Become a Junior Naturalist
Are you a 7th - 12th grader interested in nature, science, and giving back to the community? Read more about how you can venture outdoors with other kids, meet scientists and conservationists, participate in community science, and give back to our natural world. Application instructions and information about how we're adapting the program during the COVID-19 pandemic are at the bottom.
7th-12th grade nature enthusiasts interested in gaining deeper knowledge about our environment and improving their community.
Junior Naturalists stay connected to nature throughout the year, and every activity we do is focused on protecting, learning and teaching about our natural world. Members will learn about the scientific method and STEM careers, become climate change ambassadors by participating in citizen science projects, gain confidence in public speaking through teaching at summer EcoCamp, and explore nature through variety of outdoor activities. Active members will join us on educational meetings, service events and outdoor adventure trips. JN’s will learn new outdoor activities, like hiking, canoeing, birding and fishing, which could turn into lifelong passions and career interests.
During the school year, JN’s attend meetings to explore local habitats, discuss local and global environmental issues, and practice games and techniques to use at EcoCamp. Family members & friends are encouraged to share outdoor and education experiences with the student by volunteering at Pickering public programs and restoration events in order to foster a more inclusive & eco-minded community. During the summer JN’s volunteer at our EcoCamp to help share their knowledge with younger students while participating in outdoor activities and games.
Join the Junior Naturalists to become a part of a like-minded, nature-enthusiastic group. Explore what nature has to offer though fun activities and trips and prepare yourself for your future.
- Career Development – learn about STEM careers & opportunities
- Field Research – learn why and how scientists do what they do
- Resume Builder – for your part-time jobs and college application
- Service Learning – collect hours for high school graduation and scholarships
- Leadership Skills – become a leader by gaining confidence through public speaking
- Have Fun – spend time doing outdoor activities you like, and learn new ones!
When and Where?
Meetings take place on a monthly basis at Pickering Creek. Field trips will be offered once per season on weekends, and will include locations on the Eastern Shore and Greater Baltimore area. Past examples include the National Aquarium, Assateague National Seashore, and Foreman’s Branch bird banding station in Chestertown. Volunteer and service learning opportunities will take place at Pickering Creek throughout the school year.
To be considered an active Junior Naturalist:
- Attend at least 6 activities during the school year including at least 1 field trip
- Monthly meetings (see schedule below)
- Field trips to regional natural spaces and STEM opportunities
- Volunteer at Pickering Creek at least once with a family member, guardian, or friend outside of the JN program during the school year
- Attend EcoCamp training (June 2021) and volunteer during at least 2 weeks of summer EcoCamp 2021
- To qualify to help during EcoCamp, members must have participated at least 6 times during the school year and volunteered at least once
Everything we do at Pickering Creek Audubon Center is supported by the generosity of many people, just like you, who believe in what we do. This generosity allows us to offer many programs, like the Junior Naturalist program, tuition free.
We do this for two reasons: First, so people from all backgrounds may participate with as few barriers as possible. And second, to foster a gift economy within our community that is based on need, generosity, and shared passion.
Virtual Meetings Schedule:
Meetings will take place on the first Tuesday of every month unless there is a holiday, from 4-5 pm:
- October 13th, 2020
- November 10th, 2020
- December 1st, 2020
- January 5th, 2021
- February 2nd, 2021 (rolling admission ends)
- March 2nd, 2021
- April 6th, 2021
- May 4th, 2021
How to apply:
- Fill in the Junior Naturalist 2020-21 Application
- Print out, sign, and email the Liability and Image Release Form to Sammi at firstname.lastname@example.org and Harrison at email@example.com
- After we have received your completed application and liability form, we will email you a link to register for meetings and further details
Due to concerns for the health of students, staff, and the community, we will be moving forward with an altered version of the Junior Naturalist program for Fall 2020. Meetings will be held virtually with ZOOM, and field trips will be postponed. Socially distanced volunteer activities at Pickering Creek will be announced throughout the season for families to participate in.
We will continue to monitor conditions, CDC guidelines, and reports from Governor Hogan as well as recommendations from National Audubon Society. When we feel it is safe for all individuals to return, we will begin reintroducing in-person local activities when possible. In the meantime, we hope our monthly virtual meetings can provide JN’s with a time and space to interact with peers, stay up to date on current environmental issues, and learn about STEM careers and opportunities. We’ll also play some games and learn how to share a love for the outdoors with a younger audience to prepare for EcoCamp next summer.