Your home schooled child can join our professional Environmental Educators as we introduce them to ecological and biological principles, facilitating an appreciation and understanding of the natural world. Your child will become familiar with plants and animals throughout New Jersey and discover how human activities affect the environment.
We have three program options available to home school parents:
- Home Ecologists: Individual families with children 5-12 years old may register for Tenafly Nature Center's Home Ecologists group. Parents can sign up for the series or just a single session. If older students would like to attend these classes please contact the Education Director and accommodations can be made to create a more advanced class.
- Home School Group: A home school group can schedule a private class with a topic of their choice.
- Parent Workshops: Tenafly Nature Center, a registered New Jersey Professional Development Provider, offers many workshops designed to train educators of all grades in a curriculum of wildlife appreciation and fun, hands-on activities. The activities assist students of any age in developing awareness, knowledge, skills, and commitment, leading to informed decisions, responsible behavior and constructive actions concerning wildlife and the environment upon which life depends. These programs are conducted in cooperation with the National Project WILD and Project Learning Tree offices and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Please visit our Professional Development page for upcoming opportunities.
Home Ecologists 2014-2015
Each two-hour program will consist of indoor and outdoor hands-on learning and close observations in our 380-acre living museum. Depending on the topic, students may observe live animals, collect aquatic creatures, take measurements of water quality, or play games illustrating cycles and relationships among living things. Parents can also take home activities and suggestions for further study from many of our classes.
- For families with children 4-12 years old.
- Parents may sign up for the series or just a single session.
- Parents may stay with the group or drop off; there is no charge for parents.
- Siblings older or younger, may not attend without prior permission from the education director.
Topics and Dates
October: Animal Habitats
Learn about animal habitats and discover what components are critical for different animals. Participate in hands-on activities to learn which environmental characteristics attract different animals. Meet one of Tenafly Nature Center’s Animal Ambassadors and learn about its natural habitat. Hike the trails to explore the different habitats available at Tenafly Nature Center.
Investigate microhabitats and learn that even unexpected or inhospitable places can harbor wildlife. Through games and hands-on activities, children will learn to identify the basic components required to provide a habitat for any animal. Meet one of Tenafly Nature Center’s resident Animal Ambassadors and find out where they live in the wild.
November: Food Webs/Web of Life
Food chains and webs are one of nature’s many important life cycles found in nature. Discover which foods provide energy sources for both carnivores and herbivores. Outdoor games and fun activities will reinforce the concepts learned.
Investigate the components and interrelationships that make up a food web. Kids will play interactive games to help them understand food webs. Participate in a fun scavenger hunt to search for evidence of food chains and webs.
December: Predators and Prey
Learn about the ecology of and interconnections between populations and understand how energy moves through a food chain. Discover how natural selection favors effective predators and evasive prey. Students will participate in interactive games to discover the complex interactions between predators and prey affect an ecological community.
Learn how prey animal have adapted to become successful in their habitats. Students will create their own prey animal using what they have learned about animal adaptations. Children will meet a TNC Animal Ambassador and learn about the adaptations that identify them as prey.
January: Climate and Communities
Examine how climate affects plant and animal communities. Investigate different biomes to understand how quickly and effectively plants and animals can adapt to climate and how climate change can affect their survival. Students will create a biome collage to represent the concepts learned.
Learn about the climate at the Tenafly Nature Center and participate in hands on activities to investigate TNC’s ecosystem. Activities include a fun scavenger hunt along TNC’s trails to search for clues that will illustrate the effect of climate on the ecosystem.
February: People and Animals
Learn about the complex interactions between animals in their environments and the conflicts between animals and people. Discover the impacts of human activities on habitats, resources and populations. Experiment with the concept of “Too Close for Comfort” through animal portrayals.
Discover the important relationships between humans and wildlife and the significance of domesticated animals. Play games to discover the connection between humans and domestic animals. Learn how humans can be good stewards of wildlife and the environment through hands-on activities.
March: Endangered Species
Investigate why and how animals and plants become extinct. Discover the impact humans and human activities have on the status of species. Participate in interactive games to learn more about this topic. Meet one of TNC’s endangered Animal Ambassadors.
Find out how to protect endangered species and create a project to educate others. Get outside and participate in outdoor activities to help the TNC habitats.
April: Plants and Their Habitats
Explore the Tenafly Nature Center’s native hardwood forest and learn about the ecology of a forest and its inhabitants. Conduct hands-on investigations on the inner life of the forest. Hike the trails to observe interactions between plants and animals.
Examine seeds, flowers and other plant parts with a Tenafly Nature Center Environmental Educator to learn about different types of plants. Learn how plants are adapt to their habitats. Students will examine the importance of plant communities in an ecosystem through hands-on investigations.
Get your hands dirty in this investigation into decomposition! Discover that soil is a “rotten place to live”. Investigate the decomposition process of the forest using hand lenses and field guides. Students will use what they’ve learned to construct a log mural illustrating what happens to a fallen tree as it decomposes.
Learn all about compost and where it comes from. Visit Tenafly Nature Center’s compost area and create a mini compost bin. Enjoy a “compost” snack and participate in hands on activites to apply the concepts learned in TNC’s Backyard Habitat.
June: Pollination and the Pollinators
Discover the secrets of pollination and how it contributes to the process of forming a seed. Discover the plant adaptations that attract pollinators. Participate in active outdoor games to learn about pollination.
Learn which insects and animals are pollinators and where they live. Discover what special adaptations pollinators’ utilize, hike Tenafly Nature Center’s trails to observe plants and look for pollinators, and learn how pollen is collected through fun, hands on activities.