The time has come for students to head back to school. And while we enjoyed soaking up every bit of summer as much as you likely did, we are looking forward to all the growth and opportunity a new school year brings.

Our preschoolers will be back on campus next week and we could not be more thrilled to have their excitement and energy back at the Nature Center.

Before we dive into school mode, we wanted to take a minute and update you on all that we have going on to give kids immersive educational experiences in nature.

Support our Creekside Forest School classroom

One fundraiser that we have a lot of fun with here at ICNC is helping our preschool teachers stock their classroom with new (and necessary) supplies, books, and adventure materials. These donations help refresh the outdoor and indoor spaces so they are ready for learning adventures.

Check out our list online here.

Browse the much-needed items and select what you would like to purchase for the classroom. Then simply follow the purchasing instructions and complete your purchase. It will be sent directly to us here at the Nature Center.

And if you are looking for extra credit, feel free to share this giving opportunity with family, friends, and colleagues. We’d love to “clear the list” for our preschool teachers.

If you aren’t into buying things—we understand, we approach every purchase looking for the lowest waste option, too—you can contribute funds directly to support our preschool. Follow this link to be a part of dynamic, outdoor preschool education this school year. 

Creekside Forest School

We are so excited for the second year of Creekside Forest School to start. The 2022-2023 school year is going to be another adventure-filled one for our students and teachers. We will be welcoming back 28 preschool students. Lead teachers Nicole Upchurch and Morgan Bryant will lead the students and will be joined this year by preschool specialist Marcy Fratzke. It is a true pleasure to watch our CFS students explore, learn, and grow throughout the year. They change as the seasons change and remind us of the incredible transformation one can have as they grow socially, emotionally, and physically during the year. Be sure to follow along on social media where we often share more about the learning adventures of preschoolers are going on there. It’s sure to make you smile. 

Fresh Air Academy

We are excited to again be offering our Fresh Air Academy, a drop-off program for students in first through fifth grade who can join us during the day. During Fresh Air Academy, students go on learning adventures with experienced ICNC educators, who have developed seasonally appropriate themes to guide the day. They take full advantage of our 200-acre outdoor classroom in all seasons. These immersive outdoor experiences help to “fill the gap” for kids who increasingly get less time outdoors to explore and learn.

Fresh Air After School—NEW!

This year we are also very excited to be offering Fresh Air After School. This takes our Fresh Air Academy and adapts it for children who can come after school for nature experiences. We are piloting this program in September and October this year and are very excited to have students join us after their school day to exercise their brains and bodies in nature. Similar to our daytime sessions, children go on adventures around our grounds led by our trained naturalists. We are excited to offer an after school care option that is centered around getting kids outdoors and will of course be sharing their adventures on social media as well. 


No matter where they are starting their school year out, we are wishing all the students of our community a wonderful school year! We hope we are able to connect them with an experience in nature, whether through one of our programs or our own school offerings, or a visit to the Nature Center on a field trip or with their own family at some point during the 2022-2023 school year. 

ps…MEMBERS: don’t forget that you save on all of our programs, including these educational offerings for preschool and elementary students. Sign your student up today!

back-to-school, creekside forest school, Fresh Air Academy, Fresh Air After School
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