The Teva Learning Center is a non-denominational educational
service for students who attend Jewish Day schools, Hebrew schools,
camps and community centers. Teva is sponsored by Shomrei Adamah
at Surprise Lake Camp, an agency of UJA-Federation of New York.
The residential program for 5th and 6th grade students integrates
the study of ecology and environmental education with Jewish concepts
and values through hands-on activities in a cooperative, non-competitive
outdoor setting. By using the forest as their classroom, Teva
students also develop a greater sense of responsibility, independence,
and self-esteem. They leave the program having forged intimate
connections with each other and the natural world and with a deeper
knowledge of how Judaism can inform our interactions with the
rest of creation.
Curriculum: Over the course of four
days and three nights, students participate in two types of daytime
classes: Kvutzot (field groups) and Chugim (electives).
In Kvutzot, students spend most of their time hiking and
exploring forest and lake ecosystems. They also take part in an
outdoor Challenge Course that promotes group-building skills and
creative problem solving. In chugim, students choose classes on
environmental and Jewish topics. Offerings are based on the particular
interests and skills of the staff, and in the past have included
Shelter Building, Jewish Meditation, Birdfeeder Making, Birding,
Orienteering, Jewish Eco-drama and Paper Making.
also participate in all group programs. These will include: Nightly
song sessions, a game on Predator/Prey relationships, a Garbage
Show (a multi-media interactive presentation on solid waste),
and a Teva Graduation Ceremony. Every student also participates
in a night hike.
Schools will lead their own shacharit (morning prayer)
services with assistance from Teva Learning Center staff members.
Blessings are said before and after eating and taught for other
natural events as a way of cultivating awareness and expressing
wonder and gratitude. Additional prayer times can be scheduled
Facilities: The Teva Learning Center
is hosted by several sites. Each
offers excellent hiking opportunities and outdoor recreational
space. All sites offer comfortable lodging and strictly kosher
Safety: All Teva staff members are
first-aid and CPR certified and carry first-aid kits at all times.
They also receive basic wilderness medical training. In addition,
a medical professional is on site and on duty all day. In case
of a medical emergency, there is a hospital less than 20 minutes
away from each site.
Staff: The resident Teva Learning Center
staff includes an Administrative and an Educational Director,
a Program Coordinator, a medical professional and a teaching staff
of qualified field group leaders and specialists. In addition,
schools bring adult teacher chaperones.
In addition to providing teachers with resources once they leave
Teva, we also offer a variety of classes
throughout the week. While the students are off hiking and
learning about our natural world, teachers can also spend the
week enhancing their knowledge of Judaism and the environment.
detailed descriptions of the classes.
Additionally, the Teva staff is more than happy to work with
teachers on specific projects
are interested in or obstacles they may run into at their school.
In the past, we have worked with schools on implementing recycling
programs, building school gardens, and even slightly adjusting
some of the activities at Teva to better fit into the school's
curriculum. The Teva staff has a wealth of collective knowledge
on a wide range of environmental and Jewish topics, so please
feel free to speak with us.