Hendricks County Parks and Recreation has developed numerous cultural and natural education opportunities for students of all ages. Each program focuses on experiential learning so that students may develop a conceptual understanding and appreciation for ecological factors native to central Indiana.
The ideal format for these unique learning opportunities is to have classes schedule field trips at the park. However, in the event schools cannot arrange field trips, Hendricks County Parks and Recreation can bring programs into the classroom. All of these wonderful learning opportunities are FREE. Contact the Park Naturalist at (765) 676-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a program for your class!
2012 - 2013 Field Trip Programs
Educational programs at the park have been designed to meet Indiana Academic Standards. Scheduled activities are intended to last approximately two hours and are limited to 75 students. There are no fees for field trips to the park; however programs are subject to availability.
At McCloud Nature Park, the Big Walnut Creek and other ponds contain a fascinating array of aquatic creatures. This program provides participants with the opportunity to discover these inhabitants first-hand, and to find out how their presence relates to a healthy ecosystem. Water shoes are recommended.
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Science: 2.1.4 4.3.2 5.3.1 6.3.1 6.3.2
A simple compass is an ancient but useful tool even in our modern computer age. In this program students will learn how early Indiana explorers relied on the compass and other directional methods, how to effectively use a compass, and then take part in one of McCloud Nature Park’s new orienteering courses. (Grades 4-8)
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Math: 4MD-5a 5NBT-3-4 7G-1
As the seasons change, we see a remarkable transformation in the appearance of our forests in Indiana. Learn about the changes that occur in our trees as the seasons pass and gain a better understanding of why these changes take place. We will learn what causes the color changes in leaves and why the trees shed their leaves for the winter and discuss the different parts of a tree and how they grow over time. Students will also learn how we classify and identify trees using simple guides and a dichotomous key. We will take a short hike and identify some of the trees along the park trails. (Grades K-8)
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Science: k.1.1 k.1.2. k.2.3 k.3.1 k.3.3 1.1.1 1.3.1 1.3.3 1.3.5 2.3.1 2.3.2 3.3.1 4.3.2 4.3.4 5.3.1 6.3.4
Join us as we learn what ecology is and how organisms are often reliant on specific biotic and abiotic factors in order to be successful in a particular ecosystem. We will learn about the biosphere and the different portions of the biosphere and how many of the organisms present in Indiana are adapted to particular habitats within McCloud Nature Park. Students will take a naturalist led hike as we seek out living things, non-living things, and signs of human presence along our scavenger hunt on some of the Park’s scenic trails. (Grades 2-8)
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Science: 2.1.4 3.3.1 4.2.2 4.2.6 4.3.4 5.3.1 6.3.1 6.3.2 6.3.3
McCloud Nature Park offers a wonderful network of trails through a diversity of habitats. This naturalist-led hike guides participants through some of the most scenic sections of the park while discovering local ecologic and geologic features. This tour will also feature some of the seasonal plant and animal attractions that are present at the time of your tour. (Grades K-8)
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Science: k.1.1 k.2.3 1.1.1 1.3.1 1.3.4 1.3.5 1.4.2 2.1.4 3.3.1 4.2.2 5.3.1 6.3.1 6.3.2 7.2.7
Insects play a fascinating and vital role in the world’s ecosystems. In this program, students will be introduced to the world of insect ecology and discover what they mean to Indiana through a series of activities and capture & observation. Students will learn the basic characteristics of the insect group as well as some of the specialized adaptations that make them such a successful group of organisms. (Grades K-8)
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Science: k.1.1 k.1.2 k.3.1 k.3.2 k.3.3 1.1.1 1.3.1 1.3.4 1.3.5 2.1.4 4.3.2 6.3.1 6.3.2 8.3.6
Birds of McCloud
The diverse habitats of McCloud Nature Park provide an ideal location for a great number of bird species, both local and migratory. This program provides participants with the opportunity to learn basic avian ecology through experiments and activities, and observe birds in their natural environment. Students will also discover how many species of birds have specialized beaks and feet which are suited to the environment in which they live. (Grades K-8)
Meets Indiana Academic Standards for Science: k.1.1.k.1.2 k.3.1 k.3.2 1.1.1 1.3.1 1.3.4 1.3.5 1.4.1 2.1.4 4.3.2 5.3.1 6.3.1 6.3.2 8.3.6
2012 - 2013 Outreach Programs
November - Monarch Migration
All kids love butterflies, especially the KING of the butterflies, the magnificent Monarch! We will teach your students about the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly and its unique migration across the United States and into Mexico. We will share stories about butterfly tagging and tracking and let the kids know what they can do to encourage monarch butterflies to visit where they live. Program duration is 30-40 minutes in length and can be tailored to students from grades k-6.
Meets academic standards for science: k.1.1 k.3.2 1.1.1 1.1.3 2.3.1 3.4.4 5.4.5
December - Indiana Rocks and Fossils
Students love rocks and fossils! Here is an opportunity for your kids to learn about rocks and fossils that are common in Indiana and to learn about the geologic past of our great state. Our naturalist will teach your students about the 3 major types of rocks and how the rock cycle allows for the transformation of one rock type into another. We will also look at some of the common fossils that are found in this area and what they tell us about our prehistoric past. Program duration is 30-40 minutes in length and can be tailored to students from grades k-6.
Meets academic standards for science: k.1.1 k.6.1 1.1.1 2.1.1 2.3.1 2.3.3 3.4.2 4.3.6 4.3.7 6.3.14
January - Raptors
Let your kids enjoy the splendor of these carnivorous birds! We will talk to your students about birds and their niche in the ecosystem and let them see some of our more common raptors that inhabit our state. We will bring in some mounted specimens and discuss with students some of the terminology and classification that goes along with this magnificent and varied class of animals. Program duration is 30-40 minutes in length and can be tailored to students from grades k-6.
Meets academic standards for science: k.1.1 k.6.1 1.1.1 1.4.2 2.4.1 5.4.7 6.4.3
February - What’s Up with the Weather
Weather affects all of our lives in countless ways. We'll help teach your students what causes weather and how we can measure it with a variety of weather instruments. Students will learn about the different types of cloud formations, weather instruments, and what causes the varied and ever-changing weather patterns that influence our daily activities. We will also instruct kids how to prepare and react when severe weather threatens. Program duration is 30-40 minutes in length and can be tailored to students from grades k-6.
Meets academic standards for science: k.1.1 1.1.1 1.3.1 1.3.3 2.1.1 2.1.2 3.3.5 3.3.6 4.3.8 5.6.1 6.3.4 6.3.5 6.4.10