Educational Programs

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools are unable to take field trips. We have decided to offer a safe outdoor field trip opportunity for families! We are excited to announce that we will be offering Family Field Trips starting in September.

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A Field Trip for your Family to Experience the Natural World!

McDowell Environmental Center and The Farm School announce a new way to safely get away during COVID-19. McDowell “Family Field Trips” are an educational and relaxing three-day experience of exploration.

At McDowell, we believe that experiential education, through inquiry and self-discovery leaves long-lasting impressions and a deeper understanding of the world around you and yourself. Bring your family for this very personalized field trip.

Experiences over three days include:

  • - Raptor Program: Meet our birds of prey!
  • - A Taste of the Farm: Interact with our goats, chickens, and pigs, then harvest and enjoy farm-fresh food.
  • - Nature Hikes: Explore some of our 1400+ acres of canyons,
  • streams and sandstone formations with specific topics
  • - Canoeing on the Lake or Creek


  • You will have three options for lodging which will affect the price. Three day-two night visit
  • (this includes 6meals, 2 nights lodging, programming)
  • Program Cost and Meals: $125.00
  • Lodging:
  • Clear Creek Cabins-Lodging for two nights: $40.00/person
  • Bethany Village Cabins-Lodging for two nights: $50.00/per person
  • Hotel Style-Lodging for two nights: $260.00/room (up to 4 people/room)
  • View more details and pictures of lodging options:
  • ** Ages 2 and under are free**
  • Extras:
  • Ropes: $40.00/Family
  • Guided Canoe: $30.00/Family

Stay Connected During this Time - McDowell Educational Videos

  • We are missing you at Camp McDowell and want to stay connected. Visit our YouTube Channel to see our educational series.
  • Bring your curiosity and share with your friends!

Educational Programs Overview

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

McDowell's educational programs help students and adults connect to the natural world and the foods they eat. The classes offered in the Environmental Center, Farm School, and Magnolia Nature School are all correlated to the Alabama state educational standards. Teachers who participate receive continuing education credits through AMSTI. To date, thousands of students and teachers from hundreds of schools from Alabama and the surrounding states have come through our educational programs. These programs are an essential part of McDowell's main mission to show the way the world could be. Click on any of the programs or activities below to learn more.

McDowell Environmental Center

Environmental Center

Our program provides outdoor learning experiences that can't be found in a classroom for school groups. Learning takes place through exploration and inquiry in the forests, canyons, and streams of beautiful Camp McDowell. Participants are immersed in the beauty and splendor of nature, thereby learning the importance of taking care of the environment. We introduce them to problem-solving, team building, and ways we can make the world a better place.

Click HERE for more.

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McDowell Farm School

Students who attend the Farm School are able to make connections about the foods we eat and how it comes to our plates. Sustainable agriculture, team-work, and hands-on caring for our gardens and farm animals are some of the experiences students take with them. Whether it be milking a goat or harvesting a carrot, students create connections and a deeper understanding of their involvement in food systems. This is an eye-opening experience of enlightenment that will impact the students for their entire lives.

Click HERE for more.

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Magnolia Nature School

Magnolia Nature School is one of Alabama's only nature preschools. During the school year, children ages 3-5 do most of their learning in the great outdoors through exploration of the farm, forest, and streams of wonderful, wonderful Camp McDowell. Magnolia uses a child-centered immersive curriculum. The preschool is partnered with Community Action Partners of North Alabama (CAPNA) to provide Head Start for many of the children. During the summer, ages 3-8 daily attend the Magnolia Summer Day Camp to explore and learn in God's Backyard.

Click HERE for more.

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Teacher Workshops

McDowell Educational Programs offer teachers exciting and adventurous ways to acquire their continuing education credits! We give teachers new ideas, materials, strategies, and skills to take back to their classrooms while providing credits through AMSTI. Our educator workshops get teachers more comfortable with the outside classroom so that they will return to their classes refreshed and enthusiastic about taking their students outside.

Click HERE for more.

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Educational Outreach

The Animal Program, Venture Out, and Environmental Education are outreach programs affiliated with the McDowell Environmental Center. Some are offered both at camp and remotely while others are offered at the participant's location or in a remote place. We would love to bring a little bit of McDowell to your group - just reach out to us for more info!

Click HERE for more.

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Watch this video for a virtual tour of the McDowell Environmental Center and Farm School.

Click HERE for more Environmental Center videos.

Click HERE for more Farm School videos.