Investigating school yard ecology  – Active games, outdoor investigations, nature science, chemistry, problem solving, art and hands on fun. We will divide into 2 groups of 15 with a max enrollment of 30 students. We hope to offer more after school nature clubs in the future.


Franklin After School Nature Club
1st – 5th Graders
Program of the Avery House Nature Center
Free – Funding provided by Soil and Water Conservation District

Friday Afternoons 1:45- 3:30 April 5th-June 7th

Register Online HERE!


April 5th  Living Organisms and What They Need
It might seem simple, but plant and animal organisms are dependent on many factors to ensure their survival. What do individual species need, and why are they so dependent on one another? Play Habitat Habitat and Which Niche to discover the answers.

April 12th Food Chains – Pass the Energy Please!
“Passing the energy needed to live is a difficult thing for a creature to give.” Play Web of Life and Into the Wetlands to discover the connections between the living creatures in an ecosystem. Learn why green plants are the hero of the food chain. Identify the native plants our local animals are reliant upon.

April 19th Native vs. Invasive Plants
Play Drop Dead Himalayan Blackberry, a fun math based game exploring the odds of native species surviving with an invasive like this in the area. Learn how to ID natives, non natives and invasives using plant guides and an active relay game, then conduct a botanical survey of the school yard to better understand the plant community there.

April 26th  Soil Science and Decomposers
Learn the important role dirt plays by doing soil chemistry and nutrient testing– then compare stream soil and school yard soil. Solve the mystery of FBI (Fungus, Bacteria and Invertebrates) and get ready to dig in!

May 3rd  Oak trees and Tree as an  Ecosystem
Explore all the flora and fauna that abound in one single Oak Tree.  Go on a micro hike to discover everything one tree offers and compare different trees. Investigate teacher and student uses of the schoolyard, and how those trees fit into our lives!

May 10th Field Trip walk to Porter Park
Now it’s time to experience everything we’ve learned about so far! Hunt for habitats and animal signs by the stream, survey aquatic life, compare the park to the Franklin school yard.

May 17th Putting the Pieces together
All species of plants and animals are living organisms in search of what they need in the great web of life. What species would live on the school grounds? By adding a carefully planned native garden we can attract diverse wildlife for all students and teachers to enjoy. We will map and measure key locations for this garden!

May 24th Backyard Conservation: Birds
Birds need to go to school too! Learn to identify local species, what their diet is and what native plants might encourage them to set up a home in the school yard or even your own back yard. Attract migrating birds too, and understand why it’s so important. We’ll do fun activities to build bird habitat.

May 31st Backyard Conservation: Common Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians
We’ll play fun activities to identify common local species and their habitats and do hands on investigation of common backyard animals.

June 7th School Yard Garden Plan and Presentations
Lets put it all together and get a native garden planned for Franklin! We’ll do hands on planting outdoors in current landscapes to test our plans.