Nature Studies
The study of nature is appealing to people of all ages. It is easy to incorporate nature studies into your homeschooling approach. Some homeschooling methods focus very strongly on nature studies, including the Charlotte Mason method. Learn why it is so important and some great approaches to learning from nature.
Things to See & Do in Alabama
The Wildlife Center
Located in Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, the Wildlife Center is Alabama's oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center. More than 3,000 injured and orphaned wild creatures are cared for each year, including almost 2,000 birds representing more than 100 species. The Wildlife Center is open to the public for self-guiding tours, and features the Treetop Nature Trail. A beautiful, elevated walkway in the woods, the trail offers close-up views of non-releasable hawks and owls in natural habitat enclosures built among and around the trees.
Little River Canyon National Preserve
Little River flows for most of its length atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. The river and canyon systems are spectacular Appalachian Plateau landscapes any season of the year. Forested uplands, waterfalls, canyon rims and bluffs, stream riffles and pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs offer settings for a variety of recreational activities. Natural resources and cultural heritage come together to tell the story of the Preserve, a special place in the Southern Appalachians. Little River Canyon National Preserve is located near Fort Payne.
Mann Wildlife Learning Museum
Located at the Montgomery Zoo, the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum offers one of the nation's finest collections of professionally presented North American wildlife. All are shown in realistically created environments including painted mural backdrops depicting the natural habitat of the animal, with sounds of animals and several 'touch and feel' exhibits.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
Thrill to Rickwood's miracle mile of underground caverns. The 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish and underground pools are just a few of the natural wonders exhibited in the colorful caverns. The park also features an Olympic size swimming pool, picnic area and campground.
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum, "Alabama's Little Corner of Greece," now features over 20 acres of year-round floral beauty and classical sculpture, including new statuary honoring Olympic heroes. The Olympian Centre welcomes visitors with a video presentation of Jasmine Hill's history and a display of Olympic memorabilia from the Games of past years. A tour of Jasmine Hill, now completely accessible to visitors with disabilities, offers spectacular and ever-changing views, including our full-scale replica of the Temple of Hera ruins as found in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Flame.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab, founded by the State Legislature in 1971, is Alabama's marine education and research center. Located on the eastern tip of a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea Lab offers educational programs, the Estuarium, a public aquarium, and more.
Mote Marine Aquarium
From its humble beginnings in tiny shed in a small Florida town, Mote Marine Laboratory has expanded to include a 10.5-acre campus in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations and public exhibits in Key West and field stations in Summerland Key and Charlotte Harbor. The Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota offers large displays of marine life, mammals, turtles, and aquaculture.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
Birmingham Zoo
Explore the animal world at the Birmingham Zoo, featuring an alligator swamp, tropical rain forest, and zoo train and carousel.
Montgomery Zoo
The Montgomery Zoo features 500 animals representing over 150 species - all in a barrier free, natural environment and divided into continents featuring Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms. Take a rail tour through each realm on McMounty 102, the Zoo's train, and stop by our Gift Shop to find that perfect souvenir.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
Located in Birmingham, Ruffner Mountain is a 1,011-acre nature preserve in eastern Jefferson County. Its protected forest, ridges and valleys provide a refuge for a wide variety of native plants and wildlife. Located in the center of Alabama’s largest urban area, it also offers a place for people to retreat to the serenity of the outdoors.
Russell Cave National Monument
For thousands of years bands of prehistoric Indians came to the area we know today as Russell Cave. The cave provided a shelter. The surrounding forest provided food, tools, and fuel for their fires. Occupation of the cave shelter continued from the earliest known people to inhabit the southeastern United States, until the time of European explorers. The story of the inhabitants of Russell Cave is one of adaptation and survival. These people left behind clues to their way of life. These clues help us to have a better understanding of the people who have gone through the mists of time. Russell Cave National Monument is located near Bridgeport.
Resources
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Nature Studies Homeschool Curriculum
Considering God's Creation
Life science truly comes alive with this 270-page lap-book style notebook for 2nd-7th graders. A Charlotte Mason type discovery approach is easily implemented with creative activities, music and topical Bible studies, making this program a perfect choice for a homeschool family or a classroom. It may be used as a stand-alone science course or as an invaluable supplemental resource for any other program. 
Nature Studies Activities & Experiments
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
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Featured Resources

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The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook
If you are thinking about homeschooling, or are struggling with a educational homeschooling curriculum that is difficult to use, let Dr. Ray and Dorothy Moore show you how to make homeschooling an easy-to-live-with family adventure in learning. This low-stress, low-cost program shows you how to build a curriculum around your child's needs and interests - and around a realistic family schedule. Instead of a cut-and-dried approach, you'll discover the freedom of a flexible program that encourages ...
Discovery of the Child
Maria Montessori went beyond the conventions of the day to seek a new way of knowing and loving a child. In THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD, she describes the nature of the child and her method of working more fully with the child's urge to learn. With 16 pages of photographs.
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind
Includes scripted lessons and lovely illustrations to offer encouragement and understanding to children in grammar, copywork, narration, picture study, and other classical technique. These lessons will help develop the student's language ability and skills in oral composition. 
Home Schooling from Scratch : Simple Living, Super Learning
Parents learn what they really need, how to find or create materials and opportunities for less money, and how to organize their household for economical, happy learning.
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education
Author Douglas Wilson makes the argument that education must have a foundation of religion, which informs worldview. Education is the asking and answering of questions, and learning to read and write is simply the process of acquiring the tools needed to do that.