Nature Center transitions to online learning

  • The Highlands Nature Center’s “Spring Sightings” series is part of the online offerings being introduced in 2020.
    The Highlands Nature Center’s “Spring Sightings” series is part of the online offerings being introduced in 2020.

The Highlands Nature Center may not be physically open, but they continue to provide the community with environmental content and resources that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home.  

In-person Nature Center programs have been canceled for now, but daily activities and ideas are posted on the HBS Facebook page as part of its “Nearby Nature” series for those who have young children at home along with nature book and movie recommendations for our adults. 

According to Biological Foundation Director Charlotte Muir, also featured are snapshots of what visitors can see if they tour the Botanical Gardens as part of the “Spring Sightings” series. 

“We’ll do this until we can get back to meeting face-to-face, but we’ll be doing this permanently because we’re attracting and capturing a whole new audience,” Muir said by phone on Monday. “This helps us continue to do our mission in reaching more people.” 

Starting soon, regular programming such as “A Garden in Every Season” tours will be posted to HBS’s Facebook page as tours are live streamed for all to enjoy. 

The Highlands Biological Station and Nature Center isn’t about to let a little thing like COVID-19 coronavirus social distancing and stay at home directives stand in the way of getting their mission out to the people. 

According to Muir, the Nature Center is transitioning its in-person programs to the virtual world and, in doing, attracting a whole new audience. 

The HBS office and Nature Center are currently closed and all programs that take place at the Nature Center have been canceled through April 30. In the meantime, the Botanical Garden remains open dawn until dusk, and people are encouraged to get outside during this time as long as they continue to follow all mandated safety protocols.

Muir said all the credit for the Nature Center’s online programs go to Environmental Educator Paige Engelbrektsson,

“Paige is a world class environmental educator,” Muir said. “When we realized we couldn’t do an in-person program anymore we started looking how we could do our mission virtually.”

A new online curriculum that the Nature Center hadn’t utilized much before now has been developed, Muir said, which includes everything but the kitchen sink. 

“We’re including adult education, garden wise tours,” she said. “We’re doing everything we do at the Nature Center and trying to get it out to our community since they can’t come to us.” 

Muir said the best place to access our online programs is via Biological Station’s Facebook page as posts are uploaded daily. 

“Another cool thing, even if you don’t have internet, we want to find a way where we can reach everybody,” she said. “We’re currently exploring ways to get hard copies of our materials out there via the mail. Call the Biological Foundation and leave your mailing address and we’ll get you the materials through the mail.”