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Audubon at School

Working to advance science education and conservation through hands-on learning

Remember that time you went on an elementary school nature field trip? Or when a special guest gave an inspiring presentation at your school? Unique learning experiences like these leave a lasting impression on students and spark the beginning of a lifetime of passion for a subject.

Nurturing the Next Generation of Conservationists

At Audubon Connecticut, we are dedicated to nurturing a passion for nature and learning. Our commitment to education is at the heart of the Audubon tradition. By inspiring more people in more places to value and protect the natural world, we are laying the foundation for future conservation. Field trips and programs at schools are principal elements of our education work.

Every connection we make with a student makes a difference for that student and the environment in which they live. That’s why we offer school and youth group programs through our three centers (in Greenwich, Sharon, and Southbury) throughout the year. Our programs provide a great way for students of all ages to explore and learn naturally through hands-on activities and the exploration of the plants and animals of the forest, field, and aquatic habitats along our outdoor trails and through at-school programming.

Bringing Science to Life

We live in a time where nature-based and environmental education is critically important. Educators, parents, and youth organization leaders are seeking fun, authentic experiences that connect their children to STEM learning. Information gained through hands-on learning has greater retention than facts delivered through traditional classroom teaching methods alone.

By working with schools to engage students in learning experiences outside the classroom, Audubon is supporting and enhancing classroom learning with hands-on, inquiry-based exploration. Our education programs help to awaken students’ excitement about science (and the natural phenomena around them) and to relate in-school studies with potential careers in conservation and science.

Our educational reach goes beyond school students. Our experienced educators also help guide teachers in the planning and teaching of science units in a hands-on, inquiry-based format. Audubon partners with select schools and districts across Connecticut to help implement customized plans involving professional development, coaching, and related support focused on how inquiry of our natural world connects across subjects as they begin to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Working Beyond Our Audubon Centers

In underserved, urban communities, Audubon Connecticut’s Schoolyard Habitat Program (in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) works to develop healthy schoolyard habitats for both children and wildlife; integrates place-based environmental education into the school curriculum; and promotes environmentally-friendly practices among children and their families at home. As part of Audubon's broad Bird-Friendly Communities initiative, the Schoolyard Habitat Program provides opportunities for students to use their schoolyard as an outdoor living classroom, to play leadership roles in the development of the schoolyard habitat, and to engage in meaningful conservation activities at school, home, and in their community.

Making a Difference Across Connecticut

With a collective reach of more than 11,000 students each year, Audubon Connecticut’s school programs are making a great impact on science education in the state—from rural schools in the Northwest Corner to city classrooms in New Haven. Feedback from educators and students is providing excellent insight into the effectiveness of our work.

While single experience school programs provide excellent hands-on learning that supports classroom lessons, our multi-visit programs have demonstrated to be more effective. Even more impactful is visiting the same students year after year in each grade throughout their elementary career—like the programs provided by Audubon Sharon at the Salisbury Central School in Lakeville, Connecticut.

Through our engagement with these students each year (sometimes multiple programs a year) from Pre-K up through 6th grade, the retention of what they learn is remarkable. During our programs students often enthusiastically recall and reference lessons they learned in previous years while building a positive connection with the Audubon educators that return year after year. Even years later, during high school career days, students flock to the Audubon table to engage with the educators who led their elementary school programs and to learn more about science and conservation careers. Our programs are making a significant difference throughout Connecticut.

If you would like to learn more about our school programs, please contact a member of our team:

Audubon Center Bent of the River (Southbury) - Ken Elkins, Education Program Manager, at 203-405-9113 or by email.

Audubon Greenwich - James Flynn, Environmental Education Specialist, at 203-930-1354 or email.

Audubon Sharon - Wendy Miller, Education Program Manager, at 860-364-0520 or email.

Audubon Connecticut Schoolyard Habitat Program - Katie Blake, Bird-Friendly Communities Manager, at 203-930-1385 or email.

We need your help to nurture the next generation of conservationists. Please support our conservation work, and Donate Today!

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