A central element of Merry Lea’s mission is providing environmental education for people of all ages.

Each year over 5,000 students between the ages of preschool and 12th grade participate in environmental education programs at Merry Lea. We design our programs to fit school curricula as well as state science standards. These experiences in the outdoor world are shaped to help inspire exploration, foster a sense of wonder and share joy with children of all ages. We provide information about ecosystems and natural processes of northeastern Indiana, provoke interest in life-long investigation and encourage stewardship. We want each child to come away with a sense of place and hope.

Field trips are facilitated by staff educators, graduate students earning their Masters in Environmental Education, undergraduate education and science majors, and teaching volunteers. 

Program offerings vary depending on the time of year and have a small fee per student. Our schedule fills up quickly, so we encourage teachers to pay close attention to the registration deadlines.

Feel free to contact us with questions. Call Katie Tipton at 260-799-5869 or email kctipton@goshen.edu.

Merry Lea Programs

Merry Lea offers five PreK - 12 program formats

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 a series of class sessions for homeschooled students covering a range of natural history and environmental topics. Sessions are planned so that students can attend in successive years, building on previous experiences.

5. Nature Preschool
We collaborate with Central Noble Primary School (CNP), Wolf Lake, Ind. and the Cole Center Family YMCA, Kendallville, Ind., to provide nature preschool Monday – Thursday. Students spend each morning learning in their indoor classroom at CNP before exploring Merry Lea’s outdoor classroom in the afternoon for two hours in rain, shine or snow.

Register for a Program

All offerings are aligned to Indiana Academic Standards, 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 Katie Tipton at kctipton@goshen.edu or 260-799-5869 with any questions or issues that arise when using this form.