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Join us once a month for a 2 hour interactive lesson or throughout the year for longer specialized Family Field Trips and Student Workshops!

We offer one monthly Homeschool Program on the third Wednesday of every month (some exceptions throughout the year)!  Programs start September 20, 2017 and continue until May 16, 2018.  Each monthly lesson includes classroom instruction, outdoor activities, scientific experiments and exploration, and even homework.  We use hands-on methods to reinforce students’ abilities in not only science, but also math, language arts, and social studies.

The ages of our students range from 5 to 13+. During the programs students of all ages are taught together and we emphasize multi-age learning and peer assistantship.  Students experiencing a lesson for the first time learn the basics of the topic, and students with some previous experience build upon their knowledge and solidify their understanding through more in-depth exposure to the topic.

Programs for both younger students (Hatchlings: ages 5-8) and older students (Fledglings: ages 9-13+) occur from 10:00am – 12:00pm. 

All of our homeschool lessons will occur rain or shine, hot or cold!  Please have children dress for the weather, be prepared to go outside rain, snow or shine and wear clothes that can get wet and/or muddy!

2017-2018 Monthly Curriculum

Theme: Tis the Season

Wednesday, September 20 or Thursday, September 21
Topic: Wildlife’s Seasonal Cycles, It’s Phenology!
Location: The Wetlands Institute
When did you notice the leaves were changing? Have you seen the birds gathering in large flocks? What plants are blooming in your yard this autumn? That’s Phenology – the study of the way wildlife responds to climate change. Let’s see what other signs of the season we can find.

Wednesday, October 18 or Thursday, October 19
Topic: When It Rains, It Shines: Weather or Not
Location: The Wetlands Institute
Cold and damp one day, sunny and warm the next day. What a difference a day makes! We’ll be using and making instruments to record the weather – or not!

Wednesday, November 15 or Thursday, November 16
Topic: Getting Ready for Winter’s Chill
Location: The Wetlands Institute
What are you doing to get ready for winter? Have you closed the windows and put on the heat? Are you wearing different kinds of clothes than you did a few weeks ago? Wildlife has to get ready for the cold winter days, too. We’ll be playing a game and doing some experiments to find out what winter’s like on the wild side.

Theme: Taking Flight

Wednesday, December 20 or Thursday, December 21
Topic: An Eventful Journey
Location: Cape May Point State Park – Tentative
If you were going on a journey what would help you get there? What would hold you back? Now think about the birds traveling thousands of miles. We’re going to “be the birds” and find out what they encounter along their journeys: what holds them back and how we can help them along their way

Date Change! Wednesday, January 24 or Thursday, January 25
Topic: Build a Raptor
Location: The Wetlands Institute
Birds of prey have unique body parts specifically designed for what they do. We’ll “build” a bird and find out what it takes for it to get from one place to the next.

Wednesday, February 14 or Thursday, February 15
Topic: Backyard Habitat – It’s for the Birds!
Location: The Wetlands Institute
What is one thing that everyone can do that will have the most positive impact on the environment on which we and all wildlife depend?? Create a backyard habitat. This is the time of year: seed catalogs are coming in, the days are getting longer and the cold days have us planning for warm sunshine. Let’s design our gardens and get things growing!

Theme: Going Coastal

RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, March 28 
Topic: Barrier Island Beach
Location: Stone Harbor Point
With waves crashing and sand blowing the beach is an incredibly dynamic place to live. We’ll be looking for the “parts” of the beach that make this a rockin’ and rollin’ habitat for the wildlife living here.

Wednesday, April 18 
Topic: The Dunes – Into the Wild Woods
Location: Two Mile Beach Unit
The dune forest is an interesting, yet endangered and forgotten habitat. Nestled within these woods are animals and plants thriving on the edge. Let’s track some down and see what it takes to live in this sandy, salty woodland.

Wednesday, May 16 
Topic: Down by the Bay
Location: Corson’s Inlet State Park…
…where the cordgrass grows, back to sea someday I’ll go, and if I do, my mother would say, “Have you ever seen a minnow sleeping on a pillow?”, down by the bay. Come explore the ins and outs, ups and downs of the salt marsh & bay.

2017-2018 Specialty Family Field Trips and Workshops


Family Field Trip: SNJ Today Studio & Cape May County Emergency Management Office
Friday, October 20, 2017

10:00AM – 2:00PM

Meet Nor’Easter Nick, tour the TV studio, then we’ll have a tour of the county emergency management office where services are coordinated during a severe storm.

$5.00 per family

Family Workshop: Local Birds Count! – Helping Scientists Learn About Birds
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
10:00AM – 12:00PM

For over a hundred years citizen scientists (just like you!) have been counting the number of bird species they see in one day. The data they collect helps scientists see patterns and make decisions about conservation. We’ll be learning how to tell one bird from another and doing a count of our own comparing it to what’s been seen lately and getting ready for the annual Christmas Bird Count on December 17. Cool science stuff!!

$10:00 per family

Family Field Trip: Cumberland County Eagle Fest
Saturday, February 3, 2018

Guided walks & talks, exhibits, food, live bird presentations, kid crafts.. A fun day all about eagles and other birds of prey.
Location: Mauricetown Fire Hall, Mauricetown

Family Field Trip: An Overnight at The Wetlands
Wednesday and Thursday, April 25-26, 2018
5:30PM to 8:00AM
Are you up for experiencing the wetlands like never before?? Seining as sunset, night hike on the beach, flashlight scavenger hunt are just the beginning. Come join us for a night of fun in the salt marsh.

$20.00 per person

Complete details including field trip and workshop descriptions, pricing and registration: NEHST Family Field Trips and Workshop Details


Monthly Lesson Price:  Each lesson costs $8.50 per student.

Please Note:  To make the most out of the experience and to minimize distractions for registered children, we ask that siblings under 5 be cared for separately from the rest of the class.  As appropriate, we will provide games, activities, separate space, toys, etc. for smaller children.  However, it is the accompanying adult’s responsibility to monitor their behavior during the program.

Traveling from a further distance? Consider planning “A Day at The Wetlands Institute” – pack snacks or a picnic lunch and use the  afternoon time after the homeschool lesson has been conducted with your child(ren) to explore the exhibits and the outdoor trails. The marsh is an every changing ecosystem and the newly completed elevated walkway and dock provide countless opportunities for self-exploration and learning!

Registration Procedure:  Please call (609) 368-1211 to schedule at least one week in advance.  Your child is not committed to attend every month’s lesson.  Although each lesson tends to build on its predecessors, you can pick and choose the lessons best suited to your child.  Monthly lessons may be cancelled due to low enrollment. Please email Sue Slotterback, Environmental Educator at with any questions.

Interested in a Special Homeschool Program for your group?  We can accommodate homeschool groups of a minimum of 10 students per program. Please call for a special time and date for your group.

Looking for more than a 2 hour experience?
We now offer full immersion overnight programs for your homeschool group.
Complete program description:  Overnight Program