Educational programming

At Reflection Riding, we believe that education is the key first step towards conservation, preservation, and a better understanding of the world. Our educational programs aim to cultivate and inspire an interest in science and the importance of nature with hands-on, experiential learning that leaves a lasting impact on kids of all ages. Below you will find our programming broken down by grade and by theme, as well as the option to create your own field trip to align with your class’s current studies. Please contact Rosie Lee via email at [email protected] or call us at (423) 821-1160 with questions or requests.

Ready to reserve? Schedule a program

by grade level

by program Theme

Endangered Red Wolf Programs

Junior Howlers (K-2)

Students will learn how the Red Wolf was brought to near extinction, and then restored. Through interactive, hands-on activities, students will experience how this species communicates, their life cycle and what a year in the life of a pack looks like, i.e. their diet, habitats, etc. 

The Necessary Predator (3-5)

Students will learn how this native species became endangered, the effects of removing a top predator from our local landscape, their role in the food chain and how this impacts our biodiversity. Then, students will learn the measures taken to restore this top predator and future efforts to bring them back. 

From the Brink of Extinction: The Red Wolf (Middle and High)

Students will learn about the Species Survival Plan for the critically endangered Red Wolf. They will learn innate vs learned behaviors through the use of an ethogram, and use a punnett square to learn about genetic hybridization of coyotes. Students will then take a hike to learn about the natural habitats and their uses for the Red Wolves. 

Come to Your Senses

(GLE 0007. Checks for Understanding 90007, 90007.3.1 & 90007.5.1)

Using their five major senses, children Pre-K to Kindergarten will make a mind-body connection in order to experience their natural world. They will learn about the differences between plants and animals and get to observe native animals going about their lives. 

Flora & Fauna

(K.LS1 & K.LS3.1)

Join Reflection Riding naturalists to explore the functions of an ecosystem using all five senses.  Students will move through the forest, greenhouse, and native animal exhibit to learn first  hand about key attributes that aid in locomotion, obtainment of food, air intake, and heredity;  from plants, to animals, to abiotic features of the forest.

Fossil Friends


Students will explore the fossils of plants and animals that once inhabited Tennessee and the  ecosystems in which they lived. Then, in a pond study and discussion of our native (and  near extinct) red wolves, students will gain an understanding of the role of genes in survival.

Life Cycles

(Checks for Understanding 90107.1.2, GLE 0107.3.1, GLE 0107.4.1, GLE 0207.2.2 Investigate living things found in different places, GLE 0207.4.1 Checks for Understanding 90207.4.1, GLE 0307.1.1, SPI 0307.4.1, 3-LS1-1)

This program is designed to give students an all inclusive look into the lives of the critters that surround us. Using scientific tools, students will experience first-hand: anatomy, the ability for change, and life cycle of the organisms in our neighboring habitats. 

Where and Why

(Checks for Understanding 90107.2.1, GLE 0107.5.1, Checks for Understanding 90107.5.1, GLE 0207.2.1, GLE 0207.2.2, GLE 0207.3.1, GLE 0207.5.1, SPI 0307.1.1, SPI 0307.5.1) 

Students will observe plants and animals, investigating their habitats. Then, they’ll explore organisms’ characteristics and evaluate how these features enable it to survive in a particular environment. Students will recognize that animals eat plants or other animals for food. 

Cherokee Child

Students will explore the beliefs, customs, ceremonies, and traditions of the Native American People. They will hear stories from American Indian legends that reflect the cultural history of various regions in Tennessee and the United States to determine their central message, lesson, and culture. Students will gain an understanding of the Cherokee people’s religious beliefs, customs, and various folklore traditions.

Pond Study

During this lesson, students will do a basic scientific experiment to determine the water quality in the pond at Reflection Riding. They will catch animals to show diversity, and use pH paper to test for acidity. The students will also get a chance to learn about the creatures they catch by learning new vocabulary and comparing their life cycles. 

Why So Cirrus?

(3.ESS2, 3.ESS3, 3.ETS2)

While walking a small part of our very own watershed, this program is designed to illustrate  the movement and purpose of water in our landscape. Students will work on forming solutions to dangerous weather patterns and play an interactive, informative game.

Adaptation Station

(2.LS1, 2.LS2, 2.LS3)

Students will make inductive observations about native wildlife and pond life, and their adaptations that perfectly suit their environments. We will touch on heredity, variation of traits,  conservation, and changing environments.

Go with the (Energy) Flow

(SPI 0307.2.2, SPI 0307.3.2, SPI 0407.3.1, SPI 0607.2.1, SPI 0607.2.2, SPI 0607.10.3) 

Students will investigate the different levels of the food chain by exploring in the forest and playing a predator/prey simulation game. They will also visit native animals on exhibit and learn about their place in the food chain and why they are important. 

Energy is Never Lost

(6LS2, 6LS4, 6.ESS3)

Students will determine the impact of the interactions and relationships between plants and animals through forest hikes, pond studies, and a meet and greet with some of our native Animal  Ambassadors.

Unbe-leaf-able Program

(1.LS1 & 1.LS2)

This program centers around the wonderful world of plants. Students will move around the  property learning about these green specimen, both good and bad for our ecosystem. We will  discuss structure, life cycle and basic needs of plants with interactive activities to further support our learning.

In Sync with Instincts


Students will observe three native animal ambassadors for learned versus innate behaviors, then chart their behaviors in an ethogram, while discussing the implications of habituation. Then, students will discuss possibilities for enrichment for our native animals, using a scientific study, to cater to these behaviors.

build your own field trip

Our programs can be geared toward any learning standard and subject. Pick 2-3 of these hands-on learning experiences to apply to the material your class is covering. If your ideal topic is not listed, we can discuss alternate focuses that may fit your needs. We've listed a few general topics we cover as ideas below.


  • Forest Log Roll
  • Invasive Plant Hike & Removal
  • EcoArts
  • Nature Journaling


  • Native Animal Encounter With Focus
  • Senses
  • Adaptations
  • Food Web
  • Herpetology
  • Avian Science
  • Predator/Prey 
  • Pond Study
  • Habitats


  • Clouds
  • Climate and Weather
  • Water Cycle
  • Water Quality

Share this page