What We Offer
When you join The Field Co-op, you not only become part of a community of people committed to learning together, you also gain access to our members-only website featuring a calendar with field trips and gatherings. The group also provides opportunities for interest-led classes and community service.
We are founded in the belief that there is a world of learning possible when we seek to encounter new people and places outside our regular routines. We aim to help our members have as many of these types of experiences as possible to foster connection and growth.
No matter where we go, we try to meet with a person on site so that we can ask questions. These conversations make for memorable experiences and enduring relationships with people at work in our communities. Families do not just explore interesting places—we get to know curators, falconers, architects, foragers, professors, marine biologists, musicians, and more. The list keeps growing.
Addititionally, we offer co-op classes that meet for 4 week sessions on Monday afternoons in Swarthmore. Classes offered thus far include:
- basket weaving
- American Sign Language
- young entrepreneurs
To hear what our members are saying, please click here.
To see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), please click here.
Please find below brief descriptions of some trips and workshops we've enjoyed in the past couple years:
Science History Museum
We visited the exhibit "Downstream" and learned about over 200 years of water usage and protection in the Philadelphia area.
In this tour of Philadelphia Salvage's wood shop, we heard about the environmental benefits of using reclaimed materials, learned about a few custom projects, and enjoyed a rare chance to use a torch on wood.
Falconer (Raptor Jawns)
A certified falconer told us about her birds of prey, fielded many questions, and shared about her fascinating path to falconry.
We visited a local harpsichord maker and learned about the unusual history of this instrument, how pianos work differently, and why this man loves making harpsichords so much!
Reading Public Museum
Who knew that that this museum has an Egyptian mummy, a 4000-year-old funerary barge, interactive exhibits, and a planetarium? We now do.
A Swarthmore College professor showed us original frescoes, told us a bit about their history, and shared about the fascinating history of pigments. We also learned about the science and skill behind making paint and had the chance to mix our own egg tempera.
Two Chester County gardeners opened our eyes to the many varieties of this wondrous genus of plant. A few snowdrops dedicated their lives to science and we learned better how bulb plants work.
We joined the co-founder of Peg and Awl in her beautiful West Chester workshop. She told us how she learned to bind books by hand and we enjoyed trying to use all the special lingo—"folio," "signature," and "kettle stitch"—while stitching our own books together.
Wild Food + Foraging Walk
Plants have powers and we were lucky enough to learn about a few from horticulture educator, Alyssa Schimmel, on a drizzly day in May.
Jewelry Making Workshop
Shark teeth, stones, and preserved plants... who knew these were the ingredients of jewelry? Field Co-op parent, Michelle West, led us in a hands-on outdoor workshop.
There is no such thing as a soloist in gamelan, the Indonesian percussion music we (collectively) tried out during Professor Tom Whitman's amazing workshop.
Rough & Tumble Historical Association
Steam engines are alive and well in one corner of PA. We learned about old machines, lanterns, trains, lathes, compressors that still work and got to see a few in action, thanks to our marvelous guides Kathleen and Tom.
Ever make a curved object using only straight lines? A mathematician parent showed us how... hyperboloids! (Also, we ate doughnuts...)
Wagner Free Institute
We enjoyed a talk on evolution in the lecture hall and then a scavenger hunt among some old and unusual finds at this amazing museum, a local treasure.
With the guidance of local educator Kelly Dillon, we met in the woods and first learned to draw listening maps, then worked in teams to create shelters.
Philadelphia Orchestra Open Rehearsal
We watched The Philadelphia Orchestra at work in rehearsal, observing firsthand the artistic collaboration between a world-class conductor and amazing musicians.
National Constitution Center
We saw an inspired performance about our nation's founding and stood face to face with the Constitution's signers (or statues of them that were shockingly life-like!)
Leveling the Playing Field
We sorted donations at Leveling the Playing Field, an organization dedicated to expanding access to youth sports and recreation programs.
Industrial Repair Center (Chalmers and Kubeck)
We got a rare glimpse inside an industrial maintenance and respair shop where we saw how repairs are done on large pieces of equipment, from the water filters that keep nuclear power plants running to the gear boxes that turn boat propellers.
Seven Stars Dairy
This local dairy has a little over 100 cows and we were able to ask well over 100 questions to our friendly guide, Ryan, who answered each and every one.
We visited a 19th century operating theater and learned about the history of Pennsylvania Hospital, built in 1751 to care for the "sick poor and insane."
Herr's Factory Tour
We saw the speed with which half a million potatoes turn into thousands of pounds of chips each hour. So many machines and so so SO many chips (and pretzles!)
Howell Living History Farm
We learned about maple sugaring, its history and practice, in this well-run, hands-on, workshop.
A guided visit to William Penn's house gave us a glimpse of Penn's life, a peak into 17th c. medicine, and the chance to try our hands at writing with quill pens.
Heinz National Wildlife Preserve
We made homes for native bees and explored this urban wildlife preserve together on one of the first warming days of spring.
"Fight," we learned, means "dense vegetation" or "brambles best avoided." That is, if you are orienteering. A volunteer from the Delaware Valley Orienteering Association opened up the wide world of map reading and woods exploration for us at Ridley Creek State Park.
We stepped into the past and had the chance to participate in hands-on archeology workshops at Newlin Grist Mill, a local mill, estabilshed in 1704.
The Clay Studio
We enjoyed working with clay in a gorgeous new building that provides studios and exhibition space to local artists.
The Wetlands Institute
Our eyes were opened to the beauty, vitality, and great importance of salt mashes at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. We learned about birds, mussels, fiddler crabs, horseshoe crabs, the magnifient properties of mud, and more through hands-on activities and exploration.
Wharton Esherick Studio & Home
We were mesmerized by what craft plus imagination plus wood can make on this tour of a local treasure and National Historic Landmark for Architecture, the home and studio of Wharton Esherick.
We enjoyed a guided walking tour of the village and mansion, exploring the significant history of this nationally-recognized historic site.
We watched company dancers rehearse for an upcoming NYC tour then enjoyed the rare opportunity to work with a teaching artist and learn some moves!
Japanese Tea House
After a tour of the Shofuso Japanese tea house & garden, designed by a mid-century modernist architect and built with traditional materials and techniques, we participated in a tea ceremony.
Learning about the careers that various people pursue to keep Longwood running was the subject of our escape-room-style group visit at this gorgeous public garden.
The art and practice of stained glass captivated us as we observed how this long-standing tradition is maintained at a local shop.
Piano Factory Tour
We toured Philadelphia's oldest piano factory which has been assembling and restoring pianos with an ear for beautiful sound since 1891.
History meets ice cream cream at this local treasure. Co-founder, Eric Berley, gave us a tour and spoke about how he and his brother weave their love of history, antiques, food, and sustainability into their business.
Ship to Shore
We gathered for a live "ship to shore" interaction over Zoom with scientists, engineers, and educators aboard the Nautilus expedition where they are mapping the sea floor and characterizing deep-sea habitats through Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs).
How I Came to Love Shakespeare
The artistic director of Delaware Shakespear shared the story of his personal journey to loving the works of Shakespeare in this interactive one-hour performance. Part presentation, part one-man show, his program included material from Hamlet, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and more.
East Falls Glassworks
Professional glassblowers made several objects while explaining the art and science of glassblowing. We saw 2000 degree molten glass slowly take the shape of a snowman!