The Earth Discovery Center and Ornithology Center offers several popular environmental education programs specifically for homeschool students – Bird Jam and Homeschool Jamboree – among other field trip programs available to groups.

Ornithology-Owl-Eagle-Creek-Park

Homeschool Bird Jam

Friday, April 24, 2015
10am-2:35pm
Eagle Creek Park Ornithology Center

Homeschool students age 8–16 can enjoy a full day of feathered fun by choosing 4 classes ranging from bird ID to live birds of prey. Space is limited to 8 students.

  • Homeschool Bird Jam Classes

    Archery
    During this introduction to archery, learn the basics about safety, terms to know, and then try your hand at shooting! No prior shooting experience necessary. There is a maximum 12 students per session.

    Birds of Prey
    Do you know what kinds of birds are raptors? Can owls really turn their head all the way around? In this class, you’ll see live birds of prey up close and learn where they live, what they eat, and other interesting facts about their behavior.

    Boating & Water Safety
    Join Conservation Officers Jeff Wells and Jet Quillen in a brief introduction and overview of the duties of a conservation officer and water/boater safety. This program will involve both class discussion and demonstration with students on a canoe without ever getting wet. You will learn about general safety concerns around water and water-related activities.

    Identifying & Labeling Insects
    Come discover how insects are identified and labeled from a local entomologist who will share what is involved. He will cover other basic facts such as capturing, storing, displaying, and using collected insects. This indoor presentation should be educational, interesting, and helpful for anyone interested in our six-legged friends.

    Landscape Architecture & Nature Journaling
    Sigma Lambda Alpha, an honor society for Ball State’s landscape architecture students, will provide a workshop in Nature Journaling. In this workshop, students will be given the opportunity to become a landscape architect for the day. An important piece of landscape architecture is examining the landscape and recording discoveries in nature by sketching in personal journal books. Participants will be instructed in basic sketching techniques. Each student is provided with their own homemade sketchbook and pen to use and keep, as Ball State student leaders guide them through nature to observe and sketch the surrounding environment.

    Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics
    Camptown will teach participants the seven Leave No Trace principals. You will learn how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through games and hands-on learning. Leave No Trace refers to a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation and positive recreation decision-making.

    Reptile & Amphibians
    Creepy, crawly, and cool collide for this program with an Eagle Creek Park Naturalist. Join this class to learn more about Indiana reptiles and amphibians. Learn the similarities and difference between these groups, information about species within the park, and get an up close look at some resident herps.

    Salamander Survey
    Learn about the many kinds of salamanders that live in Indiana and be a wildlife biologist as we monitor salamander populations in Eagle Creek. This includes a one to two-mile mildly strenuous hike outside. Wear comfortable clothes and be sure to dress for the weather. This program takes up two class sessions, which is 90 minutes long.

    Spring Hike
    Spring is when plants and animals start venturing out into the warm sunshine. Explore the forest with a Southeastway Park Naturalist looking for early wildflowers and searching for animals waking up from their winter dormancy or migrating back to their summer grounds.

    Tree Climbing
    Get a bird’s eye view of the park while getting to know your trees – “up a tree without a paddle.” Learn to climb a tree using arborist equipment. *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already taken it before during previous jamborees, so everyone can get a chance to participate. There is a maximum 12 students per session.

    Tree ID & Hike
    Learn how to identify trees! This is more than a brief walk in the woods while trying to learn trees by memory. You will learn how to go through the step-by-step process of identifying the trees of Eagle Creek Park. About half the class will be the step-by-step process of learning how to identify a tree you do not know, and the second half will be in the woods putting to use what you have learned.

    Venomous Animals
    Watch out! Discover what venomous animals live right here in Indiana! Learn how to identify them, avoid them, and seek treatment. Get a close look at a black rat snake, commonly mistaken for a venomous cottonmouth.

    Wild Games
    Learning through play is not only fun, but extremely effective. During this session we will play a variety of nature-themed games. With these games, students will learn about predator/prey cycles, natural resources, adaptations, pollution, and more! Who says learning can’t be exciting?

  • Bird Jam FAQ

    Do I need to stay with my student or can I just drop them off?
    You are welcome to stay with your student and attend the event, or you may also drop them off. You know your student the best — some children are mature enough to attend a Jamboree on their own, while others may need you to stay with them. We have several adults around to assist students throughout the day, but if you have any concerns about your child’s maturity or ability to follow instructions and stay with their class, please plan on attending the event with them. For indoor sessions with limited space, you may be asked to wait outside in the hallway. If you will be dropping off your student, we will ask you to fill out emergency contact information at the time of check-in.

    Due to the large number of students, it is not practical to have a formal check-out procedure. The end of a Jamboree can be very busy, with lots of students, parents and cars moving in and out of the parking area. Please talk to your students ahead of time about safety — you may wish to determine a pick-up spot in advance, or meet them at their last class.

    If I am staying with my child, can I bring my younger children along?
    Yes, you may bring younger siblings with you to Bird Jam. The park just asks that you remove them promptly from the program if they become restless or disruptive. Be aware that a few of the program sessions involve longer hikes that may not be suitable for strollers or younger children, and indoor space at the Ornithology Center is limited. There are several playgrounds and hiking trails in the park that you are welcome to enjoy during your visit, and you may wish to bring along books, toys, or other items to keep younger children entertained.

    What if the weather is bad, will you cancel the program?
    Bird Jam is a rain or shine event — we only cancel if weather conditions are dangerous — thunder, lightning, extremely high winds, etc., and since Indiana weather can change very quickly, park staff may not know until the day before or even the morning of the program. They do not generally cancel for rain or cold temperatures. Since many of the program sessions are outdoors, please check the weather forecast carefully and dress accordingly.

    Will we have to pay the gate entrance fee to get into the park?
    Gate admission is included in your registration fee. Please check-in with the gate attendant at the 71st or 56th Street gates with the name(s) of your registered student(s).

    What about lunch?
    Please bring a sack lunch. Lunches can be carried with students, or can be stored in the front room of the Ornithology Center. Space inside the Ornithology Center is very limited, so lunch will be outside — there is seating available on the deck, or you may wish to bring a tarp or blanket to sit on.
    How do I register?
    You can register online through Indy Parks, or call the Ornithology Center directly at 317.327.BIRD (2473) or Indy Parks customer service line at 317.327.PARK (7275). Here’s what you’ll need to register:

    • Complete names and birthdays of students
    • Address and phone number
    • Contact email address
    • Please have five class choices for each student, ranked in order from 1 (first choice) to 5 (alternate choice). Students will be assigned four of their five choices. The park tries to get each student into their requested classes if at all possible, but may need to assign them to their alternate choice depending on space and time slots. If there is a class your student particularly wishes to attend, be sure to designate it as their #1 or #2 choice.
    • Payment information — we accept MasterCard, Visa, Discovery, and American Express over the phone or online.

    What is the cancellation policy?
    In accordance with city policy there will be no refunds. If you cancel two weeks before the day of the program, you will receive a credit to your account that can be used for other Indy Parks programs.

Earth-Discovery-Center-Kids

Homeschool Jamboree

Friday, Nov 6, 2015
10am-2:35pm
Eagle Creek Park Earth Discovery Center

$15/per student due at time of registration; plus $1/fee per phone transaction

Homeschool students age 8–14 years can attend 4 environmental education classes during an exciting, educational, and fun-filled day! Space is limited to 150 students.

To receive notifications on the Homeschool Jamboree, please email Leah Frenzel, or call 317.327.7148. Program topics and registration details are usually emailed to the list approximately 4–5 days before the first day of registration, which is October 5. Note: registering for a homeschool program does not automatically put you on the general email list.

  • Homeschool Jamboree Classes

    Archery
    During this introduction to archery, learn the basics about safety, terms to know, and then try your hand at shooting! No prior shooting experience necessary. There is a maximum 12 students per session.

    Birds of Prey
    Do you know what kinds of birds are raptors? Can owls really turn their head all the way around? In this class, you’ll see live birds of prey up close and learn where they live, what they eat, and other interesting facts about their behavior.

    Boating & Water Safety
    Join Conservation Officers Jeff Wells and Jet Quillen in a brief introduction and overview of the duties of a conservation officer and water/boater safety. This program will involve both class discussion and demonstration with students on a canoe without ever getting wet. You will learn about general safety concerns around water and water-related activities.

    Identifying & Labeling Insects
    Come discover how insects are identified and labeled from a local entomologist who will share what is involved. He will cover other basic facts such as capturing, storing, displaying, and using collected insects. This indoor presentation should be educational, interesting, and helpful for anyone interested in our six-legged friends.

    Landscape Architecture & Nature Journaling
    Sigma Lambda Alpha, an honor society for Ball State’s landscape architecture students, will provide a workshop in Nature Journaling. In this workshop, students will be given the opportunity to become a landscape architect for the day. An important piece of landscape architecture is examining the landscape and recording discoveries in nature by sketching in personal journal books. Participants will be instructed in basic sketching techniques. Each student is provided with their own homemade sketchbook and pen to use and keep, as Ball State student leaders guide them through nature to observe and sketch the surrounding environment.

    Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics
    Camptown will teach participants the seven Leave No Trace principals. You will learn how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through games and hands-on learning. Leave No Trace refers to a set of outdoor ethics promoting conservation and positive recreation decision-making.

    Reptile & Amphibians
    Creepy, crawly, and cool collide for this program with an Eagle Creek Park Naturalist. Join this class to learn more about Indiana reptiles and amphibians. Learn the similarities and difference between these groups, information about species within the park, and get an up close look at some resident herps.

    Salamander Survey
    Learn about the many kinds of salamanders that live in Indiana and be a wildlife biologist as we monitor salamander populations in Eagle Creek. This includes a one to two-mile mildly strenuous hike outside. Wear comfortable clothes and be sure to dress for the weather. This program takes up two class sessions, which is 90 minutes long.

    Spring Hike
    Spring is when plants and animals start venturing out into the warm sunshine. Explore the forest with a Southeastway Park Naturalist looking for early wildflowers and searching for animals waking up from their winter dormancy or migrating back to their summer grounds.

    Tree Climbing
    Get a bird’s eye view of the park while getting to know your trees – “up a tree without a paddle.” Learn to climb a tree using arborist equipment. *Due to the popularity of this class, please do not choose this topic if you’ve already taken it before during previous jamborees, so everyone can get a chance to participate. There is a maximum 12 students per session.

    Tree ID & Hike
    Learn how to identify trees! This is more than a brief walk in the woods while trying to learn trees by memory. You will learn how to go through the step-by-step process of identifying the trees of Eagle Creek Park. About half the class will be the step-by-step process of learning how to identify a tree you do not know, and the second half will be in the woods putting to use what you have learned.

    Venomous Animals
    Watch out! Discover what venomous animals live right here in Indiana! Learn how to identify them, avoid them, and seek treatment. Get a close look at a black rat snake, commonly mistaken for a venomous cottonmouth.

    Wild Games
    Learning through play is not only fun, but extremely effective. During this session we will play a variety of nature-themed games. With these games, students will learn about predator/prey cycles, natural resources, adaptations, pollution, and more! Who says learning can’t be exciting?

  • Homeschool Jamboree FAQ

    Do I need to stay with my student or can I just drop them off?
    You are welcome to stay with your student and attend the event, or you may also drop them off. You know your student the best – some children are mature enough to attend Homeschool Jamboree on their own, while others may need you to stay with them. Students are responsible for finding their way to their classes and have a 45-minute lunch period on their own. We have several adults around to assist and monitor students throughout the day, but if you have any concerns about your child’s safety, maturity, or ability to follow instructions and stay with their class, please plan on attending the event with them. For a few classrooms with limited space, you may be asked to wait outside in the hallway. If you will be dropping off your student, the park asks you to fill out emergency contact information at the time of check-in.

    Due to the large number of students, it is not practical to have a formal check-out procedure. The end of Homeschool Jamboree can be very busy, with lots of students, parents and cars moving in and out of the parking lot. Please talk to your students ahead of time about safety — you may wish to determine a pick-up spot in advance, or meet them at their last class location.

    If I am staying with my child, can I bring my younger children along?
    Yes, you may bring younger siblings with you to Homeschool Jamboree. The park just asks that you remove them promptly from the program if they become restless or disruptive. Be aware that a few of the program sessions involve longer hikes that may not be suitable for younger children. There are several playgrounds and hiking trails in the park that you are welcome to enjoy during your visit, and you may wish to bring along books, toys, or other items to keep younger children entertained.

    My child is seven, can I still sign him up for the Jamboree?
    Even if your child is working at an advanced level, this is a very long day for younger children and the park strongly recommends waiting until they are at least eight years old before attending. Our absolute cut-off for signing up for Homeschool Jamboree is 7 1/2 years.

    Why did the park decrease the age range?
    The vast majority of students signing up for Homeschool Jamboree are age 14 and younger, and repeated feedback indicated that older students felt out of place at the event.

    What if the weather is bad, will you cancel the program?
    Homeschool Jamboree is a rain or shine event – we only cancel if weather conditions are dangerous — thunder, lightning, extremely high winds, etc., and since Indiana weather can change very quickly, we may not know until the day before or even the morning of the program. Cancellation information and updates will be emailed to registered participants. The park does not generally cancel for rain or cold temperatures. Since many of the program sessions are outdoors, please check the weather forecast carefully and dress accordingly.

    Will we have to pay the gate entrance fee to get into the park?
    Gate admission is included in your registration fee. Please check-in with the gate attendant at the 71st or 56th Street gates with the name(s) of your registered student(s).

    What about lunch?
    Please have your students bring a sack lunch. Lunches can be carried with students, or may be dropped off in the pantry after check-in. Due to cold weather over the last few jamborees, students have been allowed to eat lunch in the hallways of the Earth Discovery Center rather than having to go outside. Because of their excellent behavior and clean-up afterwards, lunch will be allowed either inside or outside, regardless of weather. Students are not directly supervised during the 45-minute lunch period, although they do have volunteers walking around to assist students during this time if needed. Please take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to stay with your students for the day.

    Can we find out what classes we got into before the day of the event?
    When you sign up for the Jamboree, you choose your top four classes with two alternates. In order to fit everyone into as many of their top choice classes as possible, the park must wait until almost everyone has registered to start assigning classes (it’s like a giant, complicated, jigsaw puzzle). As soon as the Jamboree is nearly full, park staff assigns classes and sends out schedules via email. Even if you are on the general Homeschool email list, please leave your email address at the time of registration if you wish to get your class schedule early.

    If we don’t like our classes, can we switch them the day of the event?
    Due to the nature of the program and the high number of students, the park is unable to switch classes the day of the event. Make sure when registering that your students will be happy with all six of their class choices, and if there is a class they particularly wish to attend, indicate it as their #1 or #2 choice. The park will do its best to make adjustments if there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. student sprained ankle the night before and is not able to go on hikes, but still wants to attend). Please be aware that staff will be very busy at the beginning of the event as they get nearly 150 students signed in and off to their first classes, so they may not be able to address your concerns immediately.

    Why don’t you offer more Homeschool Jamborees at different times throughout the year?
    To be able to offer a variety of class choices, Eagle Creek Park pulls in favors from staff at Indy Parks Outreach, Holliday Park, Southeastway Park, Garfield Park, IDEM, IDNR, Camptown, talented Indy Parks volunteers, and countless others. Most of these parks and organizations become extremely busy from spring through fall with school field trips, day camps, park visitors, etc. Early spring and late fall are the best compromise for the event — the best variety of presenters are available, and we try to push the date as close to busy season as possible to give us the best chance for good weather.

    How do I register?
    You can register online through Indy Parks, or call the Earth Discovery Center directly at 317.327.7148, or Indy Parks customer service line at 317.327.PARK (7275). Note: space is limited, and this program has a history of filling up the first day registration is open. Leaving a message on the answering machine will not reserve your spot. For online registration, we recommend setting up your Indy Parks account in advance. Here is what you’ll need to register:

    • Complete names and birthdays of students
    • Address and phone number
    • Email address — the park can send students their class schedules before the actual day of the event, and notify you of any last minute changes due to weather, etc.
    • Six class choices for each student (see below for topics) ranked in order from 1 (first choice) to 6 (last choice). Students will be assigned four of their six choices. The park tries to get each student in their top two choices if at all possible, and assign choices 3 and 4 as space and time slots allow. If there is a class your student particularly wishes to attend, be sure to designate it as their #1 or #2 choice.
    • Payment information — we accept MasterCard, Visa, Discovery, and American Express over the phone or online.

    What is the cancellation policy?
    In accordance with city policy there will be no refunds. If you cancel two weeks before the day of the program, you will receive a credit to your account that can be used for other Indy Parks programs.