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Virtual Schooner Camp Resources

Get on Board to Get Outside with

Schooner’s High Tide Activity Guide!


Ahoy Schooner Campers and Parents!

A Message from your Camp Director

Thank you for your participation this summer!

These resources will continue to be available for anyone to use.

Please share these resources far and wide to help in your classroom, learning pod, homeschooling and/or overall preparation for next years Schooner Camp!

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. 

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!

Free Educational Resources, Activities, Crafts and Videos for all to enjoy!

Use for your own at home learning and/or to prepare for Schooner Camp!

Learn about food webs, wind, waves, wetland, composting and more in these free downloadable PDFs.

(To learn more about these topics or need the complete English or Spanish versions of these activities they can be found in the Activity Guides PDFs(full) tab)

Additional videos

Each of these Nature Journal Prompts provide you with ideas for exploring and recording what you find out on your nature explorations. Use your microscope eyes and even your imagination to bring your backyard alive.

Additional coloring pages are located in the Full Versions of the Activity Guides

Activity Guide Archive

Here are the complete Activity Guides that were created this summer. These activities are universal and can be used any time of year. Since the summer has come to an end these activity guides with remain on our website for anyone to use.

Feel free to add the our community padlet to share your completed activities.




Did you miss a newsletter email or just want to go back and review a past newsletter’s content? 

Find the email newsletter archives here!

Week 6: 

Week 5: 

Week 4: 

Week 3: 

Week 2: 

Week 1: 

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.

Boat Streamlining and Invasive Species

Learn with our Gather Corps Member, Zach, about boat streamlining and invasive species!

How to tie the Bow Line Knot

Join our Gather Corps member, Annie, as she leads us through a bow line knot tutorial!

Points of Sail

Learn about Points of Sail with our Gather Corps member, Annie!

Learn about the 420 Sailboat

Overview 420 Sailing Boat Parts with our Gather Corps member, Annie!

Overview 420 Sailboat Knot Uses with our Gather Corps Member, Caleb!

How to tie an 8 knot

8 Knot Tutorial with our Gather Corps Member, Caleb

How to tie a square knot

Square Knot Tutorial with our Gather Corps member, Caleb!

Additional educational videos created by our teenage volunteers, Gather Corps, that work all summer putting these videos together for you, Enjoy!


Follow all of Gather Corps Videos on our youtube channel 

Learn with our Gathercorps member, Violet, about the insect pitfall trap

Join our Gather Corps member, Margo, in this week's aquatic engineering foil boat project

Learn with Gathercorps member, Zach, about food webs

Join our Gather Corps member, Sadie, as she leads us through a rope making tutorial!

Learn with Gathercorps member, Zach, about marshes

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!

Download Big Butterfly Count

One of Schooner’s goals is to help you understand the importance of every single organism (including humans) in maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem. One of those important (but possibly overlooked) organisms are butterflies.

We encourage you to join Big Butterfly Count, a UK based organization that uses regular citizens to obtain data about the butterflies they see. Download the Butterfly Count app to log your own observations or check out their website to upload your observations there! Compare the butterflies in the US versus the UK. If you don’t see the butterflies that are on the list, make your own list.

Download Schooner’s Community Science document below for the butterfly identifying guide and more in-depth info on how to get involved!

 Download Seafood Watch app


Ospreys have historically been very sensitive to bioaccumulation, a process where, because of an ecosystem’s natural food web, higher-level consumers (like ospreys) gain an increased (and sometimes dangerous) concentration of a chemical that other bodies are incapable of breaking down and therefore store.

The osprey population almost went extinct in the 1950s because of an accumulation of the chemical pesticide, DDT, that weakened their egg shells and caused them to break very easily. The osprey population survived because humans adapted to stop harming the osprey food web.

Using the app allows you to consider your relationship to the environment and the impact that your purchases and eating habits have on it. Reference the app before you eat marine products to have a full understanding of the impact your meal has on natural ecosystems. Be sure to search the app in your phone’s app store!

Get Involved with Schooner’s Trash Cleanup Initiative


Though the Long Island Sound jellies we discuss are not currently listed as endangered species, they are still very sensitive to changes in their aquatic environment, especially those linked to human pollution.

To combat this issue of human pollution, this week’s community science project is to organize a trash pickup with family or friends. Use this google form, linked here, to let us know the details of your trash pick-up.

Alternatively, you can download CleanSwell to your phone and contribute data to a worldwide source tracking pollution and cleanup efforts!

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.

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.

Learn more about Project Limulus

Can you figure out what each nature mystery is? Look at each mystery, make a guess, and then hover over the image to see the answer!


How did this coconut make it to Long Wharf?

At the Long Wharf Trash Cleanup this past weekend (8/8/20), one volunteer found this coconut. Do coconuts migrate? How did it end up here?

By Transport of an African or European Swallow?

To be honest, we're not sure how a tropical coconut ended up in Long Wharf, so your guess is as good as ours and Monty Python's. How the coconut got to Long Wharf will continue to be a mystery of the ages.


What is this?

Extra Challenge: Who do you think left it there?

A Fish Skull!

This fish skull was found by our camp director, Nikki, at Long Wharf Preserve, and was most likely dropped by an osprey. Did you know ospreys almost exclusively eat fish--it makes up 99% of their diet!


Who is this cute little creature?

Hint: The adult of this creature can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 4,400 lbs!

A Giant Sunfish Larva!

This giant sunfish larva was identified for the first time off the coast of Australia. This larva is approximately 5mm in length, but adult Sunfish can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 4,400 lbs!


What made this mysterious blue light?

Hint: the light was spotted in water!

Comb Jelly!

As we've been learning, comb jellies are one of many creatures in the New Haven area that emit light (bioluminescence). Can you think of any other creatures in New Haven that create light?


Whose track is that?

Hint: we love shells, but this is no mollusk.

Snapping Turtle Tracks!

Did you know? Snapping turtles can live to be over a 100 years old!


What do you think this is?

A pile of sticks

Were you, like our camp director, Nikki, fooled into thinking these sticks were a rabbit?

Sailing Trivia

Test your Knot Knowledge

Know your knots

Test your knot identification skills.

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!



Watch our Gather Corps member, Caleb, discuss ospreys and draw his own!

 Seaweed of LIS


Learn about Plastic Pollution with our Gather Corps member, Sadie!

Week 2: Oysters

Learn about Oysters with our Gather Corps Member, Sadie

Horseshoe crabs

Learn about Horseshoe Crabs with Sadie!


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 6:

Week 5:

Week 5 Long Wharf Observations

Week 4:

Week 4 Long Wharf Observations

Week 3: 

Week 3 Long Wharf Observations

Week 2: 

Week 2 Long Wharf Observations

Coastal Rock Exploration with our Gather Corps member, Simone

Week 1: 

Week 1 Observations

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 map
pond lily map
quinnipiac meadows trail

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.

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.


Grab a friend or parent (or both!) and use our scavenger hunts as a springboard for your own natural neighborhood investigations.

Week 6 Social Media Hashtag to follow:

#insectsonmyblock  and


Week 5 Social Media Hashtag to follow:


Week 4 Social Media Hashtag to follow:


Week 3 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.

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.

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

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 6: 

Crab Glossary

Week 5: 

Osprey Glossary

Week 3: 

Jelly Glossary

Week 2: 

Oyster Glossary

Week 1: 

Horseshoe Crab Glossary


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