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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 and third Thursday of every month (some exceptions throughout the year)!  Programs start September 19, 2018 and continue until May 16, 2019.  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!

2018-2019 Monthly Curriculum

Theme: Nature of Night

Wednesday, September 19 or Thursday, September 20
Topic: Moths in the Moonlight
Location: Cape May Point State Park, with a special side trip to Cape May Bird Observatory
While their gaudy cousins get the spotlight during the day, moths are the coolest insects at night. In fact, they out-shine those butterflies in many ways! We’ll take a close look at both kinds of insects and you can choose for yourself which is the “monarch” of the colorful wings.

Wednesday, October 17 or Thursday, October 18
Topic: Sounds of Predators in the Dark
Location: Belleplain State Forest
Shhh! What’s out there? What’s that noise in the night?? And how are they able to find their food and find their way in all that pitch black?? Are these questions you’ve been pondering? Let’s do some experiments, make some observations and find out what’s making all that racket?

Wednesday, November 14 or Thursday, November 15
Topic: Out of this World
Location: The Wetlands Institute
When the blue sky of the day turns into the blackness of night, we get a whole other view of our place in the universe. Stars and suns, tides and turnings, planets and moons give us a glimpse into our past and have us wondering about what’s to come.

Theme: Get in Shape: Structures in Nature

Wednesday, December 19 or Thursday, December 20
Topic: Standing Strong and Going with the Flow
Location: The Wetlands Institute
Able to hop, fly, slither, swim, and crawl, these all require special adaptations and strategies to survive the forces of Nature. By closely examining several different kinds of animals (and plants, too!) and watching how they do what they do, we’ll find out what the best “tools” are to get the job done.

Wednesday, January 16 or Thursday, January 17
Topic: Pattern, Shape, and Structure of an Ecosystem
Location: The Wetlands Institute
Even though it seems nature is haphazard, unplanned, hit or miss, habitats and ecosystems have to have “suitable arrangement” in order for organisms to survive. Just like the story says, everything has to be “just right”. The right amount, the right kind, the right location, the right distance, the right height, the right depth are all very important and sometimes surprisingly precise, yet constantly changing. Let’s do a little bit of detective work to discover what is not too much, and not too little, but just right.

Wednesday, February 20 or Thursday, February 21
Topic: Build a Better Body Part
Location: The Wetlands Institute
Habitats and body parts go “hand in hand”. As habitats change, so must body parts. We’ll get our imaginations stoked for creating habitats and the critters adapted to live in them using science, technology, engineering and math.

Theme: Terps & Herps

Wednesday, March 20 or Thursday, March 21
Topic: Life in Cold Blood
Location: Cape May Point State Park
They’re in forests, deserts, trees, leaves, rivers, oceans, and even in your backyard! Let’s find out more about our scaly, slimy, egg-laying, slithering, hopping neighbors.

Wednesday, April 17 or Thursday, April 18
Topic: Jumping into Spring
Location: Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area & Cedar Swamp
There’s a whole lot of croaking going on this time of year. Take a leap and join us on a frog slog, listening for love calls and territory disputes, searching for eggs and tadpoles, and catching a glimpse at the “toadally” cool critters of the forested wetlands.

Wednesday, May 15 or Thursday, May 16 
Topic: It’s Turtle Season!
Location: The Wetlands Institute
This is the time of year turtles are hatching, laying, and doing all kinds of turtlely things! Big ones, small ones, and all in between. You’ll get up close and personal with these amazing animals and design a turtle garden to help them feel welcome in your backyard.

2018-2019 Specialty Family Field Trips and Workshops

Family Field Trip: Night Hike
November 15, 2018

6:30PM – 8:30PM
Location:  Belleplain State Forest
The forest is a whole other place when the sun goes down. We’ll look for nocturnal animals, listen to night sounds, and roast a marshmallow or two as we watch the sky and tell stories in the dark.

$3.00 per person

Family Field Trip: Designing a Woodland Folk Trail
February 23, 2018
10:00AM – 12:00PM
Location:  TBA
Calling all forest architects! (yes! That’s You!) Pull up your sleeves and jump into the “S.T.R.E.A.M” of designing & creating “real estate” for Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and other Woodland Folk. We’ll build these lush accommodations at a local nature preserve. Join us for a day of fun in the forest.

Fee: $3.00 per person

Family Field Trip: Let’s Go Frog Watching!
April 18, 2019
5:30PM – 7:30PM
Location:  Lizard Tail Trail
FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program through the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Trained volunteers go and monitor the wetlands in their communities and report their findings on a national database. This information helps scientists see patterns and make decisions about habitat conservation.  Come join us tonight to see how it’s done and then you can be trained to be a FrogWatcher in your neighborhood, too!

Fee:  $3.00 per person

Complete details including field trip and workshop descriptions, pricing and registration: NEHST Family Field Trips and Workshop Details (Coming Soon!)


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