Our naturalist staff is eager to work with teachers to plan and tailor programs according to individual needs, interests, and age groups. Although teachers can call anytime to reserve programs, 1-2 months advance notice is recommended. All programs meet various Standards of Learning. Where specifically keyed to programs, SOLs are shown in bold face. Contact School Program Coordinator Casey Pittrizzi for reservations at email@example.com or 703-528-5406. Click here to download a pdf file of the school programs below.
If you don’t see a program or topic you are looking for, give us a call! We have done many programs about various topics including decomposers, web of life, ecosystems, animal classification, and many more! Our staff is happy to work with your to create the best possible learning experience for your class.
Fees: Field trips to the park are free for schools in the NVRPA Jurisdictions (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon Counties and cities of Falls Church, Fairfax, and Alexandria). Field trips for schools outside the NVRPA jurisdictions are $55 per program. Outreach programs are $55 per program.
Native Americans of Arlington- Begins indoors with a slide show about local Native American History, a story and show-and-tell items. Outdoor components include dugout canoe, spear-throwing demonstration, and a hike through the woods to study ways that Native Americans used plants and animals, understood the seasons, etc. Program includes discussion about how changes in climate of the area and then European contact changed Native American culture. K.1; K.2, 2.2, 2.3; K.4; K.5; K.7, 1.4, 1.6, 2.4, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6; (Skills) VS.1; VS.2; US1.3; WH1.2; WG.2; VUS.2
Energy Education Program - This program features a hands-on demonstration of energy, conservation, and efficiency principles. Students try out our energy bike - a fun way to learn about electricity and efficiency. Students pedal a bike to feel how much more energy it takes to light up incandescent light bulbs, power hair dryers etc. A tour of the park grounds and Energerium follows, with students exploring our many interactive exhibits. K.10, 1.6, 1.8, 3.2, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11, 4.2, 4.3, 6.2, 6.6, 6.9, PS.6, PS.10, PS.11, ES.7, PH.8
Plants and Animals: These local natural history programs include an indoor interactive presentation, an outdoor activity, and an opportunity to explore the Nature Center. Some are weather permitting. Many of these programs offer students the opportunity to interact with the wide variety of live animals on exhibit in the nature center.
* Animals in winter - talk, study items and live animals. (Topics include hibernation, migration, adaptations, dormancy, and more!)
* Birds of Prey - slide show and live birds of prey.
* Birds in Virginia - slide show, movie and/or bird hike. (Include description describing vertebrate/invertebrate
* Mammals of Virginia - slide show, talk, study skins and hike.
* Snakes of Virginia - slide show and live snakes. (Reptiles & Amphibians of Virginia) Warm-blooded/cold-blooded.
* Insects - introduction to insects and their ecology. Includes hike and insect collection during warm months.
* Tree Identification - hike to learn about local trees.
* Wildflower Identification - slide show and hike (seasonal).
* Geology - emphasizes the significance of the Fall Line on local geology. Describe the physical properties of different rock types found in the area. Examine weather formations, erosion, and valuable rocks such as minerals and ores found in Virginia. Explore the rock cycle, plate tectonics, and the interior of earth, earth history and fossil evidence. Slide show, talk with various specimens and hike. K.4; 1.1; 2.7; 3.3; 4.8; 5.7; (Earth Science) ES.6, ES.8, ES.10.
* Soils - slide show, talk, hike and soil sampling.
* Circles of Life Program - begins indoor with a demonstration and discussion on cycles familiar to us, and the role of the sun in fueling all cycles on earth. Explain many cultures, both past and present, have understood the earth’s reliance on the sun and have incorporated this into symbols, flags, etc. Explore the outdoor compost sites and hike to the Indian circle garden where students participate in a life cycle by giving compost-rich water to a tree. K.6, K.8, K.9, K.10; 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8; 2.4, 2.5, 2.8; 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11; 4.5, 4.8; 6.5, (Life Science) LS.4, LS.9
* Seasonal Programs (winter, spring, summer or fall) – outlines the seasonal changes that occur throughout the year with an emphasis on animals and plants preparing for the seasons. This program includes live animal presentation, energerium exploration, and an outdoor hike.
* Senses Program - explores nature through our 5 senses. Indoor component includes hands-on presentation incorporating visual, auditory and tactile props such as skulls, furs, puppets and live animals. Discuss the differences between reptiles and mammals. Outdoor hike includes “crunch ‘n sniff” where students smell plants that have edible properties, listen for unusual sounds, act like a tree, and visit the live Birds of Prey cage to discuss hunting adaptations.