The Family Naturalist Program 

Encouraging kids and parents to explore the rich natural wonders of our parks and green spaces together. 

The program helps the whole family enjoy the outdoors and better under-stand the plants, animals, and ecosystems encountered in everyday life.

Families will receive themed backpacks that are full of hands on activities and equipment for exploring with plants and animals.  Following a series of self-guided modules, families will be asked to keep a nature journal of their experiences and share these entries with the community through FHNC’s website.  Activities will also focus on ways citizens can protect and preserve our area’s environment.

In each backpack are several different activities based on the particular theme.  Activities are geared from the beginner to the more advanced nature lover. The activity levels are:

  • Discoverer-  (geared for children five and up)  This is an activity level for beginners who are just starting to explore nature.  These activities will give you a chance to get to know some of the equipment in the module and some of the basics facts about the module topic you are working on.   Generally,  these types of activities can be easily done in your own backyard with little planning.
  • Explorer- (geared for children seven and  up)  is an activity level for nature lovers, who know more than just the basics and  are up for a little more of a challenge.  Activities in this level may require a little travel to area parks and watersheds.
  • Adventurer- (geared for children ten and  up) is for those that want to take it to the next level.  Activities may involve reading an article pertaining to  your topic and then applying that information to your plan for making observations in the field or you may be asked to record your data as part of  a bigger research project that can help others.

Participants in the Family Naturalist Program will hone their skills in calling owls, catching insects, wading into streams, and much more.  They will also test their knowledge and learn about the importance of wetlands, animal signs in the wild, and what it’s like to be a park naturalist.

Incentives are available for different levels of participation.  Family Naturalist certificates and special awards are given for completing all modules.

To participate in the program you must be a  current member of Fern Hollow Nature Center.  Yearly memberships at the Nature Center begin at $40 and fund environmental education programs and events.

Participants must work in teams composed of at least one adult and one child to complete the requirements of each modules.

Modules are available on loan for a one week period with an option to renew if the module is available.  A $50 deposit is required for each   module, the deposit will be returned after the module has been inventoried and all equipment is checked.

To sign up call the Nature Center at  412-741-6136 or email