Homeschool Ecology Series

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Homeschool students are invited to join Hendricks County Park Naturalists for ecology lessons at McCloud Nature Park! These are intended to build on each other, but students may register and attend only the lessons that interest them and fit their schedules. There will be optional homework and enrichment ideas to extend the lessons at home and in the community.   

Advance registration required. 

Homeschool Ecology: for ages 6-11 

$5 per student 

Homeschool students ages 6-11 will enjoy hands-on, interactive activities about ecology topicsOften, more advanced extensions will be available for students who are performing at a higher level. Older children are welcome to register, but they may want to consider registering for the afternoon session with their younger siblings. 

There are two sessions offered for this age group: morning session is for students ages 6-11, and there is an afternoon session concurrent to the older student lesson. This afternoon session is restricted to younger siblings. 

Homeschool Ecology: for ages 12-18  

$10 per student 

Homeschool students ages 12-18 will participate in in-depth ecology lessons that will be hands-on and include experiments, field studies, and discussions about related careers.

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. For weather-related concerns, call our Weather Hotline at (317) 718-6111. 


February

Science Spy School

Friday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m. to noon

For kids ages 6-11

Train to be a spy by learning how to take fingerprints, write in invisible ink, decode messages, and practice your observation skills!  Shhhh, don’t tell the kids that we are sneaking in lots of science and literacy into this engaging lesson. 

Advance registration required by Feb. 21 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking here

Ages 6-11; $5/child. Children ages 5 and younger are free. 


Environmental Detectives

Friday, Feb. 24, 1-3 p.m. 

For kids ages 12-18 and younger siblings

The “crime” is a mysterious environmental calamity – a fish die-off that began five years ago.  The scene of the crime is the “Gray Area,” a watershed that includes forests, a city, a town, a coast, three rivers, a lake, and a pond.  Student sleuths are challenged to identify the culprit by assessing the statements of various suspects, analyzing reference materials and files, and conducting water quality tests.

Advance registration required by Feb. 21 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking here

Ages 12-18: $10/child. 

Ages 6-11; $5/child. Children ages 5 and younger are free. 


March

Gardening & Greenhouses

Friday, March 24, 10 a.m. to noon

For kids ages 6-11

Spring is for gardening and greenhouses that allow us to start growing plants earlier.  Investigate seeds and how they sprout, fling seedballs in the prairie, press flowers to take home, and make mini greenhouses to watch a plant grow at home!  Be sure to wear your galoshes while gardening because it’s often muddy this time of year.

Advance registration required by March 21 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking here

Ages 6-11; $5/child. Children ages 5 and younger are free. 


Ecosystems Investigations

Friday, March 24, 1-3 p.m. 

For kids ages 12-18 and younger siblings

There are specific plants that grow in the main habitats of McCloud Nature Park, but why do they grow there?  What makes these ecosystems stand apart from each other?  Let’s really dig in by taking soil samples, and temperature and wind measurements to answer these questions.

Advance registration required by March 21 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking here.

Ages 12-18: $10/child. 

Ages 6-11; $5/child. Children ages 5 and younger are free. 


April

Park Pests

Friday, April 21, 10 a.m. to noon

For kids ages 6-11

Can you track down the pests of McCloud Nature Park?  Discover how plants and animals are spread by accident and on purpose.  Learn how to identify some invasive plants and animals while walking trails and playing games to show how these species can cause problems in the forest.

Advance registration required by April 18 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking here

Ages 6-11; $5/child. Children ages 5 and younger are free. 


Undesirable Flora and Fauna

Friday, April 21, 1-3 p.m. 

For kids ages 12-18 and younger siblings

Even in protected areas such as McCloud Nature Park, park managers battle plants and insects that are from other parts of the world.  These are called “invasive species” and live in our area due to accidental or planned introductions.  We’ll consider why these species are problematic, participate in real-world dilemma discussions, and improve the park by removing invasive plants.

Advance registration required by April 18 at 3:30 p.m. by clicking here.

Ages 12-18: $10/child. 

Ages 6-11; $5/child. Children ages 5 and younger are free.