New year, New Junior Naturalist Program!
As park pals and natural scientists, we want to reassure you that we are passionate about keeping the Junior Naturalist Program accessible to you and your family while still following health guidelines and keeping our community safe.
While most of our 2020 Junior Naturalist programs were canceled, we promise to pack our revamped 2021 programs with double the fun!
Check out our program details below and please email us if you have any questions.
What is the Junior Naturalist Program?
The Junior Naturalist Program is a free, temporarily virtual program for children of all ages that brings new outdoor adventures directly to your living room.
Join our Naturalist Educators virtually on the third Saturday of every month as they explore plants, animals, and the environment from featured local parks.
Each program starts on YouTube with a half-hour of educational exploration; our Naturalist Educators will go over an exciting topic and lead a hands-on activity for you to follow along with at home. We will conclude by asking you to email us your Naturalist questions and observations and giving you a scavenger hunt clue to encourage you to explore the month's featured park for yourself!
What is a Naturalist?
A naturalist is someone who studies plants, animals, and natural history. Natural history is the study of natural objects using your awesome observation and analysis skills!
Any child who has an interest in the natural world around them can become a Junior Naturalist! We recommend that younger children have someone with them who can help gather supplies and navigate the computer.
As a Junior Naturalist, your child will be encouraged to explore the aspects of nature that interest them through hikes, games, and educational activities. Remember - nature starts at your own front door, so you can be a Junior Naturalist no matter where you are!
What supplies will I need?
On a monthly basis, our program's activities will alternate between using common household supplies (paper, pen, pinecones, etc.) and using special materials that we provide. We will specify on each program registration form which kind of activity to expect!
For programs using household supplies: About a week before the month's program, we will email you with a list of supplies you will need. If you can't find some of these materials in your household, let us know and we will set some aside for you.
For programs using provided supplies: After you register, we will add you to a contact list and email you with a schedule of available pickup times. To ensure everyone's safety, all materials will be sanitized, bagged, and available for drive-thru pickup from our Idlewild Park Office.
How do I get my Junior Naturalist Passport?
You will receive a physical copy of your passport when you first pick up your activity supplies from us in February!
Our Passport holds information about each park that we will be featuring and exclusive activities to do in each park. When you attend each monthly program, you will also receive a special stamp to put in your Passport and qualify for end-of-year prizes!
Until we are able to see you in person again, we will be emailing you your stamps. To confirm attendance, we will be hiding a "password" in our live-stream videos. To earn your virtual stamp and qualify for prizes, you will need to return to this webpage and submit the Naturalist Attendance Form with the password.