Merry Lea provides environmental education for people of all ages to develop knowledge, behaviors and skills that will contribute to a healthier world. Our diverse ecosystems provide opportunities to explore landscapes and natural processes of northeastern Indiana, provoke interest in life-long investigation and encourage stewardship. These experiences in the outdoor world are shaped to help inspire exploration and foster a sense of wonder. 

We want each person to come away with a sense of place and hope.

Merry Lea offers many programs for schools and public events for all ages that connect people to the outdoors through engaging environmental activities, including:

  • School programs
  • Children & family programs
  • Annual public events
  • Seasonal public events
  • Nature-based early childhood education


Merry Lea Programs

School Programs

Merry Lea offers four PreK-12 program formats for schools, homeschoolers, libraries, camps and other organizations. Programs are designed to fit school curricula as well as Indiana academic standards for science.

1. Field Trips at Merry Lea: Discover the vibrant ecosystems at Merry Lea, and the plants and animals that call this place home. Go hiking along trails, discover critters under a log and more. Topics vary across age groups, environmental focuses and seasons.

2. At Your School: Explore your school grounds or nearby natural space facilitated by Merry Lea educators. These indoor or outdoor programs are designed to lead your class in a close-up observation of their place.

3. Live Distance Learning: Merry Lea educators will connect with your classroom through Zoom! Enjoy real-time interaction with an experienced educator, curated videos, and engaging activities.

4. Homeschool Programs: Each year, Merry Lea hosts programs for homeschooled students covering a range of natural history and environmental topics, taking advantage of Merry Lea’s wonderfully diverse landscapes outside. Students are grouped by age for trail explorations to provide age appropriate instruction.

Children & Family Programs

We host a suite of opportunities for children ages PreK-12 and the entire family in these annual and/or ongoing programs.

Annual Public Events

Individuals and/or families have the opportunity to engage in these nature-based events annually. These include topics like seed saving, hiking, outdoor family activities and more.

Seasonal Public Events

Not only do we host programs year after year, but we also host singular events based on emerging interests for members of the public. Past programs have included catching dragonflies, meeting our goats, canning or preserving food, hiking through a restored oak savanna and more. Check out our upcoming events:

Nature-based Early Childhood Education

Schools across the nation are increasingly incorporating nature into their classrooms, following research that tracks the benefits of integrating nature with education. When access to outdoor spaces is connected with research-based teaching techniques, the resulting program is referred to as Nature-Based Early Childhood Education: a powerful way to support our youngest learners.

Merry Lea not only hosts a Nature Preschool, but also offers various resources and professional development opportunities for educators, parents, administrators and others to support incorporating nature into children’s learning. Click the button to learn more:

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General Policies


All of our school offerings are aligned to Indiana Academic Standards and Indiana Preschool Early Learning Foundations, and are designed to support your student’s academic and outdoor learning. Please review our Scheduling Policies page with any questions about scheduling a program.

We also offer custom programs. Custom programs may combine 2-3 of our standard programs or you may request a program about birds, renewable energy, wild edible plants, wetland restoration and insects. All custom programs have separate pricing. See the above link for more information.

Please do not hesitate to contact Kaitlyn Sproles at or 260-799-5869 with any questions or issues that arise when using this form.