Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center, Inc.

Allison's Woods Drive, Statesville, NC


  Reconnecting Children with Nature

Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center

Reconnecting Children With Nature!




Would you like to have your students get an up-close and personal experience with the natural world? For only $8 per student, you can have them experience a variety of 3 to 4 "mini-field trips" during their day at Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center in Statesville, North Carolina.

It's up to you and your fellow teachers to choose which of our programs best suit your curriculum...whether it is ecosystems, geology, forces and motion, animal adaptations....we have something for everyone! No age limits...we have programs to fit Kindergarten through College.

The great part about it is we are not your normal field trip provider. We don't expect you to conform to our "canned programs", since we want to be an extension of your classroom! Tell us what your targeted needs are and we will work with you to expose your students to those areas while onsite.

Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center (AWOLC) programs feature grade-specific, hands-on/minds on experiences in natural, physical and earth sciences. All of AWOLC programs are designed to further students understanding of the Nature of Science.

Our most POPULAR programs...

OLC Turtle Dogs (as seen on Animal Planet/Dogs 101 

Lake Portal

Eco Walk

Earth, Rocks & Fossils

Birds of Prey- NOW YEAR ROUND!

Scavenger Hunt

And NEW this year...

CSI Days

HA Ponics

The Life Cycle of Plants

Magic Magnets

Tree ID

Wildlife Detective




Strawberries, bananas, and onions have genes and all these genes are made of DNA. How do scientists take DNA out of a living thing? It's not that hard- there are lots of ways! In this activity, students construct DNA models and then extract DNA from strawberries, bananas, onions and more!


Meet RUBY, the Eastern Screech Owl! Now available year round! Hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls collectively form the group of predatory birds know as raptors, more commonly known as birds of prey. They are typically identified for special traits that allow them to capture and feed on prey animals. This visual experience will allow students the opportunity to learn a few of their amazing adaptations, physics in flight, human/bird relationships, predator/prey relationships, and the habits and habitats of these amazing animals. 


Explore our universe through a fun, physical way to learn about the solar system and the relative distances of the planets to the sun. Teach size and distance relationships of planets, the moon, and the sun. Learn rotation, revolution, and orbit through activities and/or demonstrations.

CSI DAY (Grades 6+)

Oh no! Bubbles the Box Turtle was stolen! The entire Allison Woods OLC team is desperate to find their beloved box turtle, Bubbles, who mysteriously went missing the night of April 6th! We need student's help to solve the mystery! Students will examine fingerprints and simulated blood samples found at the scene, as well as hair samples taken from the suspects! Was it a member of the community or one of the Allison Woods team members!? (The story of Bubbles' disappearance is fictional and Bubbles is alive and well at home.)


In this engaging program, students will become amateur geologist and investigate, learn to identify and classify several different types of rocks and soils, the earth, and the rocks and minerals that it is composed of in detail. Students will learn about trace fossils, petrified wood, the types of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary) and what they are made of, how they are formed, plate tectonics, and more. Examples will include gemstones, shark's teeth, composite fossils, as well as other fossilized skeletal structures. (Can be combined with Geology BINGO for a more interactive program.)


Explore the various components of the three geographic regions of North Carolina during this 1-mile round-trip walk to the South Yadkin River. Students will explore various components of the watershed, water, soil, plants, and animals - and their interactions. Programs are tailored to age and curriculum needs, and may include focus of special components, depending on time allowed. Offered onsite only!


What do chopsticks, tweezers, eyedroppers, and nutcrackers all have in common? Participants learn about bird beak adaptations by using tools to simulate eating different foods.


Take a close look at soda pop using an integrated science approach! Your students will test the physical properties and investigate the chemical composition of carbonated sodas. Then they'll form hypotheses, checking their predictions with experiments. Activities are designed to meet key National Science Standards!


In this interactive program, students learn about various ways of sustainable gardening techniques such as aquaponics and hydroponics. Using a visual hydroponics unit, students may see how humans can use sustainable farming methods, basic structures and functions of plants, pH, dissolved oxygen, and more!


Students become junior scientists as they perform on-shore macro-invertebrate investigation using microscopes and photographic keys to identify creatures in the water, relate organisms vital to the health of the ecosystem, and record the results. Students will also take a tour of the lake habitat on our research vessel as they discuss the impacts of human activities on water quality and resources found on Allison Lake that was established over 80 years ago. Students are required to wear life vests while onboard. The boat portion of this program is not available to 3rd grade students and below. Program will be adjusted however to those age groups.


Students will analyze the differences in plant and animal cells including similarities and differences in their organelles. Plant life cycles will give students insight into photosynthesis and other plant functions. 


This program is a fun and interactive way for young students to visualize how magnets work and the way forces and motion have an affect on what they do. Students will rotate through stations doing different activities with magnets. This program may touch on magnetic force, push, pull, movement, and more!


Counted as two program slots - this interesting activity students will be able to watch a live mortar being shot, then discuss how math is involved! From a safe distance, students will make inferences on how far each mortar ball will go, then graph the distance of each, and make final conclusions about what they saw. Information is shared back into the classroom for further discussion. (ALL safety measures are strictly enforced with this program)


In this interactive adventure where nature becomes a playground of discovery, students will become a forest detective to solve clues that nature gives them. They will determine whether they are seeing clues of animals, birds, insects, trees, fungi, rocks, eroded soil, etc. This activity teaches students to work as a team to collect as many clues as they can before time runs out!


Turtle Dogs? What is a Turtle Dog? This is a very common question!

In this interactive program students will become citizen scientist as they learn about the NC State Reptile, the Eastern Box Turtle. They will learn about habitat, food chains, predator/prey relationships, identity determination, and how they affect or determine a healthy ecosystem. Students will also learn about a program that used the Turtle Dogs to establish turtle location and other vital information used for the preservation and conservation of turtles. They will also have an opportunity to see one of the OLC "turtle dogs" at work when locating box turtles and how the system works. These dogs are recognized nationwide by conversationalists and preservationists alike. Seen on Animal Planet's Dogs 101, PBS, UNC-TV and numerous magazines, they are a one-of-a-kind program that students and adults LOVE! 


Kindergarten-3rd Grade-

In this interactive activity, students become "box turtles" to look for one or more components of box turtle habitats. Students will learn about limiting factors (food, shelter, water) and describe how the factors affect the population of box turtles. This activity ties into the Turtle Dog Curriculum. 

4th grade and up-

In this interactive activity, students work together to put various food chains/food webs together that would be found in certain environments. The students will see how predator.prey relationships affect population density. 

TREE ID (Completed in 2 parts)-

Part A: Students will discuss and examine different variations of tree species and their structures. Students may determine the different species by leaf and bark patterns discussed in the program. 

Part B: Students will discuss the aging of trees, why tree ring dating is important, internal tree structures and factors that affect tree growth. Students may examine tree specimens and determine the age of the tree. 


Students will discuss and explore different weather conditions, patterns, and phenomena. This program could include topics such as climate, cloud types, hydrologic cycle, and scientific weather equipment. 


In this interactive program, students will solve the mystery of multiple animals based upon clues from the instructors. Animal adaptations may include tracks, furs, and habitats, allowing students to draw conclusions about their friends that live in nature! 

"Visiting You" Programs

These programs can be brought into your classroom or facility anytime that transportation may be an for your group. 

This is a great option especially

during the WINTER months when the students and teachers may need a

little break from the normal "STUCK INSIDE" syndrome.

Program descriptions are same as above except Bingo, Groovy Genes, and Punnett Plants!


Students must determine the correct answer after hearing the question and then find that answer on their playing card. Students may work independently or in teams, depending upon class size.

Ecology - Explore ecology and how humans have impacted the environment. Also addresses the effects of pollution and human actions on the world. Questions explore five categories: Energy Sources, Climate Changes, Ecosystems, Endangered & Extinct Species, and GO Green!  

Motion, Forces & Energy - A great tool for helping students demonstrate an understanding of physical science. Covers five categories: Work & Machines, Motion, Forces, Energy, and Thermal Energy & Heat.

Geology - Guide students through the properties and classifications of common rocks and minerals. Categories include: Rock Cycle and Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Water Cycles and Erosion and Landforms 

Predator/Prey/Food Chains - Students have fun exploring the predator/prey relationships occurring within the natural food webs of the ecosystem in our biosphere. Five categories include : Birds of Prey, Food Chain, Land Predators, Ecosystems, and What's for lunch?

Birds of Prey

Calculating Cosmos

CSI Day!

Earth, Rocks & Fossils

Fizz, Bubble, Foam

Groovy Genes- Assist in building students’ understanding of phenotypes and genotypes of plants and                                 animals. Students will apply Mendelian genetics using Punnett squares to predict the                                   ratio of phenotypes and analyze the actual ratio of phenotypes of the second                                                   generation.

Magic Magnets

Punnett Plants-  In this fun and engaging program, students will rotate between 2 stations! In the                                             stations  the students will analyze DNA, extract DNA and make conclusions about                                         how biologists do it in real life. Students will also use Punnett squares to predict                                           phenotypes from one generation to the next. This program consists of the Groovy                                         Genes and Berry Biology Programs.

Too Many Turtles 

Turtle Dogs!

Wildlife Detective


RAIN - In the event of rain, we usually will continue as long as it is just a drizzle. If you prefer, we can continue the field trip ONLY at your site using the "Visiting You" Programs.

CANCELLATION POLICY - If you find that you are unable to continue to your requested field trip date to our facility for a reason OTHER THAN INCLEMENT WEATHER, please contact us 72 hours prior to the scheduled date. Our team starts preparing the site for your visit three days prior to arrival. IF you do not cancel your field trip in time for our team to schedule something else in its place, you will be billed for 1/2 of the visit. This will help us cover some of the materials and supplies that may have been preordered for your visit. We do encourage rescheduling IF at all possible or allowing us to come to you!

PAYMENT - All payments are due in full when your group arrives at AW Outdoor Learning Center (or when our staff arrives to deliver a program to your group) unless prior arrangements have been made for invoicing.

SPECIALIZED PROGRAMS - We want to be an extension of your classroom....let us know what you are studying and allow us to design a program to fit your needs...or it you would rather provide a "TEACHER LED PROGRAM" and use our site to teach your own program at our site...please feel free to email our team or give us a call!

COMBINATION PROGRAMS - These are available to accommodate entire grade levels as well as single programs for smaller groups of 50 and under.

SINGLE PROGRAM-FIELD RESEARCH - An option for smaller groups of grades 7 through college,  clubs and organizations that would like a more intensive field research and data collection experience. (water quality, turtle conservation programs in conjunction with Lake Portal/Eco Walk/Turtle Dogs)