Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Snowy Egret standing on grassy island surrounded by water
Snowy Egret @ Clare Carvel

Programs for Schools at Joppa Flats

Through field studies and classroom explorations, Mass Audubon school programs provide hands-on, inquiry-based experiences with science content and practices. Our educators enhance students’ scientific understanding of species and habitats; ecological concepts such as food webs, cycles, systems, adaptation, and evolution; climate change; and interrelationships between people and nature. 

About School Programs on the North Shore

Mass Audubon North Shore offers a wide variety of in-person and virtual programs to Pre-K–Grade 12 students across the North Shore and beyond. Under the guidance of our education staff and field teachers, students investigate, explore, and marvel at the wonders of the natural world while enriching their knowledge of life and earth sciences. 

Our programs cultivate an appreciation for and an understanding of the environment and human interrelationships with the natural world, developing thoughtful, conservation-minded citizens for the future.

Overlooking the Merrimack River and near the entrance to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), the Joppa Flats Education Center offers unique educational opportunities for schools, families, adults, and groups. Joppa Flats staff offers onsite programs in the riverside yard, guided birding, time at our tide pool touch tank, and interpretive displays for visitors.

At nearby Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, students can explore wildlife-rich habitats including salt marshes, maritime forests, and sandy and rocky coast, and visit a working bird banding research station.

Program Types

In-School and at the Sanctuary

Whether you want to bring nature into the classroom or take lessons outside, our programs for schools offer insight into New England habitats and native species and enrich natural history and science lessons while strengthening students’ connections to the environment.

Joppa Flats offers field trip programs for schools at the Education Center and nearby Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, in-school programs led by a Mass Audubon teacher naturalist, and hybrid programs that incorporate both an in-class and in-the-field experience. 

Download the North Shore School Programs Brochure to learn more about our offerings and contact us for assistance choosing or designing the right program for your needs.

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Coastal Boat Programs

Late spring and early fall are perfect times to bring your class out on the water for an ecology cruise on the Merrimack River! Choose a two-hour Beach Creature Cruise for grades PreK-3, or an Oceanography Afloat cruise for grades 4-8. Ecology cruises can be customized to meet your curriculum objectives for up to 38 passengers. 

Available June 1 through early October, groups can enjoy an ecology cruise upriver, through the Great Marsh, or into the Atlantic Ocean based on the tides. For more information, email us.

Teacher Professional Development

Mass Audubon’s Professional Development programs are designed to increase content knowledge, provide teachers with hands-on, STEM-focused learning experiences, and offer resources for teaching engaging, inquiry-based science lessons in the schoolyard or classroom. In-person and virtual workshops are available, along with consulting and site visits.

Mass Audubon works with districts and schools to engage Pre-K–Grade 12 teachers in meaningful professional development experiences that immerse teachers in the science of nature and the nature of science, furthering teacher expertise in nature-based learning, climate change, environmental literacy, environmental justice, and inquiry-based science. Our instructors are experienced educators, deeply interested in the experiences of teachers, and able to relate to the challenges of classroom teaching.

Mass Audubon offers both school-based PD programs to engage an entire grade level team or department in a deep dive on a particular topic or unit, as well as virtual and in-person public workshops throughout the year that are open to any educator. For an immersive experience, try one of our professional development Summer Institutes! 

Learn more about teacher PD at Mass Audubon