Junior Naturalists

Enrollment is now open for the 2017 Junior Naturalists Series!


Spend one Sunday afternoon per month with a Duke Farms Naturalist learning all about the wonders of nature. Each Junior Naturalist (accompanied by an adult) will explore our habitats in every season and learn about a different nature topic each month. 


These programs are designed for families with children in grades K-6. At least 1 adult must accompany each child during this program, with no more than two adults accompanying each child. Please note that we cannot accommodate any children who are not currently in Kindergarten. This includes the younger siblings of any registered K through 6 participant as well as any toddlers or babies in arms, carriers, slings or strollers.




Part of each program is spent indoors learning about the topic of the month. Then we go outdoors to explore nature in the field.  Appropriate shoes are required and this program will run rain or shine, so please dress for the weather!



Series Schedule:

This year we are offering FOUR seasonal mini-series. 


Each class is held on a Sunday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM



1st Mini-Series:


Date Topic


January 8


Winter: A Tale of Survival

Students will be introduced to some of the more common wild residents of Duke Farms and their adaptations for surviving through the winter.  We will take to the field and search for wildlife (or signs of wildlife) that are active all through the winter.

February 5

Birds at My Feeder

Students will be introduced to the birds that stay active around Duke Farms all winter. Bird Food and Bird Feeding through the winter will be explored. We will go out and observe birds with binoculars and begin to learn ways to identify the birds that visit our feeders.


March 12

Signs of Spring

Even though it may still look like winter outside, spring is really not far away.  Join a Naturalist on a scavenger hunt to find the telltale signs of spring at Duke Farms.



Eventbrite - Junior Naturalists 2017: 1st Mini-Series - Entire Series



2nd Mini-Series:


Date Topic


April 9


Bumblebees are extremely important pollinators of flowers and agricultural crops. They are able to fly in cooler temperatures than many other bees, making them excellent pollinators. April is a good time to search for Queen Bumblebees and learn all about these fuzzy friends in the garden.

May 7

Spring is for the Birds

By the middle of May, most migratory birds have returned from their winter homes.  This is a super busy time for birds as they establish territories, sing for mates, build nests, lay eggs and find food.  Let’s explore the habitats of Duke Farms as we learn why spring is for the birds. 


June 4

Frogs are Too Much Fun!

You may know they are both amphibians, but what’s the difference between a frog and a toad?   And why do they make so much noise at night? We’ll have a super fun time as we learn all about these unique creatures of Duke Farms.



Eventbrite - Junior Naturalists 2017: Mini Series 2 - Entire Series



3rd Mini-Series:


Date Topic


July 16


Incredible Insects

What makes an insect an insect? We'll explore the major groups of insects and discover what makes them so incredible. Then we'll go out in the meadow to collect, identify, and observe some of the bees, butterflies and bugs of Duke Farms.


August 6

Water Bugs

Don your water shoes and come learn how to collect and identify macroinvertebrates (aka water bugs).  We’ll use special nets to sample the organisms that live in streams and observe what they have to teach us about water quality.  Special note: We will be walking in water up to our knees so be sure to wear shoes or boots that can get muddy and very wet!


September 10


The monarch butterfly is a marvel of nature. Every autumn, with no map, no directions, and no guide, this butterfly sets out on a migratory journey of more than 2500 miles.  Come explore the life cycle of the monarch butterfly as we observe live caterpillars, chrysalides, and adult butterflies. We’ll also discover why milkweed is critical to the survival of monarchs and participants will take home milkweed  to plant in their own garden.




Eventbrite - Junior Naturalists 2017: Mini Series 3 - Entire Series



4th Mini-Series:


Date Topic


October 8


Autumn Trees

Fall can be a spectacular season of bright blue skies and brilliant leaf color. We'll talk about why leaves change color and take a close look at how we can use leaves and other characteristics to identify trees. Come take a walk in the woods and get to know the trees of Duke Farms.


November 5

Turkey Time

As Thanksgiving approaches, we can’t help but think and wonder about this iconic bird.  Come learn all about where they live, what they eat, and how they raise their families.  We’ll make our own turkey calls and even learn to talk turkey! Come have some fun as we explore the life and times of the eastern wild turkey.


December 3

Evergreens Keep Winter Green

What’s an evergreen?  What’s a conifer?  How do you tell the difference between a fir, a spruce, and a pine?   We’ll take close look at the “evergreens” and learn how they manage to survive in winter.



Eventbrite - Junior Naturalists 2017: Mini Series 4 - Entire Series

Looking for more family programs?

Go to our Programs page and use the dropdown to view programs specifically desgined for families.



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