Programs for Schools
Mass Audubon school programs combine standards-based science content with the joy and excitement of learning about nature.
Our award-winning school programs can bring the natural world to you and your students through field trips and classroom explorations that are aligned with Massachusetts Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Our programs are designed to enhance students’ understanding of species and habitats; ecological concepts such as food webs, cycles, systems, adaptation, and evolution; climate change; and interrelationships between people and nature, while giving them a chance to connect with nature on an emotional level and practice key science skills such as modeling, arguing from evidence, and collecting, analyzing and interpreting data.
We Meet You Where You Are
Programs at Your School, in Your Community, or at Our Sanctuaries
Whether you want to bring nature into the classroom or take lessons outside, our programs offer insight into New England habitats and native species and enrich natural history and science lessons while strengthening students’ connections to the environment.
We will work with you to craft customized programming that works for you, including programs that take place in your classroom, schoolyard, or a nearby habitat; field trips to a Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary; or a hybrid of classroom and field experiences, according to your needs. Many programs can include the chance to meet native wildlife in the classroom or virtually.
Questions? Submit a school program inquiry
At Your School
Incorporate nature-based learning into your classroom, support your science curriculum, and help students discover the wonder of the natural world in their own schoolyard. We offer a variety of school-based, standards-aligned programs that will get students exploring science concepts in the classroom or outdoors in your schoolyard.
Students will explore the ecology of their schoolyard through hands-on activities that help develop core science practices and bring classroom content to life. Whether you have a parking lot surrounded by weeds, a soccer field, or a vernal pool in your schoolyard, we will make the most of it!
Give your science lab a nature-based spin. Through exciting, inquiry-based science activities, students will observe, investigate, classify, think critically, and draw conclusions about the natural world—all inside the classroom.
Our educators bring tools and samples of pond water, soil, fungi, or other natural materials that provoke wonder and engage students in hands-on exploration.
Let the natural world come to you and bring core science concepts to life with a classroom visit from native wildlife and a Mass Audubon wildlife expert. Programs include live animal observations and interactive discussions that honor the questions and observations of students while weaving in relevant science content. Note that we work primarily with wildlife that cannot be released into the wild. Our animal availability will vary from region to region.
Our multi-week science series engage students in hands-on, inquiry-based environmental learning in their own classroom and schoolyard over multiple visits. Programs are aligned to the Massachusetts Science Frameworks, and model internationally benchmarked Next Generation Science Standards.
Naturalist-in-Residence Program (K–Grade 5)
Weekly or monthly visits from a Mass Audubon naturalist at your school.
Get students outside and exploring the natural world right outside of their school doors. Our naturalists will work alongside teachers to develop and integrate lessons into existing classroom curricula to increase students’ knowledge of and appreciation for local landscapes and wildlife. Frequency of visits can vary from weekly to monthly visits.
The Science of Massachusetts (K–Grade 8)
A multi-week science curriculum based at your school
This inquiry-based program, which is tightly aligned to the Massachusetts Science Curriculum Frameworks, takes a deep dive into the excitement of learning through place-based inquiry.
Students will get outside, complete field journaling assignments, develop important science practices, and be invited to find their place in nature and impact their world, whether they live in an urban, suburban, or rural community. Each series of lessons is designed to complement one of your existing science units. Learn more about Science of Massachusetts
Rivers to Sea (Grades 5–12)
A Year-long Program to Discover and Protect Your Local Watershed
In the Rivers to Sea program, students and teachers partner with Mass Audubon educators to explore, research, and take action in their local watershed.
Students will learn to recognize the importance and interconnectedness of watershed systems, from rivers to the sea. They will also delve into the impact of human activities on watersheds, both positive and negative. At the heart of this STEM-focused program is student involvement in community action projects that will contribute to the improvement of watershed and public health, building their sense of self-efficacy and agency to effect positive change in their local communities.
School educators who participate in Rivers to Sea with their students will work with Mass Audubon educators over the course of a year or more to strengthen their skills and confidence in integrating watershed topics into their curriculum, both in the outdoors and in their classrooms. Together, we will support student-involved community action projects and help school educators build a support network with their local watershed organizations and other community stakeholders.
This program was inspired and made possible by generous funding from NOAA’s Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program.
Whether ponding in vernal pools, exploring forest habitats, or engaging in a community science project, Mass Audubon field trips and field science experiences provide students of all ages the opportunity to connect with the natural world and practice vital science skills.
Most field trip programs can be paired with an introductory classroom experience at your school, either virtually or in-person, to activate student learning prior to their visit. If transportation is a barrier, programs can be led as field experiences in your own schoolyard or a nearby outdoor space.
Experience a Sanctuary Near You
Every Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary offers rich opportunities to explore natural ecosystems, encounter native wildlife, and engage in hands-on science, but each one provides unique experiences for learning based on the habitat, ecology, and facilities of the site. Students visiting our sanctuaries:
- Witness sustainable agriculture on a working farm at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln and see how domesticated animals can help with ecological management by meeting the resident sheep at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton or goats at Habitat Education Center in Belmont.
- Explore coastal habitats and learn about the unique wildlife that lives there, like fiddler crabs, seals, and seabirds, at Wellfleet Bay in Wellfleet, Long Pasture in Barnstable, or Felix Neck in Edgartown.
- Work with Mass Audubon scientists to collect data for long term ecological research projects while you study salt marsh or forest ecosystems.
- Marvel at the diversity of wildlife, particularly birds and insects, and their habitats at Ipswich River in Topsfield, Tidmarsh in Plymouth, Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester, or Pleasant Valley in Lenox.
- In late winter, see up-close the process of turning maple sap into syrup at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, Ipswich River in Topsfield, or Moose Hill in Sharon.
- And so much more!
Afterschool Experiences at Your School
Enrich your afterschool program with a nature-based option that will get students outdoors to explore, have fun, and practice age-appropriate science skills in their own schoolyard. Whether you have asphalt and a few trees, a school garden, or a full forest surrounding your school, we will help your students connect with the diversity and wonder of the natural world.
Environmental Explorers (K–Grade 8)
Designed for groups of 12–15 students, Environmental Explorers is a weekly afterschool offering that connects students in grades K–8 to nature wherever they are. Each week, students dig into a new topic while building science practices and naturalist skills. When possible, lessons will bring students outside and use whatever environment is readily available.
Environmental Leaders Club (Grades 6–12)
This year-long afterschool club engages youth in project-based learning about environmental issues affecting their own community and gets them involved in developing solutions that make an impact.
Throughout the year, students will connect with their peers and an experienced Mass Audubon teacher/mentor; participate in community science projects; meet adults in environmental careers; and give back to their community while building important leadership and teamwork skills along the way. The spring is devoted to student-led action projects that address local environmental issues.
Clubs usually meet once a week, but the schedule is adjustable based on your needs.
Find School Programs Near You
School programs are offered around the state. Check out your local sanctuary or reach out with questions. Submit a school program inquiry
Boston Nature Center, Mattapan
Felix Neck, Edgartown