-how it works-
Be A Naturalist is divided into quests, with each quest focusing on a different topic or concept. The quests are organized into four main parts.
The Prequest Prep
This section is written to the parent and highlights what will be covered in the quest itself.
You will also find what is needed for each quest, along with additional ideas to help your child make discoveries and connections!
The Note to Nature Explorers
Each Note is written by one of our fictional characters. While writing about their work at the preserve, Kate and Nate gently introduce important concepts about science and nature.
Here you will find exciting, hands-on activities that explore the concepts introduced in the Note to Nature Explorers.
The adventures are designed, so that no matter where you live, you and your child can explore nature - a local park, wildlife preserve, or even your own backyard.
Extensions are designed to expand upon the theme or topic of the quest. These include:
- creative, nature inspired art
- study of a famous naturalist
- opportunities to participate in citizen science projects
Field Notes on Pre-Quest Prep:
Overview of Content
This section is written to the parent - summary of content and an outline of the adventures (plus extensions).
Find your list of needed supplies, a small box of advice, and a list of optional supplemental resources in this section!
Note to Nature Explorers Field Notes:
Stories To Learn
Each Note is written to the child either by Kate, a naturalist, or Nate, a wildlife biologist.
They are fictional characters who run a fictional preserve called Hawk Valley Nature Preserve. While writing about their adventures at the preserve, Kate and Nate gently introduce important concepts about science and nature.
The Nature Explorer Notes include all the information needed to teach your child. Outside sources are not necessary.
We do highly recommend investing in a few nature guides, which can be found for free online or at your local library. (An extensive selection of suggested books are included, but are optional.)
Real photos for refeference
Colorful, engaging photos are spread throughout the Nature Explorer Notes.
The photos expand upon the Note’s topics, introduce your child to new plants and animals, and highlight children exploring science and nature.
Conversation + Connection
We've also included discussion questions and side notes to help your child process information and make connections.
For example, when Kate explains how Hawk Valley got its name, a side note suggests looking up red-tailed hawks in your nature guide to see if they live in your area.
Because the Nature Explorer Notes are living stories that contain all necessary information, they are best read over a couple days.
Suggested stopping points are included - just in case you need them!
A Family Activity
The Nature Explorer Notes are meant to be read and enjoyed by parents and children together, although older children can easily read them on their own.
When we learn together - we grow together!
Field Notes on The Adventures:
Since the purpose of the program is to connect children with their world, the majority of adventures take place outdoors in natural areas. These natural areas can be local parks, National Forests, Seashores and Lakeshores, wildlife preserves, or even your own backyard.
The adventures are designed so that no matter where you live you and your child can explore nature.
But, sometimes it rains
Some of our adventures can be done indoors. These are perfect for days when outside isn't an option.
We've all been there, planning for the perfect outdoor adventure only to get nearly out the door and find it raining (or a heat wave!).
We have made it a point to include many different types of activities to satisfy all children’s natural inclinations.
The child who loves getting their hands dirty, the child who loves creating works of art, and the child who loves experimenting will all find activities to suit their interests.
Age and Ability Flexible
The adventures are designed to be flexible, so that, no matter your child’s ability level, they can participate.
Likewise, they are easily tweaked for a family of varying ages.
Field Notes on The Extensions:
Extensions are designed to expand upon the theme or topic of the quest.
Meet a Naturalist
Meet a Naturalist introduces children to a well-known naturalist and his or her work. Often times this is paired with a corresponding activity.
For example, in the extension on Henry David Thoreau, children are given the opportunity to conduct a water depth experiment similar to the ones Thoreau did.
Nature Art includes creative, nature inspired art or craft projects.
Sometimes these projects might involve exploring popular nature art, such as Andy Goldsworthy’s world famous land art. Other times they might be projects meant to help children use natural objects, such as a name collage.
Get Involved are extensions centered around helping wildlife in one way or another.
In the quest, The Power of Plants, children have the opportunity to create a milkweed garden for monarch caterpillars.
Interactive Digital PDF
Curated, interactive links to help you tailor the curriculum to your child's learning goals and interests.
One year of learning
This curriculum covers a year's worth of content for you and your child to explore.
Become a nature detective by engaging your senses and mind through eight learning units!
Preparing the soil.
"If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.
The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil."
- Rachel Carson
What method is this?
The best bits of all.
It's important for children to physically experience their world like Marie Montessori advised, connect with the natural world and internalize big ideas like Charlotte Mason emphasized, and learn important scientific concepts like Classical methods aim to do.
Love the earth. Then advocate.
The early programs of Science Through Nature do not place focus on environmentalism.
First and foremost, children must desire to save something before they take the necessary steps to do so.
That desire comes from experiencing the wonder of the natural world - from realizing that it is worth cherishing and protecting.
Let them first love nature and, as they grow and develop the ability to understand the myriad of issues facing the environment, they will inherently strive to protect it.