CALL US NOW 203-562-6655

Virtual Schooner

Get on Board to Get Outside with

Schooner’s High Tide Activity Guide!


Ahoy Schooner Campers and Parents!

A Message from your Camp Director

I’m Nikki, your Schooner Captain and Camp Director, here to guide you through the calm and sometimes choppy waters of Schooner Summer 2020! Given the unique situation we find ourselves in this summer, I will lead you remotely through Summer 2020’s high tides with a weekly activity guide, equipped with educational content, challenges, and other ways for your children to get involved at home with their neighborhood, with their community, and most importantly, with the nature that exists around us all. Climb aboard and let’s sail into this learning together!

To help me guide you along this journey, you can sign up for the Schooner High Tides Weekly Summer Activity Guide newsletter, delivered directly to your email inbox. There, you’ll find a springboard of FREE information and activities that we hope will lead your children to more knowledge about and engagement with your natural surroundings!

As with the Schooner summer camps in the past, the content will be tailored to different age groups (6-8, 9-12, and 13-14). Alternatively, you can tune into this info right here on the Schooner website. We will update the content weekly with new information about the nature that surrounds you and with new weekly activities and challenges encouraging you to learn more. 

Subscribe to Schooner High Tides Activity Guide weekly newsletter here!

For more information about the specific content and activities we will be offering this summer, please watch our virtual open house video (shared above) that explains each segment of the High Tide Activity Guide’s content, or, if you would like, continue exploring the Schooner website on your own. Each segment of the summer guide’s website includes a description of the content we will provide each week as well as a summary of the ways you and your children can engage with it!

Happy Sailing!

Nikki Saccoccia

Feel free to email me with any questions or concerns you may have about getting involved this summer!

Let’s Get Started!

Sign up for Camp Pen Pals

One of the many ways we are encouraging campers to get involved this summer is through our Camp Pen Pals program. With so much online content through virtual learning or zoom hangouts, we know you and your child would sometimes like a break from the screen; with this pen pal initiative, Schooner is taking inter-camper engagement old school. While we can’t send each other a message in a bottle, we are giving parents the opportunity to sign their children up to be paired with a camp pen pal of similar age. Check back weekly to our Weekly Quill webpage for Schooner-related discussion topics that can help guide the content of your children’s letters.

If you’re interested in participating in the Camp Pen Pal program, please sign up here by filling out a brief survey with your information, and we will send you an email shortly after. Side note:  both parents will be able to approve the camp pen pal pairing before the mailing address and children’s names are shared with the other camper. 

Before pairing can begin, we’d like to gauge how many participants are interested in the program, so make sure you fill out the survey!

Other Pen Pal opportunities include:

  • writing letters directly to the Camp Director, Nikki, at 817 Grand Ave, New Haven, CT
  • For children 12 and up, being paired with an IRIS refugee who could use the letter correspondence as a means to improve their English!

Sign up for this week's Campfire Share Circle

share circle

Though bracing the seas this summer might feel daunting when we’re all learning and engaging remotely, we at Schooner would like to offer a weekly face-to-face Zoom share circle for our campers, in order that the kids can interact and discuss what they’ve learned with other camp participants. These meetings will occur on Fridays** and will be staged in four parts:  brief introductions, a group game, group share, and a Q&A segment. 

**Depending on demand, we can offer two different sessions based off of age groups. For now, it will just be one session. 

Bring your nature discoveries to these calls! Share what you saw, tasted, smelled and touched this week! 

Please fill out this Google form, linked here, expressing your interest in the share circle so we can gauge interest. Once you express interest, we’ll send the zoom link to the email you provided. Sign up for the share circle, at the latest, by Thursday Night to accommodate time to send you the Zoom link.

Sign up for Gather Corps

Gather Corps is a teen-oriented educational and leadership initiative that ties in with the Mothership–Gather New Haven. Aptly named by a focus group of local teens, Gather Corps honors the newly formed Gather New Haven organization (created in January 2020 with the merging of New Haven Land Trust and New Haven Farms) and will help work to extend Gather New Haven’s community outreach this summer. 

Given the unique nature of Summer 2020 (and Gather New Haven’s goal to provide equitable education and resources to the New Haven community, no matter the circumstances), Gather Corps will be this summer’s adaptation of our previous Junior Counselor program.  As we work to create a weekly activity guide with interactive and educational content, Gather Corps will work alongside us, offering teenagers the chance to gain leadership skills and to participate in community engagement through an environmental justice lens. Gather Corps will provide local teens the chance to be a storyteller through digital media and to learn what it takes to create an impact within their community through instructional content. The Gather Corps (GC’s for short) will be trained and deployed to create video segments to help you and your children engage with the content on the activity guide. 

GC’s will help guide participants through the Schooner High Tide Activity Guide by creating fun educational videos, as well as gathering nature observations within their neighborhood for the guide segment, Nature on my Block. Along with that, GC’s will also gain professional experience in teaching, community engagement initiatives that they help create, peer reviewing, learning about story mapping with arcGIS, and meeting guest specialists during a weekly check-in call.

If you have a teen that would be interested in working alongside us this summer, please fill out this google form survey, linked here. If you  have any questions, email me, Nikki, at Please use “Gather Corps” as the subject line and include your teen’s name and email. 

Gather Corps is an opportunity for your teen to get volunteer hours and participate in an adaptive conservation initiative. We request your teen to participate in at least 2 consecutive weeks (in order that they see their work appear as content for the community) and a virtual training on the week of July 6th (TBD). We also request that you review the Gather Corps Behavior Policy and please fill out the Liability and Photo Release form, both linked below. 

Check out our Community Share Padlet

Did you sketch the creature of the week and want to share it? Have you observed a plant or insect in your neighborhood and want to show a picture of it? Do you have any questions or fun facts about our weekly topics? The Community Share Padlet, linked here, is the Schooner Camp’s bulletin board of participant’s submissions. Share with us as you complete each week’s activities and challenges. Your drawing or interesting fact might even be featured in the next week’s activity guide!

Additional Resources

Have you ever wondered what creatures might live in your neighborhood or your community? With New Haven’s close proximity to the Long Island Sound, the diversity of creatures in the environment that surrounds us is amazing. Do you want to know more about these creatures? Let’s study them together!

Check back each week as we feature a new local critter for you to learn more about. We’ll include pictures, fun facts, information about the creature’s habitat and diet, and more. If you’re an aspiring artist, have your own interesting fact you want to share, or if you spotted the creature of the week (or even just its tracks) somewhere around New Haven, we encourage you to upload your own artwork or findings to our Community Padlet, linked here. Your drawing might even get featured in the next week’s activity guide. (All drawings and submissions to the padlet will be approved before going live for everyone else to see.) 

Happy Learning!

Still want more interesting nature facts and trivia? Be sure to check out our Nature Trivia page each week for more content!

Week 2: Oysters

Gather Corps Oyster Video

Week 1: Horseshoe crabs

Gather Corps Horseshoe Crab Video


Sailing Tips and Tricks

Calling all sailors! Though Schooner camp isn’t able to be held in person this summer, we wanted to make sure we equipped you with opportunities to continue learning so that your sailing skills stay in tip-top shape. Check back here weekly to find knot challenge videos (created with the help of our teenage Gather Corps members), as well as tide observations, and other helpful sailing tips and tricks for you to practice and study at home. 

As with the running of any ship, keeping up our nautical knowledge is a group endeavor, and we at Schooner want to hear from YOU, too! Think you mastered this week’s knot? Did you find our own observation about tide patterns? Share them with us in our Community Padlet, linked here! Show us (and the other campers) what you’ve learned.

Week 2: How to tie an 8 knot

Gather Corps 8 Knot Tutorial

Week 1: How to tie a square knot

Gather Corps Square Knot Tutorial

Scavenger Hunt

While we’re all stuck at the house or in our neighborhood and it feels like there’s nothing new to be done or nothing new to be seen, Schooner wants to challenge you each week to find things in your neighborhood that you might have stopped noticing. 

Each week, we’ll provide you with a scavenger hunt list alongside other exploration activities, and we’ll challenge you to look real hard around your house, your backyard, and your street to find everything. Like the pirates who used to use maps to find their buried treasure, we’d like you to use our weekly scavenger hunt list to find and appreciate the wealth of nature around you. Grab a friend or a parent and happy hunting! 

Check back each week for a new scavenger hunt and exploration activity. If you find something in your hunting that you’d like to share with other Schooner virtual campers, grab a parent’s help and upload it to our Community Padlet, linked here. (All submissions to the padlet will be approved by Schooner staff before public upload). 

Week 2: 

Week 1: 

Long Wharf Observations

Though Schooner camp is virtual this summer, we still wanted to include some virtual content of our Long Wharf preserve, the Schooner summer camp’s usual home, as well as other coastal observations. Check back each week for new video content that someone from Schooner will upload of the nature and wildlife that they see. 

If you and your family are able and comfortable, the Long Wharf preserve, as well as other Schooner green spaces, are open to the public for socially-distanced visits. Check out Available Green Spaces page for a full listing of the available Schooner outdoor locations that are open to the public! If you decide to visit, share any pictures or videos of animal trackings, butterfly hatchings, or anything else you see and find interesting on our Community Padlet board, linked here. (All submissions to the padlet will be approved by Schooner staff before public upload). 

Week 1: 

Week 2: 

Week 1 Observations

Gather Corps Coastal Rock Exploration

Week 2 Long Wharf Observations

Community Science

Schooner needs YOU to help us with our scientific research. Each week, we will feature a new science project, equipped with reports, age-friendly data collection guides, and how-to videos explaining each project. As you study your surroundings and move forward with each experiment, you’ll gain an intimate knowledge of the plants and creatures that exist around you, and that knowledge could then help protect those critters and their natural habitats. Help us collect real scientific data from your neighborhood. 

If being a scientist this summer sounds fun (we sure think it will be), check back each week for a new project, as you become a part of the Schooner scientific research team!

Week 1: Get involved in Project Limulus

Horseshoe Crabs are listed as a Threatened Species, even though they have been living on this Earth for more than 300 million years. So what can you do to help? A local study called Project Limulus helps to track the health of Horseshoe Crabs and their habitat in the Long Island Sound. They host a few tagging events that are open to the public, which YOU can participate in.

Week 2: Get involved in Naturally Curious New Haven

Are you curious to learn more about the plant and animal species that live in New Haven. Get involved with iNaturalist and our own New-Haven project, Naturally Curious New Haven.

With over 3900 nature observations already made by community members to Naturally Curious New Haven, you can explore iNaturalist and possibly identify some of the same plants and animals in your own neighborhood. If you decide to contribute your own observations, you’re adding to a collection of data used by scientists all around the world. How cool is that!

Follow and contribute to Naturally Curious New Haven and see what other people have been finding in our area.

Learn more about Project Limulus

Explore Your Neighborhood!

Have you ever wondered what type of plant is growing by the sidewalk or what type of bird you might be hearing in the morning? Do you want to learn more about the diverse plants, insects, and small critters that, like you, call your New Haven neighborhood home? We at Schooner are also interested in learning more about your neighborhood and want to help you do the the same!

Send us pictures of your own exploration and questions you have along the way. Send pictures to or post them on the padlet

Use or follow the hashtag #natureonmyblock to see what others are finding, this is also a place to ask questions.

If you’re a teen and interested in contributing to Nature on my Block’s content (or any of the other environmental education segments Schooner is offering this summer), please click here to let us know you’re interested! You can also explore our Gather Corps tab to learn more about the teen leadership program we’re offering this summer!

If you’re not a teen, but you’d also like an opportunity to explore your neighborhood, grab a friend or parent (or both!) and use our weekly scavenger hunt as a springboard for your own natural neighborhood investigations.

Week 1 Social Media Hashtag to follow:


Follow and use this hashtag this week and throughout the summer and tag @gathercorps and @gathernewhaven .

Record the town you are reporting from and your nature observation.

Week 2 Social Media Hashtag to follow:



Follow and use this hashtag this week and throughout the summer and tag @gathercorps and @gathernewhaven .

Record the town you are reporting from and your nature observation.

Nature on My Block Report


We at Schooner believe that knowledge of the nature in your surroundings can lead to a powerful interaction between you and the natural life around you.

Each week, we’ll post new fun facts and trivia about New Haven’s natural environment, and we’ll challenge you to think deeply about how you can positively impact the nature around you. Check back weekly for new content!

If you like our nature trivia and would like to learn more, be sure and check out our creature of the week page and all the fun facts we’ll share there. 

Coming Soon!

Activity Guide Archive

Did you miss a newsletter email or just want to go back and review a past newsletter’s content? Each week, we’ll add an online copy (as both an online and PDF copy) for you to look through at any time. Happy Learning!

Find the email newsletter archives here!

Week 1: 

Week 2: 

The Weekly Quill

One of the many ways we are encouraging campers to get involved this summer is through our Camp Pen Pals program. With so much online content through virtual learning or zoom hangouts, we know you and your child would sometimes like a break from the screen; with this pen pal initiative, Schooner is taking inter-camper engagement old school. While we can’t send each other a message in a bottle, we are giving parents the opportunity to sign their children up to be paired with a camp pen pal of similar age. For children 12 and up, we also will offer a pairing with an IRIS refugee, in order that your child’s letters might help another child learn English. Additionally, you could talk directly with Nikki, your Schooner Camp Director, by mailing your letter to 817 Grand Ave, New Haven, CT. 

Check back weekly for Schooner-related discussion topics that can help guide the content of your children’s letter.

Prompt 1:

Favorite things- let each other know what are some of your favorite things to do in the summer. If you’ve been to Schooner camp, what was one of your favorite memories

*check in about favorite nature sightings

Prompt 2:

If you could be any animal, what would you be? Would you fly, swim, walk on four legs? What creature power would you most like to have and why?

Community Announcements Board

Zoom Campfire Fridays @ 4pm Sign up here

Please sign up by friday morning so we know how many to anticipate.

Come share you nature findings of the week!

Check back here each week for important updates and announcements and future events (virtual or otherwise) related to Schooner camp and the resources we will be offering. 

Guide Glossary

As you’ve engaged with our newsletter, did you see a word that you didn’t know? Each week, we’ll create a list of vocabulary words from our activity guide where we will define new words in easy-to-understand terms. Check back each week for an updated list!

Did we miss a word, or was there a word we didn’t define that you didn’t know? Post any words you’d like defined, or any words you’ve defined yourself that you’d like included, on our Community Padlet board, linked here. A Schooner representative will get back to you shortly to help facilitate your learning!

Week 2: 

Oyster Glossary

Week 1: 

Horseshoe Crab Glossary

While Schooner is unable to take place in person this year, we wanted to include a list of Schooner’s green spaces that, if you feel comfortable, you and your family could visit for a socially-distanced nature outing. Our preserves and land holdings are large enough to ensure families could visit while still maintaining a safe distance from others. Use the list below as a reference guide for open spaces!

If you decide to visit, share any photo or video findings of the nature that you see on our Community Padlet. If you’d like to refrain from visiting but still interact with Schooner’s nature content, scroll through the Community Padlet to see other people’s observations, or check out our Long Wharf Observations, where we will compile Schooner-created content from what we observe at Schooner’s Long Wharf Preserve (the usual home of Schooner Summer camp). 

Long Wharf Information:

Parking- available near Sound School entrance and across from Veterans Park

Entrance- Near Sound School and Veterans Park(refer to Stars on map)

Restrictions- Dogs must be leashed to protect the habitat and nesting wildlife, no camping, carry-in/carry-out trash policy, Closes at Dusk

Pond Lily Information:

Parking- parking available at basketball courts across the street from the main entrance and along the street.

Entrance– Main entrance located along East Ramsdell Street, residential entrance for residents only to park there

Restrictions– Dogs must remain on leash to protect the habitat and nesting wildlife, no camping, carry-in/carry-out trash policy, Closes at Dusk.

Quinnipiac Meadows Information:

Parking– located at gate @ 1040 Quinnipiac Ave; try not to block gate. Gate will be open for special events to accommodate for extra parking

Entrance– pedestrian entrance located to the left of gate

Restrictions– Dogs must be leashed to protect habitat and nesting wildlife, No Camping, Carry-In/Carry-Out Trash Policy, Closes at Dusk.

Feedback Survey

Tell us how we’re doing! As this summer is an adaptive learning process for both your kids and the Schooner Camp organizers, please fill out this feedback survey with any thoughts or comments on the content we’re providing. What’s working? What’s not? Help us improve our engagement with you!


Stay up to date with what's going on at
Gather New Haven