Educational Programs

Sutter’s Fort SHP offers several educational programs to help connect youth to the history of our park. Most of these programs are aimed at elementary school classes, but we are excited to work with all K-12 and university groups to find appropriate programming. Most take place in-person at our park, though we also offer remote virtual programs. While a few of our programs are free, most require an additional fee.


PORTS: Virtual Programs

A uniformed California State Parks employee speaks into a cellphone camera set inside of a covered wagonParks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) Programs are free interactive virtual field trips available to all K-12 classrooms. For more information about PORTS throughout California State Parks, visit: https://www.ports-ca.us/

Classes (grades 3-5) may sign up for our On-Demand Program, “Sutter’s Fort Through Time.” In this 1 hour program, students get the opportunity to learn about the history of Sutter’s Fort while directly interacting with State Parks Staff through live, 2-way video from the Fort. To reserve one of our On-Demand PORTS Programs, visit: https://www.ports-ca.us/PORTSon-demand/browse-by-park/sutters-fort-state-historic-park 

We also offer PORTScasts, where State Parks Staff present 1-way broadcasts to the public, without a reservation requirement. Please review the PORTScast calendar for any upcoming offerings from our Park, including both “Sutter’s Fort Through Time” and “Harvest and Hides.” For recordings of select past PORTScasts. visit: https://www.youtube.com/@portsprogram 


Student Tour Program

A uniformed California State Parks employee holds candle making equipment up before a group of school children, viewed through a windowThe Sutter’s Fort Student Tour Program is a 45-minute staff-guided tour for school groups, grades 3-6. During this tour, State Parks Staff and Volunteers lead students through a series of interactive stations where they learn about the major trades that supported Sutter’s Fort during the 1840s. The stations explore the lasting impacts that these trades had on California’s environment as well as on the Native Peoples of the Sacramento Valley whose labor was central to the history of the Fort. Additionally, students are introduced to some of the significant events and themes in California history that are connected to this place.

The fee for the program is $5 per participant, adults and youth inclusive. This fee covers both program participation and site admission. Group size is limited to a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 40 persons per tour, adults and youth inclusive. Groups are required to have a minimum of 1 adult chaperone for every 10 youths. Groups are welcome to remain in the Fort following their staff-guided tour to view additional rooms and exhibits at their own self-direction.

Teachers can call ReserveCalifornia at (866) 240-4655 to book this tour. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate reservations made less than 30 days in advance of a planned visit. For additional questions about this program, please email Sonja Roberts at sonja.roberts@parks.ca.gov 


ESP and ELP: Immersive Day-Long and Overnight Programs

A child wearing jeans and a sweatshirt turns a rope lariat over her head aiming her throw to rope a wooden bulls head mounted to a sawhorseSutter’s Fort SHP offers two closely related immersive educational programs: the Environmental Studies Program (ESP) and the Environmental Living Program (ELP). ESP is an 9-hour program that runs from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. ELP is a 25-hour program that runs from 8:00 am to 9:00 am the next morning and includes an overnight stay at the Fort.

Both ESP and ELP provide classes with the opportunity to learn about California and the Sacramento Valley in the 1840s through hands-on activities rooted in the Fort’s history. Both programs provide educational experiences led by State Parks Staff and Volunteers; however, both programs require substantial volunteer commitments from adult chaperones to lead key activities supported with State Parks provided curriculum.

Both ELP and ESP are available to all elementary school groups: public, private, and home school. ESP is also available for middle and high school groups. Both programs are limited to a maximum number of 100 student participants.

For more information on the application process, cost, and available dates, or for any other questions, please contact Jared Jones at Jared.Jones@parks.ca.gov or (916) 802-9723.


Additional Educational Resources

All individuals, families, and school groups are invited to download and print this free Timeline Activity for youth to use while visiting the Fort. This paper-based activity is aimed at 4th-6th grade students visiting the Fort in-person. All answers are findable in the park’s signage and handouts without any additional resources. The first two pages of this document are meant for the adults leading the activity, and the last two pages are for the youths.