Brookside Nature Center provides a variety of programs and experiences for students of all ages. Our goal is to excite students through experiential environmental education programs, developing along the way a sense of responsibility towards our natural and historical resources. Programs vary in length (45 min. to 2.5 hours) and are tailored to each group’s educational level and interests.
In support of K-12 environmental literacy graduation requirements, Brookside Nature Center and other Montgomery County Parks Nature Centers will be waiving the $6/student fee for all K-12 students in Montgomery County attending programs that meet these requirements. They are marked with an asterisk*. (There is a $1.00 surcharge for puppet shows.)
For other programs, students are charged $6 for a one-hour program. To encourage chaperones to help we allow one chaperone free for every 5 students grades K-12, and one free chaperone for every four PreK students. Additional chaperones will be charged the hourly program rate.
Some programs have an additional material fee for cidering, candle making, and tinsmithing.
*Seasons and Senses: On a hike to different habitats, students learn what makes weather and interpret different elements of weather like sun, wind, precipitation and clouds and discover how weather affects plants, animals, people and the landscape we live in. A one-hour program offered September – June.
*Exploring Living Things: Habitats All living creatures need food, water, shelter, and space. Students will investigate the four elements of a good habitat. Find out how human beings affect and are affected by natural habitats. Learn what we can do to protect the ‘homes’ of our wildlife neighbors. Explore several outdoor habitats and look for signs of the animals that live there. A one-hour program offered September – October and April – June.
*Earth Materials: In this full morning program students will explore the rocks, soil, and minerals found in area surrounding the nature center. Learn about what’s hidden under your feet and identify and classify rocks and earth materials such as sand, silt, and soil by their physical properties. Through outdoor exploration, find out the importance of earth materials to people, plant, and animals. Learn how geology affects the shape of hills, valleys, and water features. A three-hour program offered September – October and April – June.
*Adaptations and Survival: Students will be introduced to the animals who live in the local habitats to learn about their adaptations allowing them to survive. Teachers can choose the focus of Insects; Birds; Reptiles & Amphibians; or Mammals: A one-hour program offered September – October.
*Basic Needs and Survival of Plants and Animals: In this full morning program students investigate the diversity of plants and animals found in local habitats exploring differences among plants including leaf form, life cycle, survival adaptations and interactions with animals. This includes a visit to the Observation Beehive and the Native Bees Hotel. A three-hour program offered May – June.
*Ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay: This full morning program offers students the chance to explore the Brook of Brookside Nature Center: Students will observe physical, biological, and chemical characteristics of the stream and work with a model watershed to better understand how watersheds function. A three-hour program 0ffered September – October and May – June.
Early Settlers: Students will experience the daily life activities of early settlers and identify ways in which they adapted to and influenced their local and regional environment. There is an additional materials fee charge of $2/student for either candle making or tinsmithing.
Native Ways: Students will experience the daily life of Eastern Woodland Indians as they lived in our area over 1,000 years ago. We will explore where they found shelter, how they prepared food, what they wore, and children’s roles. We’ll discover the importance of certain plants and animals, and how deeply the Woodland Indians were connected to the natural world. Learn how they obtained tools, clothing and food from plants, animals, bones and stones. A one or two-hour program offered September – November and March – June.
Apple Cider Pressing: Join us in this one-hour program as we put the squeeze on some apples! Learn the history of apples in America. Discover the art of cider making and try a taste of this traditional American drink. A one-hour program offered in October only. There is an additional $2/student material fee for this program.
Maple Sugaring – In this one-hour program, students will learn how early settlers learned how to make Maple Syrup from the Native Americans. Students will be taken through the sweet process from photosynthesis to tasting real maple syrup. This program is offered from late January to the end of February.