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Traveling Naturalist: School

Our Traveling Naturalist programs are our version of in-school field trips.  We’ll send a naturalist to your school with all the live animals, teaching supplies, and tools we need to facilitate a hands-on, engaging lesson about nature.  These programs are offered to one class at a time (up to 40 students), and we can stack multiple programs back-to-back in one day at your school site.  This is a very reasonably priced program – talk to your PTO about funding this opportunity for your whole school!

The curricula for each program supports the Next Generation Science Standards for each grade level. Our grade-specific programs are each unique.  We can return to your school year after year to build on previous learning! Students develop a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world around them as they engage in practices to build, deepen, and apply their knowledge. These core ideas build on each other, and on what you are teaching them throughout the year.

No mileage fee will be charged for locations within 10 miles of the ENC. A $1.10 per mile fee (round trip) will be charged to locations beyond 10 miles with a minimum charge of $40.

Call (949) 645-8489 or email Mindy to schedule a program!

What does a Traveling Naturalist program look like? Watch this video!


Science Focus


Using dramatic play, we will pack our backpacks & head out for a “hike” through different habitats, encountering our live animals along the way. $7, up to 20, 45 minutes

Students will transform into a butterfly and go on its life journey, discovering similarities and differences between other animals along the way. $7, up to 40, 45 minutes


Students will meet several native animals and learn what they need to survive in the wild. Standard: K-LS1-1. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

Students will explore some of California’s native habitats and meet some of the critters that live there. Standard: K-ESS3-1. $7, up to 40, 1 hour


Students will explore bio-inspired design; they will take ideas from native animals’ adaptations and design an animal-inspired innovation. Standard: 1-LS1-1. $8.50, up to 40, 90 minutes

Students will learn how different plants and animals grow and change throughout their life cycles. Standard: 1-LS3-1. $7, up to 40, 1 hour


Students will make models of famous pollinator pairs from the animal kingdom. Standards: 2-LS2-2, K-2-ETS1-2. $7.50, up to 40, 1 hour 15 minutes

Students will learn why biodiversity is so important – meeting members of CA’s native ecosystems along the way. Standard: 2-LS4-1. $7, up to 40, 1 hour


Students will engage is several activities that demonstrate the role and significance of adaptations. Standards: 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

Students will compare and contrast several reptiles & amphibians – learning about life cycles, animal behavior, & reproduction along the way. Standard: 3-LS1-1. $7, up to 40, 1 hour


Students will use smell, touch, sight, and hearing to make observations – and learn how animals use their senses to survive in nature. Standards: 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

After learning about the indigenous peoples of Orange County, students will jump into a hands-on simulation of how trading worked in pre-Spanish California history. Students will construct a miniature raft that floats and develop proper negotiating skills to acquire all of the resources they need for survival. Standards: 4.2.1, 4.2.5 $7, up to 40, 1 hour


Students will model how a food web works and learn how tampering with a balanced web can have long-lasting effects on nature. Standard: 5-LS2-1. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

Students will learn about our limited natural resources and model how to make better decisions that will help conserve these resources. Standard: 5-ESS3-1. $7.50, up to 40, 1 hour 15 minutes.

Middle School

Students will learn the ins and outs of human population growth and how it is impacting our planet; students will model how healthy populations fluctuate over time in nature. Standards: MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-4. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

Students will design and build a prototype of an innovation that will help minimize human impact on the environment. Standards: MS-ESS3-3, MS-ESS3-4. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

High School

Students will study some examples of ‘ecosystem engineers’ and try their hand at engineering a solution to an environmental problem. Standards: HS-LS2-7, HS-ESS3-4. $9.50, up to 40, 2-3 hours

Students will learn about the various threats to our planet’s biodiversity and will brainstorm solutions that will help conserve wildlife. Standard: HS-LS4-5. $8.50, up to 40, 90 minutes


This presentation highlights 4 creatures, great and small. Designed for all ages and any kind of audience, participants will get to meet 4 of our animals and learn why we should respect wildlife. $7, up to 40, 1 hour

In this 6-week series, participants will encounter a different taxonomic group each week – from ‘Super Spiders’ to ‘Terrific Toads’, we’ve got plenty of amazing animals to talk about. 6-week series, $150/session, up to 20, 30 minutes

Your Traveling Naturalist will meet you at a local park, school yard, or wildlife sanctuary and facilitate a one-of-a-kind hike, teaching you about the plants and critters all around us. Participants will practice being a naturalist by using special tools, making observations, and asking questions on their hike. *needs to be booked at least 8 weeks in advance. $9/student, up to 20, 90 minutes

Students will learn about the different forms of waste, and the many resources needed to make our food, electricity, and creature comforts. Students will practice reducing food waste by weighing their S.L.O.P. (stuff left on plates) in the cafeteria every day for a week. 5-day series, $800, up to 100/session, 30 minutes/session

Designed for students or adults with special needs, this animal encounter can be customized for the cognitive and physical abilities of the participants. $6, up to 20, 30-45 minutes

This is our only large ASSEMBLY style program.  Students will meet 3-4 live birds of prey that have been rehabilitated and now serve as animal ambassadors.  An ENC naturalist will share information about what makes these birds so special – including their adaptations for hunting, flying, and digesting prey.  Additionally, students will have a unique opportunity to touch skulls, talons, and feathers from birds of prey.  These native raptors are so captivating and engage even passive students to ask great questions!  $450 per assembly, up to 120 students, 60 minutes.

In this literacy-inspired program, your naturalist will read 4 classic children’s books that feature animal characters.  After each story you will meet the LIVE main character from each story!  A great program for public libraries or community festivals.  60 minutes; $7/child.

Traveling Naturalist REQUEST Form

Please complete this form if you are intersted in scheduling a program. If a date you choose is available you WILL be added to the calendar and then receive an email confirming this. If none of your dates is available we will contact you with comperable dates. Do NOT complete this form if you are just inquiring about scheduling a program. If you have questions that are not answered in the text above, feel free to call 949-645-8489 or email mindy@encenter.org with your questions prior to scheduling. Thank you!
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