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Nature Education for Homeschool Students and Teachers (NEHST)

Nature Education for Homeschool Students and Teachers (NEHST) curriculum is divided into 3 semesters – Autumn, Winter and Spring. Each semester includes 3 monthly lessons that build upon the semester’s theme. The monthly lessons are offered on the third Thursday of every month from 10:00am – 1:30pm.  Lessons begin with the Autumn Semester on September 16, 2021 and continue until the end of the Spring Semester on May 19, 2022. 

Each monthly lesson includes classroom instruction, outdoor activities, scientific experiments and exploration, and related at-home extension activities that can be completed and explored together by the whole family.  We use hands-on methods to reinforce students’ abilities in not only science, but also math, language arts, and social studies. 

During the lessons students ages 5-13+ and parents are taught together emphasizing 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. 

2021-2022 Monthly Curriculum

Autumn Semester: Nature in Motion

 

Thursday, September 16
Topic: Marvelous Migration
Location: Cape May Point State Park

Fall is the perfect time to witness the marvelous migration of birds and butterflies here in New Jersey! Meet us at Cape May Point State Park for some bird watching and butterfly counting and discover more about their incredible journeys from North to South.

Thursday, October 21
Topic: Changing Tides
Location: Corson’s Inlet State Park

Water exists on our planet in constant motion. Explore the way water flows, the highs and lows of the tide, and the creatures that survive in the inter-tidal zone. Conduct a sea level rise experiment and determine ways we can adapt to changing tides.

Thursday, November 18
Topic: Wildlife Detectives
Location: The Wetlands Institute

Wildlife is on the move! To study wildlife in their natural habitat, scientists rely on observations and clues animals leave behind. Look for animal tracks, holes they dig, nests they build and more to learn the secrets of the creatures that live in the salt marsh.  

Winter Semester: Interconnections

 

Thursday, December 16
Topic: Feeding Frenzy
Location: The Wetlands Institute

The predator and prey relationships in an ecosystem are delicate and complex. Explore the dynamics of food webs in the salt marsh and how they connect to ecosystems beyond. Discover how winter impacts the food web and learn about the creative ways animals adapt to find food.

Thursday, January 20
Topic: Alien Invaders
Location: The Wetlands Institute

Invasive species are disrupting the balance of ecosystems worldwide. We will study the impacts of invasive species on native plants and animals, look for examples of these alien invaders at The Wetlands Institute, and strategize solutions to this environmental problem.   

 Thursday, February 17
Topic: Symbiosis Study
Location: The Wetlands Institute

All living and non-living things in an ecosystem interact with one another. In many cases, they even benefit one another. Explore the concept of symbiosis, the interaction between different organisms and how they help each other survive. Meet a keystone species and discover how it benefits many creatures of the salt marsh.

Spring Semester: Conservation Champions

 

Thursday, March 17
Topic: Be a Biologist
Location: The Wetlands Institute

Become a Biologist for the day and use hands on scientific techniques to study the creatures of the salt marsh. Learn how The Wetlands Institute studies species through methods of tagging and tracking birds, turtles, and more. Explore other wildlife careers and discover how you can become an environmental champion now and in the future.

Thursday, April 21
Topic: Animal Helpers
Location: The Wetlands Institute

Ever wonder what it is like to work with animals and help protect their natural habitat? Learn how The Wetlands Institute’s Research and Conservation team help threatened and endangered species including shorebirds, diamondback terrapins, and horseshoe crabs. Find out how we care for our aquatic creatures on exhibit in The Wetlands Institute Aquarium and learn how you can be an animal helper too!

Thursday, May 19
Topic: Pollution Patrol
Location: 48th Street Beach, Avalon

From trash, to fishing gear, to microplastics, marine debris takes many forms in our coastal waters and on our beaches. Join the pollution patrol and conduct a beach clean-up while learning about the impacts of marine debris on coastal habitats.

Discounted Semester Pricing:  Each semester includes 3-monthly, 3-hour lessons and costs $36/per participating student.  Advanced registration is required. Please call (609) 368-1211 to register at least 48 hours in advance. Payment is required in full at the time of registration and payment is nonrefundable. Monthly lessons will not be cancelled due to low enrollment, but may be rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Regular Monthly Pricing:  Although each lesson tends to build on its predecessors, you can pick and choose the monthly lessons best suited to your child. The price of each monthly 3-hour lesson is $15/per participating student.  Advanced registration is required. Please call (609) 368-1211 to register at least 48 hours in advance. Payment is required in full at the time of registration and payment is nonrefundable. Monthly lessons will not be cancelled due to low enrollment, but may be rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Program Length and Time:  Programs occur from 10:00am – 1:30pm and include 3 hours of active lesson and a 30 minute break. Lessons start promptly at 10:00am and 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!

Special COVID-19 Considerations:  As you prepare for your visit, just a few quick rules and procedures to ensure your visit is safe for your family and ours.

  • To the extent possible, please adhere to social distancing guidelines (6 feet apart or more for The Wetlands Institute staff and/or other program participants) in all areas of The Wetlands Institute both inside and outside, especially when in close proximity to other “NEHST Family Flocks”.
  • We require everyone aged 2 years and older, who is physically able without inhibiting their health, to wear a face covering in all indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
  • For Overnight Programs, masks are not required for eating, drinking and/or sleeping indoors. However, participants conduct these activities while socially distanced and in areas with increased ventilation and air circulation.
  • For your safety, all The Wetlands Institute staff will be wearing face coverings in all indoor public spaces.
  • We strongly recommend face coverings be worn outdoors on the decking, lawn areas, Salt Marsh Trail, elevated walkway, and dock, particularly when social distancing is not possible and/or when interacting with The Wetlands Institute Staff and/or other participating group members in accordance with your organization’s regulations.
  • For the safety of others, please do not visit The Wetlands Institute if you are feeling ill or running a fever.
  • Due to capacity limitations, we will limit the number of NEHST participants each month.


Traveling from a farther 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 ever-changing ecosystem and our elevated walkway and dock provide countless opportunities for self-exploration and learning!

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.  It is the accompanying adult’s responsibility to monitor their behavior during the program.

Interested in a special homeschool program for your group?We can accommodate homeschool groups of a minimum of 10 students per program. Please email or call Michelle Rebilas, Environmental Educator at mrebilas@wetlandsinstitute.org with any questions or to schedule a special time and date for your group.

Looking for more than a 3 hour experience?
We now offer full immersion overnight programs for your homeschool group of 10 or more children.
Complete program description:  Overnight Program