Students & Scouts

The perfect way to learn about the importance of food, farming, and nature is to visit a real working farm, and we look forward to sharing farming adventures with your class or group!

The classes below have already been designed for Pre-K through 7th grade. They are designed to take about 90 minutes, but can be adjusted to suit the needs of your group.

Have older students? If you'd like to add more learning activities to your visit and make the topics below more appropriate for older students, we can work with you to customize a fun and educational experience! Great for high school or college classes, homeschool co-ops, scout troops, 4-H clubs, etc. Please contact us regarding any specific curricular areas you’d like us to focus on with you.

Contact us to discuss and plan a great visit for your group! Be thorough...let us know what you're looking for and when, so we can start planning a great educational event for your group. We have a great staff of experienced and successful farmers on staff, as well as a trained educator, ready to work with you.

 

The Blue Star Barn at NSO:
3232 Limestone Rd. Cochranville, PA 19330

Call 484-502-7360 if you need help finding us

Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled starting time

Parking, walkways, buildings, and restrooms are all handicapped-accessible.

The farm itself is not handicapped accessible
(we'll be walking only over grassy terrain; it is not wheelchair, walker, or stroller-friendly)

Late arrivals: We will try to accomodate you as best we can, but late arrival will likely result in the reduced length of your tour.

 

Teacher/Chaperone Guidelines: This is a working farm and orchard which makes it a very busy place. Your tour guide and the farm staff are committed to teaching your group about the farm and the tour subject you have chosen. Teachers and chaperones are expected to maintain control and ensure proper behavior of the children/students during the entire visit. In order to maintain a safe environment, no roughhousing, disrespect of nature or other people, and/or outright damage to crops or plants is allowed. Activities for your group are planned to ensure your safety and to provide you with an educational experience, so tour groups must remain with their guide. Please be respectful and helpful to your guide by being active in the control of the children in your group for the enjoyment and safety of all.

Things to bring with you:

Snacks appropriate for your group. We will provide snack time at the end of your tour, and will have samples of seasonal farm produce available for your enjoyment. However, due to dietary restrictions and preferences, we suggest your students have with them snack items suitable for their own needs. 

Beverages: We don't want our guests to wilt faster than the plants in the garden! Please have your group come with a water bottle if at all possible. Plentiful water refills are free, and we'll have individually-packaged beverages (water bottles, juice, milk) available for purchase.

More Guests?: If you wish to add additional children and/or adults after you have registered, please contact us ahead of time, so we can plan accordingly for your group.

Please do not bring animals/pets on your visit.

 

Weather conditions can vary and change quickly. Please check the forecast and make sure your group is prepared with the proper attire for the projected weather and outdoor conditions. Be prepared for changes in temperature, wind, or a surprise rain shower by bringing a light jacket.

All tours at NSO are walking tours, and NSO is a working farm. Sensible enclosed shoes or sturdy sandals (like Keens or Tevo types) are recommended as the dirt and grass paths may be uneven, damp, and/or muddy. Stay safe and leave your fancy footwear at home.

Some other weather-related items you may want to bring are sunscreen, bug spray, and sunglasses or a hat. 

In case of inclement weather, we will cancel due to weather only if we feel the conditions would make your visit unsafe or valueless. A threat of a shower or light rain will not neccesarily cancel your class. If we decide to cancel due to the weather, we'll contact you the day before or morning of your class.

If your plans change, you may modify/cancel your class up to 7 days prior to the date booked and receive a full refund. Any cancellations that occur less than 7 days prior to your scheduled tour date will be refunded at 50%. Cancellations initiated by you less than 48 hours prior to tour date are not refundable.

We will cancel a class if there are not at least 6 students scheduled to attend. We'll be in touch with you at least 3 days in advance of your class in that case, to either reschedule, cancel and refund, or you can optionally cover the cost of 6 students in order to hold the class.

If we must cancel your class for any reason, we will be in touch with you as soon as possible to either come up with an alternative date or will refund your registration fee in full. 

 

Classes are $10.00 per student (minimum 6 students required. For less than 6 students, $60 will be charged to cover the instructor's time). Adults/Chaperones are free.

Additional fees may be assessed if additional materials (ex. dissections) or timeframe longer than 90 minutes are required. 
For large groups, or for those led primarily by your own instructor, fees will be negotiated on an individual basis.

All classes require 50% deposit when booked, with balance due before class starts.

Young Student Classes must have at least 1 attending adult/chaperone per every 5 children. Please limit to 2 adults per every 5 children.

Older Student Classes must have at least 1 attending adult/chaperone per every 7 children. Please limit to 2 adults per every 7 children.

Maximum class size: 20 to 25 students.

 

NSO is a working farm, and while we strive to provide as safe an environment as possible, we require your help in maintaining the safety of your group and other farm visitors. Please:

  • Adhere to all instructions and/or warnings your guide, farm staff, or farm signage provide.
  • Review above suggestions on this webpage about what to wear and bring so you remain comfortable and safe.
  • Be pro-actively mindful and involved with the children and others in your group to make sure all follow farm and tour guide safety protocols.

Your tour guide and the North Star Orchard farm staff reserve the right to cancel/stop your activity in progress if the above guidelines on this webpage are not adhered to. Our concern is for the safety of your group, our staff, and the farm itself. Refunds will not be issued if a class is stopped in this manner.

The responsible party for your group will be required to read and agree to our "Release of Liability" document when signing up for a class.

Laurie Brundage has been giving tours and teaching students of all ages since working in the Halophyte Biology Laboratory at the University of Delaware where she earned a Master’s of Science Degree.  

She has taught in Delaware public schools, college laboratories, various nature centers, home school co-ops, and on summer field trips for a private school in Virginia.  She especially enjoys teaching “in the field” where students can learn by doing.

Other instructors (depending on class content) may include:

Kevin Booth: Kevin has been the Garden Manager for NSO for three seasons, and previously worked in ornamental horticulture and tropical agriculture. He is also a secondary education substitute teacher. He holds a BS in plant biology from Penn State and a MS from Cornell where he studied the physiology of cassava, the tropical staple crop.

Lena Dati: Lena is an avid home gardener and Assistant Orchardist at NSO. She has also been the NSO greenhouse manager and has been working closely with Farmer Ike in the farm's vegetable and fruit breeding projects. In her free time, she participates in seed-exchange networks, collecting heirlooms both edible and ornamental. A self-described, "homestead-hopeful," Lena seeks to learn everything she needs to start her own farm-based business. Having been mostly self-taught, she's eager to share what she's learned thus far!

Ike Kerschner: One of the farm owners, Ike has been growing fruit and vegetables since he was a child. He graduated from Penn State with a BS in Agricultural Sciences, and has since been teaching and consulting in both fruit and vegetable topics in addition to starting NSO in 1992. He is most interested in fruit and vegetable breeding and is an apple explorer extraordinaire.

Josh Fitzgerald: An Assistant Orchardist at NSO for several years now, Josh holds two BS degrees in forestry and has worked for several farms since graduating. He can be hired for pruning and backyard orchard care consulting for homeowners.

Please contact us to start planning your educational adventure!