Homeschool Ecology Series

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For Homeschoolers Ages 6-18 and their Younger Siblings

Our Homeschool Ecology Series at McCloud Nature Park provides in-depth ecology lessons for homeschool students and their siblings! These lessons are intended to build on each other, but students may register and attend only the sessions that interest them and fit their schedules. 

COVID-19 has a knack for throwing a wrench into the best-laid plans, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page and our website for updates and additional information. Group sizes will be kept small, and we will practice social distancing and increased sanitization of materials. 

For assistance with registration or any questions about the Homeschool Ecology Series programs, please contact the McCloud Nature Center at mccloudnp@hcparks.net or at (765) 676-5437. 

Advance registration is required. The Homeschool Ecology Series is $10 per student per session, and the lessons are intended to build upon each other. However, students may register and attend any lessons that interest them and fit into their schedules.

Parents of the students may also register as participants for $10 per session if they would like to participate in the activities.

For younger siblings (ages 6-11) of students registered in the Homeschool Ecology Series, there will be a separate lesson on a similar topic offered concurrently for just $3 per child per session. These lessons have been created specifically for the younger student and are restricted to siblings of registered students in the Homeschool Ecology Series. Parents or guardians must attend with the younger siblings, as this is not a drop-off program. At least half of each program is spent outdoors, so everyone of all ages -- including parents and guardians -- will need to dress for the weather.


For Homeschoolers Ages 6-11

On each scheduled date this fall, we’ll host a morning session from 10 a.m. to noon for homeschoolers ages 6-11. These students and their parent or guardian will conduct semi-self-led activities in the park. The entire program will be held outdoors, so be sure that everyone – including parents and guardians – is dressed for the weather. 

Older children are welcome to register but they may want to consider registering for the afternoon session with their younger siblings, instead. 

Fee: $5/child. Younger siblings ages 5 and younger are FREE. 

Approximate program duration: 2 hours. 


September: Water Habitats

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 10 a.m. to noon

Homeschool students and their parent or guardian will investigate McCloud Nature Park’s water habitats and learn about the animals who live there. 

Advance registration is required by September 21. Registration opens September 1 at 8 a.m.   


October: Colorful Leaves and Tall Trees

Thursday, October 22, 2020, 10 a.m. to noon

Homeschool students and their parents/guardians will explore the park looking for signs of fall, measuring trees, and hunting for animal homes.  Students will learn basic tree identification with a leaf scavenger hunt. 

Advance registration is required by October 19. Registration opens October 1 at 8 a.m. 


November: Birdie Buffet

Thursday, November 19, 2020, 10 a.m. to noon

Homeschool students and their parents/guardians will explore the variety of foods that birds eat!  Dissect owl pellets, and design and build birdfeeders to take home! 

Advance registration required by November 16. Registration opens November 1 at 8 a.m. 


For Homeschoolers Ages 12-18

Afternoon sessions from 1 to 3 p.m. are for homeschoolers ages 12-18 and their younger siblings. These students will participate in in-depth ecology lessons which are hands-on and include experiments, field studies, and discussions about related careers. There will be optional homework and enrichment ideas to extend the lessons at home and in the community. 

Fee: $10/child. 

Approximate program duration: 2 hours. 


September: Water Quality

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 1-3 p.m.

Homeschool students will complete water testing to determine water quality. Students will discover how common pollutants enter waterbodies, and they will brainstorm ways to reduce the impacts of pollutants. 

Younger siblings can register for the concurrent afternoon session of Water Habitats. 

Advance registration is required by September 21. Registration opens September 1 at 8 a.m. 


October: Autumn Forestry

Thursday, October 22, 2020, 1-3 p.m.

Homeschool students will practice tree identification using a dichotomous key and other forestry skills such as measuring the diameter and height of trees. Foresters use these techniques to determine the health of the forest. 

Younger siblings can register for the concurrent afternoon session of Colorful Leaves and Tall Trees. 

Advance registration required by October 19. Registration opens October 1 at 8 a.m.   


November: Ornithology

Thursday, November 19, 2020, 1-3 p.m.

Homeschool students will evaluate habitat for several bird species and use binoculars to identify common birds.  Build a birdhouse to take home which will improve habitat near your house. 

Younger siblings can register for the concurrent afternoon session of Birdie Buffet. 

Advance registration required by November 16.  Registration opens November 1 at 8 a.m. 


For Younger Siblings, Ages 6-11

For younger siblings of the age 12-18 students, a separate lesson on a similar topic will be offered concurrently. Families will conduct semi self-led activities in the park.  These lessons are specifically for the younger audience. The afternoon lessons are restricted to younger siblings, ages 4-11, of students who have registered for the afternoon session 

Parents or guardians will need to stay with the younger children for the entirety of the program, as the younger children programs are not drop-off programs. This is the same program offered during the morning session. 

Fee: $3/child. Younger siblings ages 5 and under are free. 

Approximate program duration: 2 hours.