Over the years, research has shown that multiple forays into nature with consistent leaders are the most effective means of environmental education. Therefore, NSNP’s featured program is the Naturalist-in-Residence. These unique, innovative programs provide your classroom with a trained naturalist who will make a minimum of five visits to your classroom. During these visits, we will seamlessly integrate place-based ecology lessons into your current curriculum through scientific inquiry, games, activities, and guided exploration. The crux of these lessons is getting students outside and interacting with nature in your schoolyard, while at the same time emphasizing the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards on which your class is currently working. Specific program topics and content are based on discussions with classroom teachers.
We also offer traditional Enrichment Programs. These hour-long programs provide hands-on activities and lessons on specific topics or concepts. Much like our Naturalist-in-Residence program, the emphasis is on connecting classroom curriculum to local ecology. See below for a listing of all of our programs.
$100/hr, min. 10 visits/classroom
$115/hr, min. 5 visits/classroom
$125/hr, 1-4 visits/classroom
Max: 30 students/classroom
Every animal has developed unique characteristics that have allowed it to survive and flourish in a competitive ecosystem. Using skulls, feathers, fur and other hands-on materials, learn to identify physical characteristics in certain animals and the advantage it gives them over their competition.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of compost, but what is compost and how is it formed? How does it compare to soil? What are the benefits of each? In this program, students will get their hands dirty searching for decomposers and learn how both soil and compost are formed by creating their own!
Ecosystems from the Ground Up
Starting with erosion, weathering, decomposition and soil formation students will look at an ecosystem’s composition from the ground up. Special attention will be paid to how components of soil are constantly being formed and recycled through natural processes (and how humans can enhance these processes). We will then focus on the habitat requirements of plants and how they obtain the resources they need (and how humans can help or hinder). Finally we will explore the role that pollinators play in human food production (and how the use of pesticides might effect them).
Energy Flows, Nutrients Cycle
This program is best suited for a 2-hour enrichment or a multi-day visit. During this exciting, hands-on program, students will learn that all of Earth’s energy originates with the sun, and is then transferred through plants to animals. Students will be provided with a small research project in which they will learn about trophic levels and how energy is passed between these levels. To close out the flow of energy, students will learn about the important role of decomposers and detritivores who recycle nutrients while using up the last of the sun’s energy.
Homes are Habitats
All living things require air, food, water, and shelter to survive. When an organism can find all four of these things, we deem it a suitable habitat. During this program, students will identify specific plants and animals that might live in their schoolyard and surrounding area. They will then head outside and assess the habitat to determine which of these animals might call the school home.
Is There Room for Everyone?
Animals and humans maintain a delicate balance in nature. Learn about the importance of open space and how we can protect animal habitats while balancing the needs of humans. This program will be tailored to your community, focusing on your local animals. An outdoor, interactive activity is the capstone of this informative and exciting program.
Is your eyesight as powerful as an owl’s? Is your sense of smell as keen as a coyote’s? Learn how animals use their five senses to explore the world around them and compare their adaptations to our own. Handle animal artifacts and play several fun games!
Plant and Animal Life Cycles
All living things go through a life cycle. Some are more dramatic than others. Explore the schoolyard around your school in search of animals and plants in different stages of their life and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms these animals take in their path to adulthood.
Plant and Animal Structures
As organisms grow and mature, they develop certain structures that allow them to compete with surrounding organisms for the resources that they require for survival. Through a thorough examination of plants and animals in your schoolyard, students will become familiar with some of these structures and how certain adaptations are passed down from generation to generation.
Erosion, Weathering, and Soil Science
Soil is an incredibly important, if often overlooked, component of every ecosystem. But where does soil come from? After reviewing the processes of weathering and erosion, students will attempt to make their own soil from ingredients found in the schoolyard (or provided by NSNP if the weather is not cooperative). Students will then dig a soil pit to learn about soil layering and will search for the animals that aid in the creation of topsoil.
Winter provides a unique challenge for animals that live in New England. Learn about why our winters are so cold and the different strategies our native animals use to stay warm and dry. Students will have the opportunity to design their own animal in an attempt to keep it from freezing during the cold winter months.