Ever wondered what is the difference between a marsh and a swamp? Why are there deer tracks in the salt meadow hay? Which species of pine is most common on the coastal plain? How do I pick up a crab without it pinching my finger?
Students of all ages are discovering the answers to these and other questions at York River State Park.
Grade school children in public and private schools and homeschoolers visit the park year-round for learning opportunities that they cannot get in a classroom.
Many of these field trips are lead by the teachers. We also have Chief Ranger Brad Thomas and Education Support Specialist John Gresham to guide and assist with groups large or small. We don't conduct canoe and kayak programs during the winter months, but, marsh marches and shoreline hikes are great avenues to teach about our estuaries and the creatures who live in them.
College and university students also use York River as a large laboratory. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducts several test as Taskinas Creek is a part of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Our scholarly visitors have included students from the nearby College of William & Mary and Thomas Nelson Community College and those who travel from Eastern Mennonite University and the University of Virginia.
But, you don't have to be an enrolled student on a field trip to experience the educational resources of the park. Park Packs are available on weekdays and include equipment and guides to help make the most of your visit. Each pack has a theme such as birds, fossils, history, wetlands, and other topics of interest. The packs can be checked out for up to three days and must be returned by the Friday of the week.
If you can't come to York River, we can come to you! Brad and John can bring outdoor experiences to preschools and corporate exhibitions. To request a field trip or off site program, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at (757) 566-3036.
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, two to three hours; Richmond, one hour; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, one hour; Fredericksburg, two hours; Roanoke, five hours