Nature Studies
The study of nature is appealing to people of all ages. It is easy to incorporate nature studies into your homeschooling approach. Some homeschooling methods focus very strongly on nature studies, including the Charlotte Mason method. Learn why it is so important and some great approaches to learning from nature.
Things to See & Do in Indiana
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden
At Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, you will see more than 500 animals from 200 species roaming freely in natural habitats surrounded by exotic plants, wildflowers and trees. Our beautiful 40-acre park features a Children's Enchanted Forest, paddle boats, bumper boats, a tram, and the Discovery Center, focusing on the world's vanishing rainforests and animals.
Indianapolis Zoo
The Indianapolis Zoo has approximately 3,800 specimens of 320 species of animals, including 16 endangered species, four threatened species, and 13 Species Survival (SSP) animal species. The Zoo also has more than 1,900 species of plants in its collection.
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo features 43 acres and 1,000 animal species, a train ride, animal contact area, pony ride, and the Rain Forest. Hug a goat in the popular contact area. Take a ride on a pony or the 1860 miniature train. See red pandas, sea lions, penguins, a giant tortoise, and much, much more. Relax in beautifully landscaped grounds and facilities.
Potawatomi Zoo
The Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend has over 600 animals on 23-wooded acres. Highlights include the Australia walk-a-bout with kangaroo, wallaby, and emu. Zoo Farm includes domestic animals such as goat, sheep, alpaca, and pigs. Your safari through Africa features lions, zebras, chimpanzees, warthogs, antelope and three species of old world monkeys. Trek through Asia to view red pandas, tigers, cranes, camels, takins, and two species of leopard. Explore the Americas, home to bison, prairie dog, flamingo, giant tortoise, and alligators. The Learning Center is an indoor building that displays hundreds of animals including reptiles, amphibians, small primates, lemurs and fruit bats.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, authorized by Congress in 1966, is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Chicago, Illinois in the counties of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte in Northwest Indiana. The national lakeshore runs for nearly 25 miles along southern Lake Michigan, bordered by Michigan City, Indiana on the east, and Gary on the west. The park contains approximately 15,000 acres, 2,182 of which are located in Indiana Dunes State Park and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Miles of beaches, sand dunes, bog, wetlands, woodland forests, an 1830's French Canadian homestead, and a working 1900 era farm combine to make the national lakeshore a unique setting for studying humans and their impact on the environment. Dr. Henry Cowles conducted his landmark ecological studies in the Indiana Dunes. Indiana Dunes is ranked 7th among national parks in native plant diversity. Research conducted over the last two decades has revealed 1,418 vascular plant species within park boundaries, of which over 90 are on the state of Indiana's threatened or endangered list.
John Ball Zoological Garden
The John Ball Zoo is located on the hillside of a beautiful 140 acre park on the west side of Grand Rapids. Currently the animal collection at the Zoo includes 237 species and 1,183 individuals.
Indiana State Museum
Constructed of all Indiana materials including limestone, sandstone, steel, brick and glass, the museum’s exhibit space covers 72,000 square feet, and the organization maintains a collection of more than 400,000 artifacts. Exhibits explore cultural and natural history of Indiana. Located in Indianapolis.
Resources
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Nature Studies Homeschool Curriculum
Considering God's Creation
Life science truly comes alive with this 270-page lap-book style notebook for 2nd-7th graders. A Charlotte Mason type discovery approach is easily implemented with creative activities, music and topical Bible studies, making this program a perfect choice for a homeschool family or a classroom. It may be used as a stand-alone science course or as an invaluable supplemental resource for any other program. 
Nature Studies Activities & Experiments
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
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Featured Resources

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