RUPERT - Merck Forest and Farmland Center is offering three exciting, hands-on, learning experiences for area pre-K through college level classes this winter and spring.

Winter Forest Ecology and Wildlife Investigations runs through March and is for elementary age students. Classes will get the chance to walk in the woods, search for various signs of animals, and note various adaptations woodland animals have for winter survival. Younger students will act as "snow sleuths" as they track animals; older students will design their own shelters, mimicking the animals' winter survival techniques they observe.

Early in the spring, From Sap to Maple Syrup will give students a chance to be part of the sugaring process. Tree tapping, sugarbush explorations, and tracing the cycle of tree sap to maple syrup is all part of this morning or afternoon foray (March-April).

Late spring welcomes back last year's Lifecycles of Livestock. MFFC education staff asks students "what is it that makes each of Merck's farm animals uniquely adapted to life on the farm?" Hands-on activities allow students to get up close with the animals and be part of the working farm (April-June).

High school and college level classes are welcome to adapt the three offerings to their own course work, or to make a custom learning experience.

All of these seasonal outdoor education programs immerse students and teachers in Merck Forest and Farmland Center's dynamic working landscape, and engage them in place-based learning. All aforementioned classes are adapted to age and grade levels, and meet with Vermont's education standards.

Contact Sarah Ullman, Director of Education, to learn more about these opportunities, and to make a trip to Merck Forest.

Merck Forest and Farmland Center is located at 3270 Route 315 in Rupert. Call 802-394-7836 or visit www.merckforest.org for more information.