Connecting people with nature is one of the Triangle Land Conservancy’s four public benefits. Our public nature preserves offer opportunities for an experiential, hands-on approach to learning about the environment. In order to enhance accessibility of our resources, we also offer a variety of educational programs to promote community conservation throughout the Triangle region. According to The Nature Conservancy, “66% of youth surveyed stated that ‘they have had a personal experience in nature’ and this made them appreciate it more.” The goal of our environmental education programs is to facilitate positive experiences in nature for youth who might otherwise have limited exposure to natural and open spaces in the Triangle. All TLC programs are free, educational, outdoors, and fun! We also have some amazing Educational Partners that work on or near our Nature Preserves that we have listed below. Follow their links to explore their programs and offerings!
Who We Serve
Thanks to grant funding, the Triangle Land Conservancy provides nature education programs for groups who might not otherwise have access to outdoor and environmental education, such as:
- Title 1 public schools and Preschools
- Title 1 school’s afterschool programs
- Nonprofit partners such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army, and other Triangle-region groups
Types of Programs
1. Individualized Education Programs
Nature Education programs strive to promote at least one of the four public benefits of land conservation in each program: safeguarding clean drinking water, protecting natural habitats, supporting local farms and food, and connecting people with nature. Our programs can be adapted to meet teaching objectives and to incorporate NC State Science Standards and/or Common Core Standards.
Additionally, the TLC Education and Outreach team can work with instructors to create an education program for your group. These programs can also include scientific investigations that teach observation and data collection skills, as well as principle stream and forest ecology.
2. Guided Hikes and Nature Walks
Guided Hike and Nature Walk programs are led by experienced staff who will point out features of the nature preserve, answer questions, and help your group discover local plants and animals. Our walks focus on experiential learning, encouraging groups to stop and explore the forests, fields, streams, and ponds of TLC nature preserves.
3. Get Wild! Family Programs
Get Wild! is Triangle Land Conservancy’s monthly series of youth-oriented environmental education programs. These programs are free and open to the public, although pre-registration is required. Get Wild! Programs rotate between TLC’s public nature preserves, and have focused on topics such as birds, salamanders, animal tracks, and creek critters. To view our upcoming Get Wild! programs, visit: https://triangleland.org/explore/events.
4. Educational Partners
Nature Explorers– Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
The Nature Explorers program offers after school and full-day adventures through the forests of Johnston Mill Nature Preserve. Let your child’s imagination take the lead while the experts at Nature Explorers facilitate and guide them through activities to learn about nature and cultivate a positive relationship with the outdoors. For more information and to see their schedule, visit https://www.natureexplorersnc.org/
Stagville State Historic Site– Horton Grove Nature Preserve
TLC is partnering with Stagville State Historic Site to offer K-12 field trip programs at our Horton Grove Nature Preserve focusing on aquatic ecology, water conservation, and the history of water and resource use in the area. For more information or to schedule a field trip, visit http://www.stagville.org/.
Programs can be held at any of TLC’s 7 public nature preserves and several of our private properties in Durham, Chatham, Wake, Orange, Lee, and Johnston Counties. If transportation is an obstacle, TLC will work with your group to explore available options in your region.
In order for your group to get the best experience from their nature program, we recommend:
- At least 1.5 hours at the preserve
- No more than 20 children in a group
- 5-7/1 child-adult ratio
- Scheduling a month in advance
Note: Please be aware that there are no bathroom facilities at any of our preserves.
Nature Benefit Youth
There have been many studies done on the positive impact natural spaces can have on youth of all ages. The benefits range from mental to physical health properties, and also include academic improvements in school.
Giving kids a space to spend more time outdoors promotes not only, physically active, but also promotes self-awareness of limits and positive mental health benefits.
By pairing nature programs with traditional classroom exercises, students are able to further develop skills with new or different interpretations through nature, and students have also recognized personal growth through new experiences that have taken them out of their comfort zone.
Children who spend time in natural and green spaces have reduced stress levels, and are more capable of dealing with difficult situations compared to children who are not actively outdoors.
Behavior and Social Interactions
Taking kids into nature allows for discovery and exploration. This has been shown to promote good behavior, reduce conflicts, and promote positive cooperation between students and with adults.