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Learning outside the box

Youth Experiences

Traveling Naturalists, bringing outdoor education to students

Wenatchee River Institute’s Traveling Naturalist program brings trained naturalists to 4th-grade classrooms across North Central Washington, classrooms having high numbers of low-income and minority students. The program includes:

  • Monthly classroom visits for the duration of the school year, September through May.
  • Field Days at WRI’s 9-acre campus in Leavenworth or at natural areas near the schools.
  • Journals for each student to practice their naturalist skills: recording observations, charting scientific experiments, and other activities.
  • Hands-on curriculum that is experiential and aligns with Next Generation Science Standards, focusing on structure and function in the natural world.
  • Yearlong scientific inquiry to cultivate curiosity and wonder about the natural world.

During the 2019-2020 program, naturalists will teach in 23 classrooms throughout the region, including Mission View, Lincoln, and Columbia Elementary in Wenatchee, Alpine Lakes Elementary ELL classroom in Leavenworth, Morgen Owings Elementary in Chelan, Manson Elementary, and Brewster Grade School.

The Traveling Naturalist program is modeled after the Montana Natural History Center’s successful Visiting Traveling Naturalist in the Schools program. Current grant funding covers all program costs dependent on school demographics. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact WRI Traveling Naturalist lead, Naomi Liebhold, or 509-548-0181 x6.

The Traveling Naturalist Program is funded by the Fordham Street Foundation and the Williams International Fund.