At Your School
Learning and exploring outside is a powerful complement to indoor classroom time. We are proud to be partnering with our local schools, making a difference in children's lives and our communities.
Neighborhood Nature is an after-school program that encourages kids to connect with their surrounding ecosystem through exploration, play, art, and nature activities. Offered one day a week at a variety of schools, our sessions run three times per year, fall, winter, and spring. We meet after school rain or shine!
Neighborhood Nature kids:
- Learn to love the natural world right around them. Each week we focus on what makes our neighborhoods wild. We teach how to interact with our environment so that we can enjoy the natural world without making a significant impact on it.
- Develop naturalist knowledge. Students use all their senses to connect with the unique trees, plants, bugs, and birds around their school. They learn how to identify common local species and discover connections in the ecosystem. They also learn preparedness and are often surprised by how wild it can be around their own school!
- Build community. Every week, we focus on collaborating, handling conflict, and making decisions as a group. We'll use a number of Wild Whatcom mottos to help teach these skills.
- Enjoy free play and exploration. The natural world is always teaching us things, and we want to be open to these teachings. We encourage the freedom that kids crave and need, and strive to facilitate as safe and meaningful an experience as possible, while balancing both teaching and free play.
Maximum group size: 12 students
*Two Price Options: Our voluntary, two-tier structure allows families to choose a tuition level that more accurately reflects our true costs. The additional funds support essential expenses of running these programs and making them accessible to all participants. Your choice of fee level will be treated confidentially. We thank you in advance for your registration at whatever level feels right for you. Payment is due at the time of registration unless you are applying for financial assistance (see below).
Level A: $110/season (8-weeks) is a subsidized rate that covers 80% of program costs (we use donations to bridge the gap).
Level B: $130/season (8-weeks) covers full program costs.
*Does not apply to grant-funded schools or schools with in-house registration.
Cost should not be a barrier for participation. Financial assistance is available for families who need it. Please fill out the brief financial assistance form during registration.
We brave the elements in Neighborhood Nature throughout the school year. Except in particularly inclement weather (most often dictated by high winds), we explore outside. We will trek to a nearby natural space, typically within a half-mile of school to play games and let kids explore nature alongside their peers! We will often return to school wet, tired, and dirty - but with huge smiles! We have lots of gear to loan so please don't hesitate to borrow rain shells, layers, gloves, etc. And please ensure your child comes to school prepared for any weather. Living in the the Pacific Northwest means that a sunny morning can still mean a wet and soggy afternoon!
- Appropriate clothes (i.e., rain boots, rain jacket/pants, hat/gloves, and warm layers).
Contact us for gear loaner options.
- After-school snack
- Water bottle
Cancellations, refunds, and other policies.
Contact Program Coordinator, Hannah Newell: email@example.com
Take the classroom outside!
Wild Whatcom works with schools to create inspiring, hands-on learning experiences in nature. Collaborating with teachers, we create field outings that provide opportunities for classroom learning to come to life in the outdoors! Our approach includes scientific content such as observation, habitats, and stewardship experienced in the Wild Whatcom way: through hands-on activities, getting your hands dirty, fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity, mindfulness, and reflection.
EdVentures outings align with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Standards that students are learning and experiencing in their classrooms. We typically offer a series of 3-4 EdVentures outings within classrooms over the course of a school year, scaffolding learning with activities that build on each other.
Current EdVenture partners include Alderwood, Birchwood, Carl Cozier, Cordata, Roosevelt, and Sunnyland elementary schools in the Bellingham school district. The EdVentures outdoor-learning program is supported by the vision and generosity of the Whatcom Community Foundation and Washington State No Child Left Inside initiative.
Teachers! Learn more about program learning goals and logistics.
Scheduling / Questions
Interested in EdVentures at your school? Contact Program Coordinator, Meredith Hayes: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEED (Student Environmental Education & Discovery)
SEED (Student Environmental Education & Discovery) is a collaborative project with Wild Whatcom and the Bellingham Schools Life Skills Program, funded through the generosity and vision of the Chuckanut Health Foundation.
With weekly outings, SEED provides meaningful outdoor experiences to students with disabilities who otherwise rarely have opportunities to use nature-based experiences as a tool for growth and development. Students explore nature and learn to feel comfortable in new environments, while strengthening capacities in a variety of areas such as:
- Safety and comfort exploring outdoors
- Physical endurance
- Sensory-motor integration
- Individual and group socio-emotional growth
In SEED, Wild Whatcom mentors use child-led discovery, experiential education, natural history knowledge as tools to empower students to explore outdoors and connect to nature. Together, students and adults develop a sense of connection to nearby landscapes, learn key science concepts, and practice skills such as problem-solving and risk management (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan) that are applicable in all areas of their lives. For many, spending time exploring the wonders of nature is a new experience, filled with intriguing discoveries and challenges. The collaborative partnership with Life Skills teachers is key to co-creating experiences in response to the variety of strengths and needs of each student. Kids develop a desire to be outside and start to see how they are connected to the outdoors and the larger community and world.
This innovative program is proving to be an effective model of partnership that we are hoping will spread like wildfire! Throughout the year, each and every classroom at Lowell Elementary participates in two outings led by skilled Wild Whatcom staff and two service outings led by Bellingham Parks Department. These four walking field trips to the "outdoor" classroom are developing a sense of ownership and responsibility to these nearby natural spaces; integrating hands-on learning and mindfulness into classroom curriculum and providing opportunities for kids to learn in a physical way. Much gratitude to the Lowell PTA, Lowell Elementary School and the Whatcom Community Foundation's Youth Philanthropy Fund for supporting this work.
Contact Program Coordinator, Meredith Hayes: email@example.com