Peterson Young Naturalist Program
What is a formal learning program? Formal learning is education led by certified classroom teachers in a systematic way to meet the learning objectives of a school system.
Volunteers with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy partner with teachers in Loudoun County Public Schools to deliver fun nature education activities that meet student learning objectives from science to language arts.
The Peterson Young Naturalist Program informs and motivates young people to protect habitat and native species across Loudoun County. We invite you to join our effort to encourage school students’ explorations of nature.
Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy has been partnering with Loudoun County teachers in this program since 2010. Together we facilitate nature education workshops to equip students with the skills they need to get outside and record the local plants and animals they see.
The program is inspired by the life of Roger Tory Peterson (1908-1996), the world-renowned naturalist, artist, photographer, and author. Peterson’s seminal Field Guide to the Birds and countless contributions to popularizing natural history earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. Peterson often credited his teacher, Miss Blanche Hornbeck, for inspiring him in his passion for the natural world and giving his life direction. The Peterson Young Naturalist program aims to do the same by training teachers and recognizing students with Peterson’s naturalistic interests.
Every spring, we present awards to students whose nature journals are exceptional in nature observation, drawing, and writing. Over 100 students have received the LWC Peterson Young Naturalist Award to date. More information about the award program, including how to participate, is available here.
If you are interested in learning more about our school-based nature education activities, please see this virtual teacher workshop we facilitated in 2020.
Resources for Educators
Below are links to resources for teachers (and home school groups) for more information about the Peterson Young Naturalist Program, lesson plans and other resources than can be adapted for classroom use.
Peterson Young Naturalist Program lesson plan examples
Virginia Cooperative Extension offers lessons for school programs and a speakers bureau.
Resources for School Gardens – Download a handbook for building and Maintaining a school garden and many other valuable resources.
- DISCOVER: Education
- EXPLORE: Citizen Science
- RESTORE: Habitat Conservation
- PROTECT: Conservation Advocacy
- PRESERVE: JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary
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