Homeschool Ecology Series

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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. Advance registration is required. 

Due to COVID-19 we will continue to follow best practices by social distancing, sanitization of materials, small group sizes and our programs will be facilitated outside. 

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. 

Homeschool students ages 6-11 will enjoy hands-on, interactive activities about ecology topics. Morning sessions are for kids without older siblings. Afternoon sessions are restricted to siblings of registered students in the older program. Parents or guardians must attend with the younger siblings, as this is not a drop-off program. 

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


February

Winter Wildlife

Photo by Michel Soucy

Friday, February 26, 10 a.m.-noon

For kids ages 6-11

Approximate Program Duration:  2 Hours 

Animals use different strategies to survive the winter and younger homeschool students will explore these methods through hands-on activities.  Students will stay warm building shelters to mimic animal homes, playing games, and looking for signs of wildlife while walking trails. 

Advance registration required by February 21.  Registration opens February 1. 

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


Winter Survival 

Photo by Indiana DNR

Friday, February 26, 1-3 p.m. 

For kids ages 12-18 and younger siblings

Approximate Program Duration:  2 Hours 

Homeschool students ages 12-18 will examine the amazing winter adaptations that wildlife exhibit. Through experimentation, students will learn survival strategies that animals use in order to survive the weather and other animals. Students will then apply these adaptation ideas to winter survival ideas in people. 

For the younger siblings:  kids ages 6-11 with their parent/guardian will enjoy their own lesson on winter wildlife. 

Advance registration required by February 21.  Registration opens February 1. 

Ages 12-18: $10/child. 

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


March

Prairie Wildlife 

Friday, March 26, 10 a.m.-noon 

For kids ages 6-11

Approximate Program Duration:  2 Hours 

Homeschool students and their parent or guardian will enjoy a hands-on, interactive lesson on prairie wildlife and Smokey Bear. This will include an age-appropriate fire safety and prevention discussion and activity.  

Advance registration required by March 14.  Registration opens March 1. 

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


Fire Ecology 

Friday, March 26, 1-3 p.m. 

For kids ages 12-18 and younger siblings

Approximate Program Duration:  2 Hours 

Fire can be a helpful tool for land managers when used properly!  The Park Naturalist, who holds a Wildland Firefighting certificate, will share first-hand experience from serving on a prescribed burn crew.  Homeschool students ages 12-18 will create small models to show how forest density and topography influence fire.  Students will also practice several fire-starting methods while learning the Fire Triangle and will enjoy marshmallows roasted over the fire. 

For the younger siblings: kids ages 6-11 with their parent/guardian will enjoy their own lesson on prairie wildlife and Smokey Bear.  This will include an age-appropriate fire safety and prevention discussion and activity. 

Advance registration required by March 14.  Registration opens March 1. 

Ages 12-18: $10/child. 

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


April

Spring has Sprung

Friday, April 23, 10 a.m.-noon 

For kids ages 6-11

Approximate Program Duration:  2 Hours 

Spring is here, whether it feels like spring or not.  Younger homeschool students will investigate how plants and animals react to spring through hands-on, interactive lessons.  Students will plant a seed to take home and observe. 

Advance registration required by April 11.  Registration opens April 1. 

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


Spring Plants 

Friday, April 23, 1-3 p.m. 

For kids ages 12-18 and younger siblings

Approximate Program Duration:  2 Hours 

Wildflowers are blooming and tree buds are bursting to shoot out new leaves.  Homeschool students will learn to identify early spring wildflowers and some plants that try to outcompete these flowers.  Students will dissect seeds to learn how plants sprout. 

For the younger siblings: kids ages 6-11 with their parent/guardian will enjoy their own lesson on spring. 

Advance registration required by April 11.  Registration opens April 1. 

Ages 12-18: $10/child. 

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