School Programs

The Croydon Creek Nature Center's mission is to promote knowledge, understanding, appreciation and conservation of our natural resources. We enhance this mission through our school programs which incorporate challenging and thought-provoking activities that invigorate students’ natural curiosity toward the natural world.

Our school programs align with current Next Generation Science Standards but can be adapted to fit any age or audience. Don’t see a subject you’re looking for? Ask us about a custom program to fit the needs of your group.

We welcome groups of all ages and abilities. Contact us for further details on how we can provide meaningful nature experiences for your students! Inquiries can be made by calling 240-314-8770 or emailing

Onsite Programs

Onsite field trips are 60-90 minutes with both indoor and outdoor elements that provide hands-on, immersive learning experiences. The cost for programs is $3 per student for schools within Rockville city limits and $5 per student for those outside city limits. Inquire about discounted pricing for Title I schools. See program options below.

Outreach Programs

Outreach programs bring nature to your learning space! These lively 45-minute presentations are presented in an engaging learning format and feature active learning through live animal demonstrations and hands-on activities. The fee for these programs is $150 per visit, plus $3 per student for groups within Rockville city limits or $5 per student for groups outside the city limits. Inquire about discounts for Title I schools. The maximum group size is 30 students per presentation. Multiple presentations may be scheduled for the same day. The following programs can be adapted to different learning levels and are available to be booked for outreach.

  • Animals Up Close
  • Biodiversity Blitz
  • Did You Hear That?
  • Habitat Explorers
  • Life Cycle Discoveries

Program inquiries can be made by calling 240-314-8770 or emailing

Current Onsite Programs

Animals Up Close (Formerly MBRA)

Grades: Adapted to all ages
Length: 60 min.

Get up close and personal with some of Croydon Creek’s animal ambassadors, and learn about each animal’s characteristics and unique adaptations. Explore outside the nature center to discover signs of animals that live in your own backyard!

Habitat Explorers

Grades: Pre-K-K
Time Length: 60 min.

All living things have the same basic needs: food, water, shelter and space. Through our animal ambassadors, biofacts and outdoor exploration, learn how the animals in the forest, meadow and creek meet their basic needs for survival.

NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3-3


Grades: Pre-K-1
Length: 60 min.

Young scientists use their observations of local weather to learn about the changing seasons. With animal ambassadors, biofacts and outdoor observations, naturalists help students discover how the change of seasons affects native plants and animals.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS2-1, 1-ESS-2

Budding Botanists

Grades: K-2
Length: 90 min.

Where do plants come from? Why are they important? Learn all about the form and function of our photosynthesizing friends. Students participate in a flower dissection, record observations in their field journal and journey outside to search for plants in their natural environment.

NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, 1-LS1-1, 1-LS3-1, 2-LS2-2

Did You Hear That? - NEW!

Grades: 1-4
Length: 90 min.

Chirp, hiss, whistle and squeak — our world is full of animal sounds! Students discover how sound is created, perceived and used to communicate through hands-on activities and animal ambassador encounters. Using their knowledge, young scientists create their own ear to observe how ear shapes affect sound perception over distance. Time outside is spent listening for, discussing and mapping animal sounds.

NGSS Standards: 1-PS4-1, 1-PS4-4, 1-LS1-1, 4-PS3-1, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS4-1

Life Cycle Discoveries - UPDATED!

Grades: 1-3
Length: 90 min.

From a tiny insect to a huge oak tree, all living things go through a life cycle. Students meet animal ambassadors while comparing life-cycle stages of native species. Learn how parental care varies between species and design your own cozy nest. Take a hike on the nature center’s bluebird trail to learn about bird nesting, and discover how plants and animals have similar life cycles.

NGSS Standards: 1-LS3-1, 3-LS1-1

Biodiversity Blitz - NEW!

Grades: 2-3
Length: 90 min.

Croydon Creek critters help young zoologists learn about the diversity of the animal kingdom. Our animal ambassadors allow students to discover the differences between animal groupings and their importance in the ecosystem. Take a walk through various habitats around the nature center while conducting a biodiversity survey and observing wildlife that calls Croydon Creek home.

NGSS Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS3-2

Investigating Habitats

Grades: 2-4
Length: 90 min.

Each habitat has different features and is home to many different types of animals. Students meet animal ambassadors as they learn how animals are adapted to live in their specific habitats. Explore the habitats around the nature center and understand how our local wildlife adapts to a changing environment.

NGSS Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4, 4-LS1-1

Watershed Connections: Creek to Chesapeake - NEW!

Grades: 2-5
Length: 90 min.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed sustains an amazing array of wildlife. Explore our local watersheds and learn how our creeks, streams and rivers are connected to the bay. Students conduct an experiment to learn the effects of erosion in a watershed and discover the impact of human activity on water quality and aquatic organisms.

NGSS Standards: 2-ESS2-2, 4-ESS2-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 4-ESS2-2, 4ESS3-2, 5-ESS2-1, 5-PS2-1, 3-5-ETS1-2

Go With the (Energy) Flow - NEW!

Grades: 3-6
Length: 90 min.

Students learn how energy flows through an ecosystem by examining food webs and predator-prey relationships. Participate in an owl pellet lab where each student dissects an owl pellet to determine what it ate. Head outside to see ecosystems in action, learn how species of the forest are interconnected and consider how human actions can disrupt the flow of energy through an ecosystem.

NGSS Standards: 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4, 5-PS3-1, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS2-1, MS-ESS3-3

Weather the Impact

Grades: 3
Length: 90 min.

Weather and climate are two different phenomena with major impacts on our lives. Utilizing weather apps and climate maps, students use their observation skills to gain an understanding of weather patterns and their impact on climate trends. Exploring the differences between what we expect (climate) and what actually happens (weather) students discover ways that both shape our world.

NGSS Standards: 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2