Our mission is to build a passion in our community for nature and the environment through education, experience and action.

10 Woodside Lane Westport, CT 06880   203-557-4400 Earthplace Preschool: 203-557-3638

After-school Enrichment Program
Monday 
Friday, 3:00-6:00 pm

The Earthplace After-school Enrichment Program provides a bridge between school and home that connects students with nature in a meaningful way. It also assures working parents that their childhas  a seamless transition from school to an afternoon of fun and learning. Kids unplug from the electronic world and plug in to the natural world. Our 74-acre sanctuary, live animal exhibits, and interactive nature museum offer an unparalleled opportunity for nature discovery and environmental learning.

 

 

 

School and outreach programs

Earthplace offers innovative, curriculum-based natural history programs for students in pre-K through eighth grade. These programs are appropriate as an introduction or review of a topic and are designed to meet Connecticut science curriculum standards. Programs may be tailored to meet the needs of the teacher and audience and can be adapted for Scout, adult, or other groups. Many of our programs may be held either at Earthplace or your site; please inquire.

Grades K-2

Animal Adaptations
Students will get to meet and interact with a variety of animals in this exciting, hands-on program. We’ll compare how different animals move, what they eat, and how they grow! (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: K.2.a., 1.2.a., 1.3.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D.)

Mammal Matters
What makes an animal a mammal? Students will get introduced to mammals living at Earthplace in Animal Hall. We’ll talk about predators and prey, see mounts of common mammals in Connecticut, and touch live animals. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: K.2.a., 1.2.a., and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D.)

Slither and Swim: Reptiles and Amphibians
This program is all about animals that slither and animals that swim! Students can meet, touch, and learn about snakes, lizards, turtles, salamanders, and frogs in this program. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: K1.a., K.2.a., 1.2.a., 1.3.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS1.D, LS3.A, LS3.B, ESS3.A.)

To Bee or Not To Bee
Students will get up close and personal with crawly critters such as beetles, hissing cockroaches, and tarantulas. We’ll see the differences between insects and other invertebrates, and get to engage in hands-on activities. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: K.2.a., 1.2.a., 1.3.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D.)

Pond Study
This outdoor program gives kids a chance to explore life in the pond, both plants and animals. Students will use nets to catch and learn about the watery inhabitants. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: K.2.a., 1.2.a., 1.3.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D.)

On the Wing
Students will meet feathered friends up close! How does a bird fly? What does a bird eat? Have you ever pet a bird? What makes birds of prey different from other birds? (Students may pet a domestic or nonnative bird in this program, but will not be able to touch the birds of prey.) (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: K.2.a., 1.2.a., and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D.)

Grades 3-5

Animal Adaptations
Students will get to meet and interact with a variety of animals in this exciting, hands-on program. We’ll compare the special functions of different animals that enable them to live in their natural habitats! (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 3.2.a., 4.2.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

Owls
In this fascinating owl program, students will get to see live owls up close and personal. They will also learn what makes these birds so unique; program includes a viewing of a dissected owl pellet. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 3.2.a., 4.2.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

On the Wing
Students will meet feathered friends up close! How does a bird fly? What does a bird eat? Have you ever pet a bird? What makes birds of prey different from other birds? (Students may pet a domestic or nonnative bird in this program, but will not be able to touch the birds of prey.) (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 3.2.a., 4.2.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

Pond Study
This outdoor program allows students the opportunity to explore the inhabitants of a Connecticut pond! Students will learn about what makes a pond healthy, and how this connects to the greater ecosystem surrounding us. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 3.2.a., 4.2.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

Forest Ecology
Students will discover the forest of the Connecticut outdoors! This program starts indoors with meeting some of our animal ambassadors and ends outside on a trail walk to examine the forest communities. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 3.2.a., 4.2.a and Next Generation Science Standards: LS4.C, LS4.D, LS1.A, LS1.C)

Water Cycles and Watersheds
Everyone lives in a watershed, and everyone is a part of the water cycle! In this hands-on program, students will learn about the long history of water, and how they play a role in a water droplet’s journey. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 4.3.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS4.C, LS4.D, LS1.A, LS1.C)

Soils and You
Rocks and soils are the foundation of every ecosystem. This program has fun, hands-on activities for students. Learn how soil is made, and how it plays a significant role in our surroundings. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum, Standards: 3.2.a., 3.3.a., 3.4.a., 5.4.a., and Next Generation Science Standards: LS2.A, LS2.B)

Intertidal Ecology
This program takes place at Compo Beach where students can explore the harsh environment of a strip marsh. Students will collect plants and animals and discuss the adaptations that allow them withstand the extremes of their habitat. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 3.1.a., 3.2.a, 4.1.a. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS4.D, LS1.A, LS1. C, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C)

Grades 6-8

Animal Adaptations
Students will get to meet and interact with a variety of animals in this exciting, hands-on program. Some animals are consumers, and some are decomposers. We’ll talk about how the animals evolved to live in their natural habitats. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 7.2.b., 8.2.b. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

Owls
In this fascinating owl program, students will get to see live owls up close and personal. They will also learn what makes these birds so unique; program includes a viewing of a dissected owl pellet. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 7.2.b., 8.2.b. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

On the Wing
Students will meet amazing birds of prey up close. Learn how these fascinating hunters find prey, and how they capture their prey. This program includes diurnal and nocturnal predators. (Students may pet a domestic or nonnative bird in this program, but will not be able to touch the birds of prey.) (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 7.2.b., 8.2.b. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

Pond Study
This outdoor program allows students the opportunity to explore the inhabitants of a Connecticut pond! Students will learn about what makes a pond healthy, and how this connects to the greater ecosystem surrounding us. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 7.2.b., 8.2.b. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS1.A, LS3.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, LS4.D)

Forest Ecology
Students will discover the forest of the Connecticut outdoors! This program starts indoors with meeting some of our animal ambassadors, and ends outside on a trail walk to examine the forest communities. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 8.2.b. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS4.C, LS4.D, LS1.A, LS1.C)

Water Cycles and Watersheds
Everyone lives in a watershed, and everyone is a part of the water cycle! In this hands-on program, students will learn about the long history of water, and how they play a role in a water droplet’s journey. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.4.a. andNext Generation Science Standards: LS4.C, LS4.D, LS1.A, LS1.C)

Soils and You
Rocks and soils are the foundation of every ecosystem. This program has fun, hands-on activities for students. Learn how soil is made, and how it plays a significant role in our surroundings. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum, Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 7.2.b., 8.2.b. and Next Generation Science Standards: LS2.A, LS2.B)

Intertidal Ecology
This program takes place at Compo Beach where students can explore the harsh environment of a strip marsh. Students will collect plants and animals and discuss the adaptations that allow them withstand the extremes of their habitat. (Meets Connecticut Science Curriculum Standards: 6.2.a., 6.2.b., 7.2.b., 8.2.b. & Next Generation Science Standards: LS4.D, LS1.A, LS1.C, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C)

Adventure Programs
The following programs are designed to provide small group experiences for groups in fifth grade and above. Each program can accommodate up to 12 participants. As with the Animal Hall and trail programs, there is the option of running two staffed programs simultaneously.

Environmental Problem Solving
During this program students will learn all about the ways humans interact with the planet. While we hike along the trails at Earthplace we’ll stop to discuss water usage, forestry, food production, and other resource and energy concerns. We’ll use critical thinking skills and debates as we come up with creative solutions to complex issues. Topics are presented as challenges to overcome, not disasters to fear, and students focus on positive changes they can make in their own lives.

Group-building
Students work cooperatively to solve puzzles and physical challenges while exploring the trails at Earthplace. We’ll focus on communication, inclusiveness, trust, and planning. Students will get to know each other better and practice the skills they need to be effective members of a team. Earthplace staff act as guides and moderators, assisting the students in coming up with solutions as a group.

Outdoor Skills 
During this fun hands-on program we’ll learn about the skills and knowledge you need to plan and run a successful hiking or camping trip. Topics can include planning and packing, shelter-building, leave-no-trace, and map and compass reading.

Build your own!
Don’t see the program you would like to attend offered here? Give us a call and we’ll do our best to tailor a program to meet your group’s unique needs. 


Booking information and guidelines

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

Groups are also welcome to visit Earthplace for self-guided hikes and museum exploration. Please contact the program coordinator so we may accommodate your group’s arrival and use of the building.

Number of participants
Animal Hall and Trail programs are suitable for a maximum of 25 participants. Adventure Programs can accommodate a maximum of 12 participants. We are capable of running two staffed programs concurrently, so your group may bring up to 50 participants (if choosing an Animal Hall or Trail program) or 24 (if choosing an Adventure program) if signing up for two programs. You may bring additional participants if you choose to do a third or fourth self-guided program. Please call with questions regarding the size of your group.

Program length
Programs can be altered to meet the time constraints of the group, but generally programs for pre-K – firstt grade students run 30-40 minutes, and those for older groups run one hour. Programs involving a hike may also be extended to two hours for an additional fee (see below). We encourage groups travelling to Earthplace to choose several programs. Groups are welcome to bring their lunches and eat at our picnic tables or in the auditorium.

 Program fees
  • $125 per on-site program.
  • $200 per on-site extended hike program.
  • $150 per off-site program.
  • $250 per on-site / $300 per off-site Owls program.
  • There is no fee for on-site programs for Westport public schools.
  • An additional travel fee may be charged for off-site programs more than 25 miles from Earthplace.

About your visit

  • 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. This includes modeling appropriate behavior such as staying on the trail, staying with the group, and not using personal cell phones during a program.

Allergen information
Our building is not peanut- or tree nut-free. Peanut and tree nut products may be found in the diets of some Animal Hall residents. Though students will not come in contact with animal diets, they may touch animals who have nuts in their diets. Those with fur, feather, or dander allergies should also exercise caution. Please contact the program coordinator with any questions, and discuss any students in your group with severe allergies prior to the visit.

Additional features
We encourage groups to take advantage of the additional features Earthplace has to offer:
  • Natureplace is 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.
  • Animal Hall features a collection of live wildlife, both exotic and domesticated species, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. The outdoor Connecticut Birds of Prey Exhibit features many of the raptor species found in the state -- including bald eagles!
  • Our 74-acre sanctuary has a trail system through various habitats , including deciduous woodlands, streams, and open fields
  • Picnic areas
  • The Earthplace museum building is wheelchair accessible. The quarter-mile Wheels in the Woods IV trail is also a wheelchair accessible.

Hours
Monday – Friday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday:  9:00 am - 5:00 pm  
Sunday:  1:00 - 4:00 pm

To register
Contact the Program Coordinator at 203-557-4400, ext. 107 Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Be prepared to discuss program choice, available dates, location, number of students, and any specific content areas you would like the program to focus on.

Cancellations
  • In case of inclement weather, call Earthplace at 203-557-4400 to confirm that the facility is open and your program will run as scheduled. An announcement on our voicemail 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.