evidence to articulate reasoning behind their ideas. Questions will be employed to encourage students to analyze how history and artistic ideas interact. Each lesson will incorporate activities designed to challenge students to develop divergent solutions and outcomes.

Contact with any questions.

Funding Opportunity for 4th Graders

Over the past year the Connect Kids Field Trip Refund Grant program enabled over 30,000 school children to connect with the outdoors (and history) by refunding field trip expenses to State lands. Over the past year the Connect Kids Field Trip Refund Grant program enabled over 30,000 school children to connect with the outdoors (and history) by refunding field trip expenses to State lands. For many students from Title 1 schools lacking field trip budgets, this was a first. The grant gave children the opportunity to play on a playground for the first time, take a guided Park hike, or attend a program at a local historic site. Eligibility Requirements: -Any school in a NYS district with at least one Title 1 school -Advantage and 21st Century afterschool programs -Municipal youth bureaus and recreation facilities -Refund amount up to $1,000/grant

Connect Kids to Parks Online Application


Who: PreK through 12 grade

What: Field trips linked to the NY State Common Core Curriculum & NYS Learning Standards linked; programs focus on authentic learning experiences and Place-Based education models.

When: Available Tuesday- Friday throughout the school year

How Much: $10 per student (1 chaperone per 10 students is free; any additional chaperones are an additional $10/adult). Additional funding for field trip and busing support may be available based on availability. No cost for schools in Columbia/Greene County.

Please email if you’re interested learning more.

How to bring a group to Olana: Visit the website and complete the online inquiry form, or please email to determine program and date for your group. No inquiry is considered binding until the registration form is received by Olana.

Recommended Length: Arrive onsite by 9:15am- depart @ 2:15pm (can arrive and depart at slightly different times based on school day and travel time)

Maximum & Minimum Group Size: Field trips must have 12 students to qualify for field trip pricing, busing, and scheduling. Groups cannot be larger than 52 students/adults at one time. One chaperone per 12 students is required.

Assessment: Students will, in most field trip scenarios, make original works on paper and engage in observation, modeling and information collection, and question asking.

Teachers are encouraged to assess students on the following criteria: was a student engaged, and did the student listen, state, differentiate, solve challenges, and generate materials while at Olana. Teachers can download an assessment outline if interested in formalizing their assessment of students while they are working onsite. Students are also encouraged to use teacher directed self-assessment.

Required Items: Bag lunch, good walking shoes and outdoor weather clothing. (Students will eat lunch onsite and we have no vendor options.)

What about the weather? These visits will happen rain or shine; there may be some slight revision to the outside components based on heavy downpours, but groups should be prepared for being outside regardless of the weather.

Cancellation Policy: If your group cancels within 10 days of your scheduled trip you will be charged a $75 fee (this includes weather). However, if the trip is canceled by Olana’s Education Department this fee will not be applied.

Contact/Questions: email