Exploring Nature

COVID-19 Update

SUNY Oswego along with the NY State Department of Health has been carefully tracking the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently all youth programs, activities, and camps scheduled at SUNY Oswego after June 1st will begin as planned. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SUNY Oswego reserves the right to restrict and/or cancel any and all youth programs, activities and camps scheduled during the summer based on updated guidance from New York State, SUNY and/or SUNY Oswego Officials. Any minors who participate in a youth program, activity or camp that exhibit flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to participate in the program.

Summer nature program for youth ages 5 to 16

Explore, learn, and play this summer through science activities, games, and nature walks at Rice Creek Field Station. We invite you to experience our state-of-the-art science facility, 350-acre natural area, and 5 miles of trails skirting forests, fields, ponds, and streams.

Exploring Nature is an area tradition, first established in 1983. Our dedicated and passionate instructors have been involved with Exploring Nature for many years, and most are certified teachers.

Children in pavilion  

2020 Schedule

Exploring Nature runs for two weeks each summer. Register for one or both weeks.


  • Week 1: July 6–10
  • Week 2: July 13-17

Daily schedule:

  • Monday through Friday, 9 am to 2 pm. Drop-off begins at 8:45 am.
  • New for 2020: Optional after-care program for participants from 2 to 5 pm. More details below.

Teens in pond Child holding insect


Registration runs from March 1, 2020 to June 20, 2020 (May 31 for scholarship consideration) or once the program has reached capacity.

Online Registration

  • Online fillable registration form
  • Online credit card payment link **New registrants: please do not make payment at this time, in case the program must be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. We will update all registered families closer to the program start date.**

Paper Registration

  • Printable registration form; copies are also available for pickup at Rice Creek Field Station
  • Directions for mailing/dropping off form, immunization records, and payment provided at the bottom of the form


  • Per week, standard rate: $150
  • Per week, Rice Creek Associates member rate: $130
  • Per week, after-care from 2 to 5 pm: $60

Note: There is a $25 fee per child per week for withdrawing from the program if we receive written notification by June 20 that your child cannot attend. Due to instructor plans, we will not issue refunds after June 20.


Full and partial scholarships are available based on financial need through generous funding from Rice Creek Associates and private donors. Families can apply for a scholarship using our regular registration form. We will notify families of their scholarship decision by June 5 and payment (if any remaining) will be due by June 20, the registration deadline.

Kids in a stream

After care

New this year, we are providing optional daycare for program participants from 2 to 5 pm. This is a time for monitored free play, with no formal programming. We will provide a safe space, books, puzzles, games, and a snack for participants enrolled in after care. After care costs $60 per week (just $4 per hour).


Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have additional questions? Please contact us at rcfs@oswego.edu or (315) 312-6677.

Child with muddy hands