Join Merry Lea and the Forest School Teacher Institute (FSTI) for a two-day immersion into nature-based learning environments. At the core of this professional development opportunity will be multiple site visits to observe preschool and elementary children and their teachers engaging with nature in intentional ways.
Tales & Trails: February
Explore the world of animals in winter and how they spend their time in cold and snowy months while we read Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer. Move like a raccoon or a fox to discover different tracks and patterns while engaging your imaginative side by hiding food away like a squirrel or hibernating like a groundhog. Please wear weather-appropriate clothing as we explore the outdoors.
March ECHO Network
Kara will share what outdoor education looks like for Canterbury School Early Childhood. Students experience a weekly adventure in different areas of 70 acres. We also travel to nearby wetlands, nature parks, and local parks. We'll share some pictures and outline activities we enjoy. Our experience is from the private school perspective. Erika, Canterbury's Pre-K- 4th grade Science educator, joins our Pre-K classes once a month to extend our science knowledge. She will share outdoor science lesson ideas, including ideas for experiences with air, camouflage, and small wonders. Kara and Erika work together, along with other EC colleagues, to guide and enhance the experiences of our youngest scientists. Come and join in the discussion and fun!
Join us at Merry Lea to experience the fermentation process up close! Learn how to make kombucha tea and other fermented vegetables through this hands-on workshop. Each participant will leave with a jar of kombucha that includes its own starter, fermented vegetables, and an airlock that will help you create your own fermentation station at home!
Have you ever pondered how and why snails, slugs, and other creatures look slimy? This hands-on program will teach you all about slime and its glistening beauty. Come explore creatures that use slime, go on an explorative hike to find these unique creatures, and even learn how humans use slime too! Participants can expect to make their own slime to take home.
Tales & Trails: March
Explore who lives in and around the hidden forest gems called vernal ponds. We will read The Secret Pool by Kimberly Ridley, then go on a short hike to visit one of Merry Lea’s vernal ponds. We will spend time dipping in the water for small creatures that must have vernal ponds to survive. Please prepare yourselves by wearing weather-appropriate clothing like warm, waterproof boots to stay dry and cozy while exploring, discovering and creating along our mud season trails!
Spring Break Day Camp
K-5th adventurers, come join us at Merry Lea to become Eco Explorers! Learn outdoor safety skills, navigation techniques, and how they’re used through hands-on excursions throughout different ecosystems. Discover how to build a shelter, read a trail map, and investigate natural habitats.
Homeschool Session #5: Groundbreaking Geology
Dig into Northeastern Indiana’s rich geological history! Hike down an esker, move through layers of topsoil and glacial till to find a peat bog, explore and identify rocks in an abandoned gravel pit and use models to understand how glaciers have changed Indiana’s landscape.
Green Work Retreat
Are you an undergraduate interested in finding out what types of careers there are within the field of nature science? Come join other undergraduates from around the northern Indiana area to explore career opportunities from real professionals in the field! Leave inspired by networking with real world professionals and other natural science students from a wide range of careers, backgrounds and opportunities within the field.
Growing Shiitake Mushroom Logs
Come learn how to make your own shiitake mushroom logs! Tour the Merry Lea shiitake mushroom laying yard and learn how to inoculate hardwood logs. Participants will practice the steps it takes to inoculate shiitake mushrooms using sawdust spawn. After practicing at each station, participants will have the chance to repeat the process on a log to take home and care for. Please note mushrooms will take 12-18 months to grow in your own shaded backyard, but will seasonally fruit up to four years. The use of power tools, hot wax, and heavy logs will be a part of this program.