USDA Forest Service
 

Grey Towers National Historic Site

 
 

Grey Towers National Historic Site
151 Grey Towers Drive
PO Box 188
Milford, PA 18337

(570) 296-9630

Home > Educational Programs

Education Programs at Grey Towers National Historic Site

The US Forest Service at Grey Towers offers a variety of curriculum-based conservation education programs for students in grades 2-12. These programs are designed to increase students’ awareness, appreciation and understanding of natural resource conservation, which we hope will foster a sense of individual responsibility for land stewardship. We tailor each program so that it is grade appropriate and otherwise meets your needs. Our programs are offered free of charge and we offer a covered area for your students to enjoy their bagged lunch.

 

Before scheduling a conservation education program, please review the general descriptions below and select the appropriate grade-level for detailed information including tour duration and learning standards about the specific programs.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

 

Mansion Tour: History of Pinchot Family and Natural Resource Conservation

The interpretive tour of the mansion and gardens will introduce students to the Pinchot family and the important contributions that they made, most notably the role Gifford Pinchot played in the American Conservation Movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as his achievements as Pennsylvania’s governor in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mansion Tour: Grades 2-6
  Grades 7-12

 

 

Forest Discovery Trail

The hike along our half-mile trail provides students with the opportunity to learn about the forest ecosystem and all that it provides: clean water and air; healthy habitat for fish, wildlife and people; forest products; recreation and jobs. Along the way, they will discover some of the many plants and animals that inhabit the forest and they will gain an awareness of the interrelationship among the living and non-living components of a forest ecosystem – where change is ever-present.

Forest Discovery Trail: A Forest is More Than Trees Grades 2-6
  A Forest is More Than Trees Grades 7-12
  Forest Ecosystem Management Grades 7-12

 

Art and Architecture

Grey Towers is both an artist’s studio and a museum. The architectural design and unique features of the mansion and landscape provide inspiration for your students to practice their artistic skills and learn about architecture history. In addition, a visit to Grey Towers can enhance your students’ appreciation for the connection between nature and art and how Hudson River School paintings helped further the cause of the American Conservation Movement.

Arts and Architecture: Grades 9-12

 

French Connection

French and American culture and history come together at Grey Towers, the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, eminent conservationist and two-term governor of Pennsylvania. As your students tour the mansion and become acquainted with the Pinchot family, they will learn how the family’s’ French connection stretches back almost 200 years and continued to strengthen as a result of the family’s life-long pursuits.

French Connection: Grades 9-12

 

Additional Offerings at Grey Towers

Films – When planning your visit, ask our staff about our selection of films that we have available for viewing as part of your visit to Grey Towers. Films include historic footage that highlights the 1963 visit by President John F. Kennedy; Pinchot family home movies; and more!

 

Cemetery Tour –Located along Old Owego Turnpike on the grounds of the estate, the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery offers a glimpse into the history of the Milford community. The cemetery, Milford’s original graveyard, includes the remains of members of the first three generations of the Pinchot family who first settled in the Milford area in the early 19th century. Whether you choose to explore the cemetery on your own or with Grey Towers' staff, an exhibit at the cemetery and a brochure provide additional information.

 

Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl– Although we currently do not provide a program featuring Smokey or Woodsy, both costumes are available to borrow upon request. We also can provide your students/group with educational materials.

More activities at Grey Towers

For additional information on education programs and to schedule a program please contact:

Grey Towers National Historic Site
P.O. Box 188
Milford, PA 18337
(570) 296-9630
greytowers@fs.fed.us

 

Directions to Grey Towers

Grey Towers is located in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, near the Delaware River on the outskirts of Milford. The entrance is on Old Owego Turnpike, off of Route 6, behind the Apple Valley Restaurant. Take Exit 46 off of Interstate 84 to access Route 6. If you are using a GPS or on-line directions, please use the following address:

Pine Acres Lane and Old Owego Turnpike, Milford, PA 18337. View Map

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Parking and Restrooms

  • Ample parking is available for cars and busses in our Visitor Parking Lot. Busses please use the designated bus parking area.
  • Restrooms are available in the pavilion, adjacent to the visitor parking lot. We suggest that you use these restrooms prior to the program and tour. Additional restrooms are located near the mansion.

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Things to know

  • Programs are held rain or shine (so please dress appropriately) unless YOU cancel due to inclement weather. (return to FAQ's)
  • Appropriate footwear also is strongly recommended (sturdy, comfortable shoes; no sandals or flip flops) to safely navigate forest trails, stone walkways and steps. (return to FAQ's)
  • Once you park and use the restrooms, please follow the footpath (approximately 600 ft.) leading up the hill to the mansion; our staff will meet you at the main entrance to the mansion, unless otherwise arranged. (return to FAQ's)
  • Several locations are available for enjoying your bagged lunch; please pre-arrange.(return to FAQ's)
  • Our gift shop is available upon request. (return to FAQ's)
  • Photography is permitted and encouraged. (return to FAQ's)
  • Funding for reimbursement of transportation costs may be available; please make arrangements when planning your visit. (return to FAQ's)
  • There is no fee charged for our conservation education programs. (return to FAQ's)

 Tips for Taking a Field Trip to Grey Towers

  • If possible, visit Grey Towers ahead of time so you have a better idea of what to expect on the day of your visit.
  • Programs are designed to accommodate a maximum of 25 students. Groups larger than 25 will be divided into smaller groups. To make the most of your time at Grey Towers please have students assigned to smaller groups prior to arrival at Grey Towers. (return to FAQ's)
  • Remind students of your expectations — what they will learn from their visit, what rules they will need to follow and what the consequences will be for not meeting your expectations. Please set guidelines to ensure appropriate behavior, which will both enhance the students’ learning opportunities and help ensure their safety. These include the following:
    • Show respect for others by listening and following the directions of teachers, chaperones and Grey Towers’ staff.
    • Keep your feet on the ground, i.e., no running, climbing or jumping unless given permission to do so.
    • Stay with your group, stay on trails/paths.
    • Share with your students (and Grey Towers' staff) any helpful hand signals that will be used to solicit silence/cooperation/response from students.
  • Relay all your expectations to other teachers and chaperones — make sure you communicate their role in the outing. (return to FAQ's)
Getting the most out of your visit: Concepts and Themes

Students will benefit most from their visit to Grey Towers NHS if they become familiar with the following concepts/themes before visiting the site:

  • Throughout history our forests have provided us with important materials that we have used in our daily lives and continue to do so today.
  • In addition to wood products, our forests provide clean water and air, habitat for fish and wildlife, recreation, forage for domestic animals, and natural resources for power production.
  • Prior to the American Conservation Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, our forest resources were being used without regard to environmental consequences or the future of their availability.
  • The Pinchot family used their wealth, power and influence to:
    • foster awareness regarding the importance of natural resource conservation.
    • bring about changes that improved the lives of people throughout the nation.
  • The Pinchot family gave Grey Towers to the people of the United States to continue the Pinchot family legacy of natural resource conservation.
  • Trees and forests change over time.
  • Forests provide shelter and food for many plants and animals.
  • The plants and animals that live in the forest are interdependent on one another.
  • With proper management, we can use the natural resources of our forests while ensuring that they are available for generations to come.

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For additional information on education programs and to schedule a program please contact:

Grey Towers National Historic Site
P.O. Box 188
Milford, PA 18337

(570) 296-9630
greytowers@fs.fed.us
(return to FAQ's)

 

Grey Towers NHS Program Curriculum for Grades 2 through 12

Mansion Tour: Grades 2-6 Time: 30 minutes

The Interpretive Tour of the mansion and gardens will provide students with a glimpse of what it was like to live here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As they explore the mansion, they will discover and reflect how things change over time.

 

Objectives:

  • Students will become acquainted with the family who built and lived in this home.
  • Through observation, students will gain an understanding of what the Pinchot family valued and how they used their wealth and influence to help bring about changes that would improve the lives of people in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Students will become acquainted with the concept of natural resource conservation, the wise use of our natural resources and how it affects them.
  • Students will gain an appreciation for the need for laws and regulations that help protect our environment.

Ties to PA Curriculum:

History - 8.2.3A, 8.2.3B, 8.3.3B, 8.1.3A

Environment and Ecology - 4.9.4A

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Mansion Tour: Grades 7-12 Time: 30 minutes

The history of Grey Towers reflects the changes that occurred in the United States during the late 19th century and early 20th century; in particular, the changing attitude regarding the use and ownership of the country’s natural resources. The interpretive tour of the mansion and gardens will acquaint students with the Pinchot family and how the various members of the family used their wealth, power and influence to bring about important social, political and land use reforms to benefit the people of this country.

Objectives:

  • Students will learn why it was necessary to create laws and regulations to protect the environment.
  • Students will gain an understanding of how natural resource conservation enables us to use our natural resources while insuring that they are available for future generations.
  • Students will be introduced to the Pinchot family and its role in the American Conservation Movement.
  • Students will gain an appreciation for Gifford Pinchot’s leadership in the establishment of a national forest system and his accomplishments as governor of Pennsylvania.

Ties to PA Curriculum:

History - 8.1.9A, 8.2.9B. 8.3.9A, 8.3.9B

Environment and Ecology - 4.9.7A

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Forest Discovery Trail:
A Forest is More Than Trees Grades 2-6 : 45-60 minutes

As students make their way along the trail, they will discover that a forest is more than trees. Through exploration and observation they will recognize evidence that ecosystems change over time.

Objectives:

  • Students will reflect on the basic needs of people and how the forest helps meet these needs.
  • Students will gain an awareness of the diversity of life in the forest habitat and the interrelationships between the plants and animals that call the forest home.
  • Students will understand the role of forests in providing clean air and water for humans and animals.

Ties to PA Curriculum:
Environment and Ecology - 4.2.4A, 4.2.4B, 4.2.4C, 4.3.4A, 4.6.4A, 4.6.4C, 4.8.4A, 4.8.4D

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Forest Discovery Trail:
A Forest is More Than Trees Grades 7-12 Time: 45-60 minutes  

As students make their way along the trail, they will discover that a forest is more than trees. They will reflect on the various benefits and products that come from forests. Through exploration and observation they will identify the bio diversity that exists in the forest ecosystem, and they will recognize evidence and persistence of change.

 

Objectives:

  • Students will explore the biological and structural diversity of a forest ecosystem.
  • Students will learn about the ecological relationships in the forest.
  • Students will reflect on how human activity affects the forest.
  • Students will examine changes that occur within the forest ecosystem.
  • Students will learn that there are a variety of federal and state laws and regulations associated with timber harvesting and other ground-disturbing activities on public lands.

Ties to PA Curriculum:
Environment and Ecology - 4.2.7A, 4.2.7B, 4.2.12A, 4.2.12B, 4.3.7B, 4.3.7C, 4.6.7.A, 4.6.7C, 4.8.7B, 4.9.7A

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Forest Discovery Trail:
Forest Ecosystem Management (Grades 7-12) Time: 60 minutes

Forest ecosystem management focuses on maintaining or restoring biological diversity to a forest. This hands-on program enables students to use their language, math and science skills as they document the biological and structural diversity of a forest ecosystem by collecting and measuring data, including mock deer droppings.

Objectives:

  • Students will identify the species of trees using reference materials.
  • Students will employ forestry skills and techniques to determine the age and health of trees.
  • Students will identify the types and abundance of lesser vegetation.
  • Students will determine what factors, such as deer populations, are affecting forest growth and regeneration.

Ties to PA Curriculum:
Environment and Ecology - 4.2.7B, 4.3.7.C , 4.6.7C, 4.6.12A, 4.6.12C

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Art and Architecture: Grades 9-12 Tour Time: 45 minutes

“Studio” Time: (to be determined by teacher)

Grey Towers’ architectural and landscape features provide inspiration for your students to practice their artistic skills. In addition, a visit to Grey Towers can further enhance your students’ appreciation for the connection between nature and art as they learn how James Pinchot advanced the cause of the American Conservation Movement as a patron of the arts. James, who built Grey Towers as his family’s summer home, counted among his friends several artists who were part of the Hudson River School genre of landscape painting. Many of the paintings he purchased from these friends were loaned to museums for enjoyment and appreciation by the public. As students tour the mansion they will gain an appreciation for the Pinchot’s love of fine art, including a 15th century European painting on wood panels, a set of funerary camels from the 7th century Tang Dynasty, replicas of the Bernini columns from St. Peter’s Basilica, family portraits by renowned artists and 16th century Italian Renaissance furniture.

Ties to Curriculum: Available upon request.

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French Connection: Grades 9-12 Time: 45 minutes

French and American culture and history come together at Grey Towers, the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, eminent conservationist and governor of Pennsylvania. Gifford’s great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from France in the early 19th century. As your students tour the mansion and become acquainted with the Pinchot family, they will learn how Gifford’s father, James, instilled in his children the philosophy by which he lived his life, noblesse oblige, the responsibility of those with means and power to care for those less fortunate. James’ pride in his French heritage is evident in the Norman-Breton design of the mansion and various pieces of artwork, including a bronze statue of Napoleon I on loan from the Smithsonian. The family’s French connection continued with their frequent trips to France for business and pleasure, and it was strengthened by the life-long pursuits of Gifford and his sister, Antoinette. Gifford was encouraged to introduce scientific forestry in America after studying at the French Forest School at Nancy, and Antoinette financed, built and managed “The Hospital Under Three Flags,” a wounded veterans hospital in a suburb of France.

Ties to Curriculum: Available upon request.

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USDA Forest Service - Grey Towers National Historic Site
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:19:05 CST


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