Immersive Outdoor Educational Experiences to “fill the gap”

Fresh Air Academy

Fresh Air Academy at Indian Creek Nature Center is a drop-off immersive nature experience. Children will go on learning adventures with experienced ICNC educators. Educators will develop seasonally appropriate themes to guide the day, but the children will determine the specifics of their time at the Nature Center. Children will spend ample time outdoors exploring and learning at the Nature Center’s 200-acre classroom.

Programs will be outdoors in all weather and families should dress their children for the conditions. Indoor alternatives are available if the weather is inclement or dangerous.

These are drop-off programs. Registration is required and no walk-ins will be accepted. Capacity is limited

ICNC Cancellation Policy

To be eligible for a fee refund or transfer, ICNC requires a 48-hour advance notice for all cancellations. Eligible cancelled registrations can either be refunded or applied to another registration. All refunded registrations are charged an administrative processing fee of 20%. Only in cases of extreme weather or other extenuating circumstances will ICNC cancel a scheduled program. All programs cancelled by ICNC will receive a full refund.

Fresh Air Academy (Daytime)

Fee: $385 M, $420 NM
Pay in full at checkout and enjoy 10% off with code “PAYINFULL10”

Dates:
April 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27
May 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18

Location: Amazing Space (5300 Otis Rd SE)*
*Please note that we will be located at Penningroth Barn (6665 Otis Rd SE) May 1-11

Session Time: 12:30-3:30pm

Drop off / Pick up Times: 12:15-12:30pm and 3:15-3:30pm

Capacity: 8 students

Registration Deadline: 4pm March 29

Fee: $440 M, $480 NM
Pay in full at checkout and enjoy 10% off with code “PAYINFULL10”

Dates:
September 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28
October 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26

Location: Amazing Space (5300 Otis Rd SE)

Session Time: 12:30-3:30pm

Drop off / Pick up Times: 12:15-12:30pm and 3:15-3:30pm

Capacity: 8 students

Registration Deadline: 4pm August 23

Fresh Air Academy (After School)

Fee: $605 M, $660 NM
Pay in full at checkout and enjoy 10% off with code “PAYINFULL10”

Dates:
February 28
March 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
April 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 5, 26, 27
May 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18

Location: Amazing Space (5300 Otis Rd SE)*
*Please note that we will be located at Penningroth Barn (6665 Otis Rd SE) May 2-11

Session Time: 4:15-6pm

Drop off / Pick up Times: 3:45-4:15pm and 6-6:15pm

Capacity: 12 students

Registration Deadline: 4pm February 22

Fee: $440 M, $480 NM
Pay in full at checkout and enjoy 10% off with code “PAYINFULL10”

Dates:
September 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

Location: Amazing Space (5300 Otis Rd SE)

Session Time: 4:15-6pm

Drop off / Pick up Times: 3:45-4:15pm and 6-6:15pm

Capacity: 12 students

Registration Deadline: 4pm August 23

Parent Testimonials

“I tell my friends that if they have a child who is a video game junkie (as my older son used to be), that they should do Fresh Air Academy. It opens up a whole new world to kids….the world of nature. It has been fun watching my boys get excited about rocks and leaves and bugs. I’ve seen maturity in my older son in other ways as well. He is more social and more calm. My younger son was really jealous last year that he couldn’t do Fresh Air Academy. He has been having a blast this year as well!” – Laura Barnett

“We are so thankful to have found The Fresh Air Academy. My children have grown in their appreciation for and desire to be in nature. We would be involved with this program through middle school if that was an option!” – Jonathan and Amanda Fry

“Aldo loved every day at the Fresh Air Academy. He asked to be enrolled again! He enjoyed being outside and connecting with new friends so much. Fresh Air Academy truly compliments our family’s values regarding immersive, experiential nature experiences. We loved it and would sign up Aldo again.” – Ana McClain

FAQ

If your child meets the age requirements listed and you believe they are ready for extended periods of time outdoors with peers and children of other ages, we welcome their attendance. 

Weather conditions may vary throughout the day and season, so make sure your child is prepared with clothing options appropriate for the forecasted conditions. Please have your child bring or dress in layers. Activities may include running, movement games, and hikes both on and off trails so choose appropriate clothing and shoes. 

Please refrain from bringing the following things: Cell phones or any other electronic device (assistive learning devices are welcome), pocket knives, valuables.

Here’s what you should pack:

  • Backpack to keep track of personal belongings
  • Wholesome snacks that don’t need refrigeration. Outdoor activities require lots of energy! ICNC is NOT providing snacks, and will not allow children to share snacks for safety reasons.
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Dress in layers (i.e. short sleeve shirt under a long sleeve shirt under a sweatshirt or fleece)
  • Thick socks
  • Face mask(s) – bring at least one extra in case the one you’re wearing initially gets dirty or wet.
  • Poncho or rain jacket (in case of rain)
  • Warm, wind and water resistant jacket or coat
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Rain boots or snow boots (depending on weather)
  • Snow pants (for both cold and/or snowy weather)
  • Extra change of clothes, socks and shoes, hat and mittens (for all ages). Additionally, in winter: Warm hat, and mittens, scarf or neck warmer (in addition to personal face masks), Snow pants (for both cold and/or snowy weather)

Nature itself will provide many of the materials and inspiration for our learning and activities! Children will also have access to the following materials and supplies while they are at ICNC. These items will remain at ICNC and will be available for the duration of their session:

  • A hands-free water fountain for filling bottles
  • Rain ponchos
  • All materials for activities or games, including ‘school supply’ type materials

Children will go on daily learning adventures with experienced ICNC educators. If it is a cloudy day, the students may learn basic meteorology and study cloud formations. If there was a recent rain shower or storm, the students might study watersheds, erosion, or even become nature detectives studying animal tracks to see who left evidence of their presence behind. Adventures will also be dictated by group preferences and interests.

We are so proud of you for doing the challenging-yet-rewarding work of educating your child and are honored to support you. Our curriculum and lessons will mostly center on earth science, conservation, outdoor skills, ecology, biology, and soft skills (team building, cooperation, discipline, patience, etc.). We will share information on our lessons and activities in advance so that you can plan homeschool lessons to compliment their experiences at ICNC. You can also extend your child’s learning by developing a homeschool lesson around something that inspired or engaged your child while at ICNC.

You and your child need to answer this question together. We recommend talking with your child about their interests, and together consider the more immersive parts of this program. We will be outside nearly the entire time in all types of weather. We will be moving a lot and getting dirty. There will be times when we are loud and wild, and times when we are quiet and still (observing wildlife requires this!). Your child will need to be open-minded and willing to do new, challenging things for several weeks in a row. A positive attitude is important. We welcome all learners who genuinely want to be here!

Partial scholarships will be based on available funds. At this time, all funds have been allocated for 2022. Email Andria for more information.

Our education team includes Education Manager Andria Cossolotto, Senior Naturalist Emily Roediger, Director of Education Kelli Kennon-Lane, and Program Assistants Betsy Bostian and Hanna Biegger. These professionals and outdoor enthusiasts will facilitate your child’s learning with the support of qualified volunteer Teacher Naturalists, many of whom are former teachers, retired professionals, or active community members.

In times like this we will follow CDC recommendations. As your child’s session nears, important details and reminders for your child’s session will be sent via email. Should a child be ill at arrival they will go back home, and if a child falls ill during the program they will be comfortably isolated until a responsible grown up arrives to get them. 

Facilitators will carry hand sanitizer, first aid kids, and radios in their packs while out on the trails. At the beginning of each day and during activities our facilitators will constantly be mindful of safety while on the trails and outdoors. This might include being mindful of a patch of nettles near the trail, or a snapping turtle on the banks of the wetland. While plants and animals occasionally pose a safety issue, we think they are worth observing safely to provide for a teachable moment for children.

Thanks, we do have a ton of fun! This is a drop-off program for children only. We have a window of time to drop your child off (12:15-12:30pm) and pick them up (3:15-3:30pm) to allow for a smooth transition, if you or your child are anxious about being apart. If you think drop-off will be an emotional time for your child we might have some tips to help this go smoothly. Get in touch with us!

We also offer public programs for the whole family to enjoy! Click here to view our program calendar.