School Programs

Welcome to Fontenelle Forest! Whether you’re planning your first visit or are already a regular visitor, we hope our educational programs inspire a deeper connection with the natural world. All programs invite you to explore the quiet wild of nature and discover the many diverse aspects of Nebraska’s natural landscape. We offer a range of topics and options for all ages and group size. If you don’t see something that fits your needs, please get in touch. Come discover Fontenelle, Nebraska’s backyard!

At the Forest

Students explore the Forest through engaging, nature-based education programs about plants, animals, and the natural resources found within Fontenelle Forest.

School Program Pricing

$7.75 per student       |        
Teacher/Adult free up to 1:10 ratio      |        $11 per additional adult


Up High, Down Low

Fall, Winter, Spring           K             (1.5 hours)

Explore the Forest from top to bottom, learning how different animals and plants relate to one another. Discuss how seasons initiate physical and behavioral changes in living things, and how animals react to the weather. (Includes 20 minutes of nature play)

Magnificent Mimicry

Fall, Winter, Spring          1st             (1.5 hours)

Look for examples of animals that copy one another, either by the way they look or how they behave. Through interactive outdoor games, learn how offspring mimic their parents. Discover how parents teach their offspring the behaviors necessary to survive by teaching them different types of calls and chirps. (Includes 20 minutes of nature play)

A Plant’s Life

Fall, Winter, Spring            2nd, 4th            (2 hours)

Take a closer look at the importance and structure of plants, then make observations of plant species found in the Forest. Conduct an experiment about what plants need in order to grow. Observe methods of seed dispersal and notice that all plants live in specific habitats that meet their basic needs.

Habitat Adventure 

Fall, Winter, Spring            3rd             (2 hours)

Describe observations about the area where a plant lives, consider why the plant thrives there, and what happens when their basic needs are disturbed. Collect evidence that links animals to specific habitats.

Amazing Adaptations

Fall, Winter, Spring               3rd                 (2 hours)

Discover amazing physical survival adaptations including a beaver’s waterproof fur, a plant’s mass production of seeds, and some fun examples of camouflage. Observe evidence of behavioral adaptations of animals in the Forest and how an animal’s instincts are inherited traits.

Agents of Change

Fall, Winter, Spring          4th               (2 hours)

Explore how wind, water, and ice cause erosion. Discover the land features and rocks that tell the story of historical landscape changes within the Forest. Conduct an activity that measures rates of erosion and learn how deposition created Nebraska’s rock layers.


Fall, Winter, Spring          5th               (2 hours)

In a never-ending cycle, energy is constantly transferring from one thing to another in our universe. Using the plants and animals we encounter in the Forest as our subjects, students will trace back an animal’s energy to the Sun. Learn how the Sun’s power is the paramount fuel for all of Earth’s plant matter.

Renew or Not

Fall, Winter, Spring        5th, 6th, 7th       (2 hours)

Identify natural resources found in the Forest and consider how those resources can be made into something that people use. Review natural resources that are particularly important to Nebraska’s success. Race your mind in our recycling relay, and memorize surprising facts about your trash.

Awesome Adaptations

Fall, Winter, Spring        6th, 8th       (2 hours)

Observe adaptations in plants and animals and discern whether they are physical or behavioral. Consider how genetic and environmental adaptations are key to an individual’s probability to reproduce and learn how natural selection affects the animal and plant world.

Backpack Forest Exploration

All Year      Pre-K – 12th      (self-guided)

Using self-guided backpack activities you’ll help kids become scientists making close observations and discovering the variety of life in the forest.

Request a Backpack program
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Critters On-Site 

All Year        Pre-K – 12th      (1 hour)

Come face to face with some of our amazing critters and learn all about why they are so neat!

Request a Critter program

Raptors On-Site 

All Year       K-12th       (1 hour)

What is a raptor? Find out in this up close and personal encounter with our educational raptors.

Request a Raptor program

Nature On-the-Go

Bring the Forest into your classroom with a Raptor or Critter On-the-Go program!

Critters On-the-Go     Pre-K – 12th

Come face to face with some of our amazing critters and learn all about why they are so neat!

1 Hour Program – $150

Additional Programs – $75/each

Request a Critter program

Raptors On-the-Go    K – 12th

What is a raptor? Find out in this up close and personal encounter with our educational raptors.

1 Hour Program – $150

Additional Programs – $75/each

Request a Raptor program

Science through Nature

Designed to supplement remote learning or home school education through observation, exploration, and investigation, partnered with fun, interactive hands-on activities and a naturalist-guided hike! 

what is the science of studying nature? the “Ologies” series:

Science through Nature (previously Homeschool Science) is an educational program for students who want to explore the sciences through nature-based, hands-on activities.

What does it mean to be a scientist? Each month, students will discover how to be just like a scientist by learning about the natural world! This exciting program is designed to supplement remote learning or home school education through observation, exploration, and investigation, partnered with fun, interactive hands-on activities and a naturalist-guided hike!

This year, students will learn about the “Ologies” or “the study of.” Each session will focus on a different “Ology” and how it can be applied to the diverse ecosystem of plant and animal life within the Forest.

Recommended for students 2nd through 4th grade. All sessions will be held at the Fontenelle Forest Nature Center from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Maximum of 15 students per session. Pre-registration required.

This program is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Pricing is per student, per session. Members must sign in to receive discount.

The “Ologies” Series

September 14, 2020


Think of all living things in Fontenelle Forest. Every living organism, from the tallest white-tailed deer to the tiniest fungi, has a place in the forest. We will learn about habitats and how plants and animals live and interact with one another.

October 5, 2020


What’s alive in the forest, but doesn’t move? Trees! In this session, we’ll learn all about trees and why they are so important to the environment. We’ll spend time outside, learning how to identify trees.

November 2, 2020


During this session, we’ll learn about our cold-blooded friends, amphibians and reptiles! We’ll have an opportunity to meet a forest resident and learn about various adaptations they use to survive in the winter.

December 14, 2020


We’ll learn about our feathery friends in this session! How do they eat? Where do they go during the winter? We’ll answer these questions and observe birds with binoculars.

January 11, 2021


The Forest is home to different types of mammals, and they are all unique in their own way. We will learn what defines a mammal and how they compare to other animals in the forest.

February 8, 2021


How can scientists predict the weather? In this session, we’ll learn all about weather and climate and how it can affect our everyday lives.

March 8, 2021


We’ll be fish out of water for this session! We’ll learn all about fish and their role in the ecosystem. We’ll follow the flow of water and learn about rivers and wetlands of Nebraska.

April 12, 2021


For this session, we’ll learn about plants! What do plants need to survive? What’s the life cycle of a plant? We will investigate and get answers to all of these important questions.

May 10, 2021


Did you hear the latest buzz? Insects are everywhere and there’s so much to learn from them. We’ll do our best in this session to hunt for the common and uncommon insects and see what these little invertebrates have to teach us.

Fontenelle Forest is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit.

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