Helen Schuler’s Junior Naturalists program remains a long time favourite
The Helen Schuler Nature Centre has offered the Junior Naturalists Program to the community since it opened in 1982.
“Junior Naturalists is a drop-in program for children ages 6 to 10, available most Saturday mornings from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Nature Centre,” explained Curtis Goodman, Resource Development Coordinator for the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. “Since the Nature Centre opened in 1982, we have been offering environmental education programs for youth and families.”
Goodman says that the Junior Naturalists Program is for children ages six to 10 and provides a mix of activities on seasonal topics to help build confidence in spending time outside and understanding the world.
The purpose of the program, Goodman noted, is to learn about local environment and animals; have children explore the outside world; and build confidence in spending time outside.
“Our Program Leader sets the program topics. Topics are picked based on what is typically seen during that time of year and helps participants to understand seasonal changes we see outside,” Goodman said.
The September schedule includes studying skunks on September 8 and 15 and studying the Birds of Prey on September 22 and 29. Goodman says a mix of indoor and outdoor activities that help to build confidence in spending time outside are included in each class with most of the time being spent outside exploring the Nature Reserve Park.
Goodman emphasized involvement in the Junior Naturalists Program really instills a lifelong relationship with the outdoors by fostering curiosity and providing mentorship. The program, he says, also helps participants to develop a strong connection with nature and program participants remember the program for many years afterwards.
Spending time outside is a fundamental requirement for a healthy childhood!” Goodman said. “We go outside rain or shine all year-round, There are always activities outside, so be sure to dress for the weather; bring a hat, a water bottle, and a friend.”