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Weekly all-day outdoor classroom at Audubon set

From September 17 through December 18, 7- to 10-year-olds can spend 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a Thursday or Friday at The Outdoor Classroom at the Audubon Community Nature Center. Children will have a combination of formal learning and free-choice activities.

With so many children learning at home, Audubon Community Nature Center has a new opportunity for children between the ages of 7 and 10.

From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays from Sept. 17 through Dec. 18, Audubon is presenting The Outdoor Classroom. Since the same program is offered both days each week, children should be registered for only one of the days. Registration is separate for each program.

The Outdoor Classroom provides hands-on, outdoor, inquiry-based learning in the morning combined with free-choice activities in the afternoon. Lessons revolve around state educational standards in both New York and Pennsylvania and serve as a supplement to virtual or homeschool curricula.

The program’s classroom itself is an outdoor space, with tents to provide shelter if needed. There is a dedicated room inside the Nature Center if weather is particularly severe.

Each morning, trained Audubon educators will lead lessons based on the Next Generation Science Standards that have been adopted by New York state public schools, or the Pennsylvania state education Standards, combined with the hands-on teaching techniques designed by the University of California at Berkeley “Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing” program. For more information, visit BeetlesProject.org/About.

Afternoon free-choice activities include play, discovery, investigation, a continuation of the morning lesson, reading, or other outdoor, self-led choices.

Students need to come with a face covering (for when they are indoors), snack, lunch, water bottles, insect repellant, sunscreen, a complete change of clothes, and gear appropriate for the weather.

The fee for the program is $56, Nature Center members receive 10% discount. Scholarships may be available, call for details. Enrollment is limited and paid reservations are required the Tuesday before each program.

Reservations can be made by calling 569-2345 during business hours or by going to AudubonCNC.org/Programs and clicking on “Current Schedule.”

Audubon’s COVID-19 safety precautions require face coverings for all visitors ages 3 and up for indoor programs. Face coverings are also required outdoors when visitors cannot maintain six feet of distance between family groups.

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. first floor of the Nature Center building, including the Blue Heron Gift Shop, is open to the public Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Because not all of the building will be accessible, admission is by donation only.

Audubon’s 600-acre nature preserve is open from dawn to dusk daily and includes a native tree arboretum, gardens, picnic area, and six miles of trails, and Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle. To learn more about Audubon and its programs, call 569-2345 during business hours, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook.

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