Earth Friends

Earth Friends is designed to connect children engaged in homeschooling or unschooling with the natural world. Children aged 5-14 hike, meet live animals, and investigate on-trail discoveries to explore and gain interdisciplinary skills.


All Earth Friends Classes:

• Run for a 13 week semester in the fall / spring as well as a 4 week winter course
• Are limited to 10-13 students in a class or section
• Spend most – or all – of their instructional time outdoors in all types of weather conditions
• Explore Irvine’s 210 acres, animal ambassadors, and exhibit hall
• Incorporate math, science, social studies, literature, creative arts, health, and physical development into the weekly curriculum
• Include detailed documentation materials for homeschool reviews
• Make up one class due to weather-related closure at the end of the semester

WINTER SESSION for Children Age 5 – 11

Winter Patterns in Nature
Hiking throughout Irvine’s woods, meadows and waterways in the wintertime, we will see the natural world differently! Without color and blooms, we will explore the fascinating new patterns of nature. Content areas may include winter mammals and birds, hibernation and adaptation, geometric patterns, tracking, ice sculpture and ice painting and water play in winter.
Ages: 5-11 years old
Times: 1:00-4:00
Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, January 7 – 30
Prices: $252/ session for Members; $294/ session for Non-members

Spring 20202 sessions for Children Age 9 – 14

Living Wetlands: Nurseries of Life (Spring 2020)
Irvine’s 210 acres transforms as winter snow melts, streams begin to flow and the wetlands come to life. Exploration, observation and documentation will guide children as they explore Irvine’s waterways and wetlands. Sights and sounds abound as flora and fauna sprout and grow all around. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the importance of these unique habitats and the importance of protecting them through a citizen science project.
Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Date: Tuesdays, Feb. 11 – May 12 (no class on 4/7)
Price: $395/ session for Members; $475/ session for Non-members

SPRING 2020 SESSIONs FOR CHILDREN AGE 5 – 8

Native Communities
This class introduces children to communities native to the Maryland area, and specifically Irvine. Topics in­clude Native Americans, colonial set­tlers, native plant communities, native animal communities, and ecosystem studies. Child-led investigations encourage deep curiosity as we explore the rich history in our Piedmont area.
Age: 5-8 years old
Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Date: Tuesdays, Feb. 11 – May 12 (no class on 4/7 – Spring Break)
Price: $395/ session for Members; $475/ session for Non-members

Forest Explorers
The woodlands whisper their secrets during child- initiated exploration of Irvine’s vast 210-acre property. Children use tools and resources to discover the hidden wonders of the forest, meadow, streams, ponds and wetlands.  This class can extend the child-led emergent learning of our Forest Dreamers Program or serve as a stand-alone nature immersion.
Age: 5-8 years old
Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Date: Wednesdays, Feb. 12 – May 13 (no class on 4/8 – Spring Break)
Price: $395/ session for Members; $475/ session for Non-members

Animals of Irvine
Biology and science skills abound as children study Maryland’s native creatures. Activities align with the seasonal habits of animals. Exploration, observation, experimentation and documentation of discoveries are all part of our learning processes. We’ll go behind the scenes in Irvine’s animal care lab to get an up-close look at our animal ambassadors.  Then we’ll don our boots and grab our animal guides to search for their cousins or the clues they leave behind out in the wilds of Irvine.
Age: 5-8 years old
Time: 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Date: Thursdays, Feb. 13 – May 14 (no class on 4/9- Spring Break)
Price: $395/ session for Members; $475/ session for Non-members

What Families Are Saying

We love all the teachers!! Both kids feel very comfortable and safe in their care and free to go on adventures and get wild. I really appreciate that the teachers bring their authentic selves and interests and really connect with the kids and enjoy the journeys. Lots of cool book selections. A great blend of planned experiments/info giving for context as well as exploring and open ended experimenting and discovery.

Emily Trovato, Earth Friends Parent

Sign Up for Updates

Get the Latest from Irvine Nature Center

Learn More About Family Programs

Weekend Programs

Summer Nature Camp