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This website contains a compilation of the most successful ideas and activities related to Kids Discover the Trail! field experiences. The ideas were gathered from local teachers and Discovery Trail educators. We hope this website will serve as a "how to" manual for those new to KDT! and a repository of good ideas for more experienced educators. Please write to us with ideas, comments and feedback!


Where Kids Go to Discover the Trail!

Pre-Kindergarten, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell

“Learning to Look, Looking to Learn”


ART by Patrick McDonnell

Shapes by Education Department Interns / Bartels Scholars Sammy Perlmutter and Veronica Franzese

Kindergarten, Tompkins County Public Library

“Celebrating Stories”

KDT! BOOK: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein


First Grade, Museum of the Earth 

“Discovering Earth’s Mysteries”

KDT! BOOK: Fossils by Aliki


Second Grade, Sciencenter

“Going Places”

KDT! BOOK:  Going Places  by Paul and Peter Reynolds

Third Grade, Cornell Botanic Gardens

“Wildflower Exploration”

KDT! BOOK: Wildflowers: A Peterson’s First Guide

Fourth Grade, The History Center

“Eight Square Schoolhouse: 19th Century Life”

KDT! BOOK: The Secret School by Avi

Fifth Grade, Two Sites

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

“Biodiversity Surveys”

KDT! BOOK: Peterson First Guide to Birds of North America by Roger Tory Peterson


Cayuga Nature Center

“Team building and Leadership”

KDT! BOOK: The Climb, by Gordon Korman

What is KDT!?
Program Goals
  • Enhance classroom learning through experience-based programs.

  • Provide equal access to Discovery Trail sites.

  • Promote understanding and respect among elementary students from different neighborhoods.

  • Expand community awareness of the resources of the Discovery Trail.

Home: Homepage_about

Kids Discover the Trail! is a program that takes Pre-K through 5th grade students on curriculum-based field experiences to the eight Discovery Trail sites in Tompkins County.


Discovery Trail educators work with classroom teachers to coordinate student experiences in the field with pre-trip and post-trip classroom activities, refining curriculum as needed to align with the New York State Learning Standards for each grade. Every student receives a take-home book and a pass to return with their family for free, to sites that charge admission.

In Ithaca, schools are linked, and most visit their Discovery Trail sites together. The goal is for students to get to know others from different geographic and cultural parts of our district so when they meet in middle school there is more understanding, respect and connection.   

Home: Service
Grade Level Information


Johnson Museum of Art


Tompkins County Public Library

Museum of the Earth




Cornell Botanic Gardens


The History Center

Cayuga Nature Center 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Caroline - BJM - Sciencenter 3-23-18_104

Discovery Trail Educators Contact Information

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