Four Winds Nature Institute Offers Hands-On Science Learning

First grade students measure the diameter of a Maple as part of a lesson on trees. (Courtesy photo)

WOODBURY, VT — The Four Winds Nature Institute engages elementary school children across Vermont with hands-on, place-based natural science explorations through The Nature Program. Rooted in local communities, Nature Program lessons for students in grades K-6 are led by volunteers who get together for monthly training workshops in their own communities. Schools are signing up now for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, when Four Winds will offer an exciting new formulation of this program: The Nature Program All Out.

The Nature Program All Out grows out of Four Winds’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To accommodate the fact that community volunteers may not be able to enter school buildings as freely as in the past, The Nature Program All Out lessons are conducted entirely outdoors, so students are learning about nature right in the school yard and nearby natural places. In this new model, the school’s Nature Program volunteers are able to provide for their students the many well-researched benefits of outdoor learning.

Four Winds has recently updated and aligned all lessons and materials to support the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core. The new instructional units are collected in the digital publication, Nearby Nature, available online. Schools enrolling in the Nature Program All Out also have access to a wealth of additional teaching resources, including materials for natural science explorations for children and families to do from home.

Bringing together parents, community volunteers, students, and teachers, Four Winds strengthens school-community connections by providing opportunities to share the wonders of nature. As one young learner exclaimed this year, “I love Four Winds days. I always see something cool!”

Four Winds Nature Institute is a non-profit organization advancing the understanding, appreciation, and protection of the environment through community-based natural science education and research. For more information about Nature Program All Out programming, call Elly Moriarty at (802) 353-0919 or email


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