Earthplace offers innovative, curriculum-based natural history programs for pre-K to Grade 5 and are designed to supplement school science units. All programs are held at Earthplace. The programs are appropriate as an introduction or review of the topic and may be tailored to meet the needs of the audience. As appropriate, these programs can also be adapted for scout and adult groups.
GRADES K - 1 PROGRAMS
What makes an animal a mammal? When students meet a live mammal they will discover what distinguishes these animals from other vertebrates. Students will visit three stations for focused observation of mounted specimens and natural objects. A cooperative activity will familiarize students with Connecticut mammals, typical seasonal behaviors and the habitats they live in. This program has a Fall/ Winter theme.
Slither & Swim: Reptiles & Amphibians
What are the key differences between amphibians and reptiles and how do they compare to us? Students will observe and interact with live animals, exploring the characteristics that classify these animals. Discover adaptations that enable them to protect themselves and survive in their specific habitats. Activities include sorting amphibians and reptiles and charting the life cycle of a frog.
“To Bee or not to Bee”: Insects
Build a bug to learn and demonstrate the physical structure of insects. Explore adaptations and life cycles of insects while learning how insects affect people. Use research tools and the scientific method of investigation to make a prediction of insect behavior. Conduct an experiment and reach a conclusion through observation of live insects.
GRADES 2 - 5 PROGRAMS
Moving On Up: Forest Layers
From forest floor to canopy students will get to know each structural layer of the forest. Cooperative activities indoors are followed by an investigative walk through typical forest communities on the Earthplace trails. Identify a variety of forest animals, the layer of the forest that they occupy, and how they interact with each other as parts of a food web. Record observations of forest organisms, a rotted log and soil samples.
Land and Water
Students will compare and contrast the adaptations of animals that live in wetlands with those that live on land. To understand the water cycle, we will follow the path of a raindrop through the habitats of Earthplace. Along the way we will discover the flora and fauna differences in these habitats and examine soil samples at various parts of the water shed.
Discover the wide variety of aquatic insects and other invertebrates that make the pond their home. Conduct a field study at our pond with hand lenses and other tools. Observe, sort, identify and count these aquatic invertebrates from pond water samples. Collect data on pH levels, water and air temperature and relate this to the pond animals we find.
GRADES PRE-K to 5
Meet live animals including mammals, insects, reptiles and birds, during this exciting hands-on program. What animal’s long body enables them to travel effortlessly through burrows? Which animals hiss when they’re disturbed? We’ll find out the answer to these questions and learn more natural history through up close encounters with the Earthplace “species ambassadors”. We’ll address safety issues and respect with regard to wildlife. Note: This stimulating and engaging program is easily adapted and accessible to any grade level. Please make us aware of any wildlife or ecological topic you are covering with your class if you would like us to address these within the Critter Encounter.
Explore the trails at Earthplace with one of our expert Naturalists. See the sights of the season and keep a lookout for wildlife! This program is supplemented with natural artifacts and fosters discovery and ecological awareness. Concepts such as food webs, habitat and conservation will be discussed as appropriate to group's grade level.
Earthplace, nationally accredited by the American Association of Museums, is dedicated to promoting positive relationships between people and their natural environment.
ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS: Earthplace offers innovative, curriculum-based natural history programs designed to supplement your science unit. This is achieved through:
- hands-on presentations designed to enable and encourage students to actively experience the wonder and importance of the natural world around them
- use of scientific tools, scientific method of investigation, and cooperative activities
- live animals, where appropriate
- observation of mounted specimens, skins, skeletons and models
- use of Earthplace sanctuary and trails.
Programs are appropriate as an introduction or review of the topic and may be tailored to meet the needs of the audience
PROGRAM LENGTH: Grades K -1: approx. 40 minutes, Grades 2 -5: approx. 50 minutes
PROGRAM FEE: $125 per program (25 participants max) (No fee for Westport public schools.)
PROGRAM LOCATION: All programs are presented at Earthplace.
- Natureplace, a hands-on nature museum with wildlife dioramas, artifacts, activities, mounts and information about local animals, plants and the environment. Suggested 5 to 1 children to adult supervision ratio.
- Live Animal Hall featuring birds, reptiles and mammals and an outdoor Birds of Prey display area featuring a bald eagle
- 62-acre Sanctuary with trail system through several habitats including deciduous woodlands, streams and open fields
- Picnic areas
- Ecology Resource Lab
HOURS: Monday – Saturday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Contact the Program Coordinator at 227-7253 from Tuesday through Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM. Be prepared to discuss program choice, available dates, location, # of students & student comprehension level of the topic.
ALLERGY SUFFERERS AND THEIR GUARDIANS: Our building is not “peanut free”. Peanut products may be found in the diets of some Animal Hall residents and in the bags of birdseed near our Museum Store. Those suffering fur, feather or dander allergies should also exercise caution. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
ABOUT YOUR VISIT
- Be sure to allow time for your class to visit our live animals, trails and exhibits.
- Your group is welcome to visit the center on your own. Please contact the Program Coordinator so we may accommodate your group’s arrival and use of the building.
- Collection of anything, living or non-living, is not permitted on the sanctuary unless it is part of a program with one of our educators.
- Chaperones are asked to participate in monitoring student behavior when groups are visiting Earthplace.
- Earthplace is wheelchair accessible and features a 1/4 mile Universal Access Nature Trail which is wheelchair accessible.
- In case of inclement weather, call Earthplace at 227-7253 to confirm that the facility is open and your program will run as scheduled. An announcement on our voice mail system will detail closings or delayed openings.
- Please notify us well in advance if your group is unable to keep a scheduled program date. Schools will be charged a cancellation fee for last minute cancellations (for reasons other than weather conditions).
- Cancelled programs may be re-scheduled, depending on the availability of dates.