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♻️ Bring them back to the RMSC or Strasenburgh Planetarium to be reused! Simply give us a visit and drop them off at the Museum & Science Center Welcome Desk or Planetarium box office. Deadline to drop off is May 1.

Cumming Nature Center > Forest School

Cumming Nature Center Forest School

Forest School provides children with the space to nurture their relationship with nature through unstructured play, curiosity-driven learning, hands-on projects and basic outdoor skills development.

  • 4-12 Years Old

  • Various Days from 10am – 3:30pm

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ABOUT FOREST SCHOOL AT CNC

Forest School at Cumming Nature Center recognizes the intrinsic relationship between children and nature. 

Our mission is to provide children ages 4-12 with the space to nurture this relationship through unstructured play, curiosity-driven exploratory learning, hands-on projects, and outdoor skills development; all within a physically safe and emotionally supportive environment. Through Forest School, students learn to be resilient, self-reliant, and confidently inquisitive.

Please call the Nature Center at 585.374.6160 with inquiries about the program.

About Forest School | 2023-24 Information | Summer Forest School


NATURE IS OUR CLASSROOM

With nature as our classroom, guide, and companion, our daily activities are based on fostering three things: purposeful work, observation, and exploration. Purposeful work may consist of carving sticks, sawing wood, gathering acorns, building a shelter, building and cooking on a fire, creating natural art–the list is endless!

We take time to observe the little ways the world changes, even in the course of a week. Outdoor play allows the children to honor the strong developmental need to jump, twist, tug, pull, balance, roll, run, climb, dig, sort, build, weave and create. This play also develops fine and gross motor skills, executive function, spatial awareness, balance, coordination, kindness, and empathy. Children work together, using their strong imaginations and ideas to sort out all types of social situations.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Forest School days run from 10am – 3:30pm. Each day at Forest School is spent entirely outdoors in all types of weather. In order to fully immerse ourselves in the environment, it is essential that children come prepared for the day’s weather and with the understanding that it is ok to get dirty! Comfort and proper clothing are of the utmost importance. 

Forest School students are separated into self-contained cohorts of 10-15 children. In the event of a lock-down, Forest School instructors will take Forest School online.

It is critical that families review the parent handbook before registering a child for Forest School. The handbook provides detailed information about Forest School’s core values and guiding principles, along with logistical details regarding food, clothing, weather closures, registration, and more. Please take the time to read through the handbook, and feel free to reach out to our staff with any questions at 585.374.6160.


Meet The Forest School Instructors

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Angela Cannon-Crothers, Forest School & Interpretive Programs Coordinator

My name is Angela Cannon-Crothers (I am the one in the bandana) and my title is Nature Mentor Angie (Nature Angie is fine). Some of my other titles include Forest School & Interpretive Programs Coordinator, Lifelong Forest Schooler, Author, and mom. Some of my former titles have included Forest Ranger, Cloud Collector (for real), naturalist, and college science professor. My hobbies include wildcrafting, writing, exploring, reading, drawing, identifying dragonflies and marveling at fungi. My goal is to always keep my sense of wonder intact.


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nona Brown

Hello! You can call me Nature Mentor Nona. My hobbies are: canoeing, dancing, singing, somersaults, squelching around in the mud, and building fairy villages. My goals for this year of Forest School are to laugh a lot, learn something new from everybody, see an owl, and find lots of mud to play in.


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Jonathan Jensen

I am Nature Mentor Jon: husband, dad (of 4), brother, son, uncle, teacher, friend, and coach. I have been a Forest School Nature Mentor for over two years and my children have been involved for even longer! My hobbies are eating and moving, and my goals for this year are P.E. – Play and Explore!


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Jim Davis

Out in the woods I’m known as Nature Mentor Jim! My hobbies are woodworking, tree climbing, and teaching. My favorite snack is chocolate chip brownies (yum!), and my goal for this year is to teach everyone about the amazing world around us.


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Laura Jones

Hello, friends! I am Nature Mentor Laura. Some of my favorite things to do are camping, knitting, cooking, biking, singing, gathering around a fire with friends, gardening, and storytelling. Lately, I’ve been inspired to learn about beekeeping and visible mending of clothing! If I could only choose one type of food to eat forever, it would be soup. I especially love working alongside children and noticing as we all grow and evolve with the seasons.


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Terry Brayman

My name is Terry, and I have been helping kids of all abilities learn, play and enjoy activities for my whole career. I love to help enable kids to engage in activities that are important to them including cooking, arts, yoga, skiing, and exploring. I enjoy adventures of all kinds, especially wilderness canoe trips in the far north. I can’t wait for all the fun adventures at Forest School this year!


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Kassandra Stymus

Hello, friends! My name is Kassandra. I love to spend time with my family, which includes: 2 kids (Jacquelynn & Ivory), 2 dogs (Affina & Musha) & my partner (Kyle). We all love crafting, playing music, story time, organic gardening & wild foraging, hiking & camping.


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Camille Karavas

Hi there! My name is Camille but you can call me Cam if you please. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, with an intention of being a herpetologist. I absolutely adore reptiles and amphibians. Aside from all things nature, I enjoy playing music and spending time with my loved ones. I was a summer camp leader at CNC this year and am so excited to be a Forest School instructor this year. I look forward to meeting all of your lovely faces!


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Emily Nicholas

My name is Emily and I love walking through the woods, experiencing the sights and sounds of nature. I also love forest gardening, making nature crafts, music, reading, and drawing. I am always learning something new from listening and observing the interaction between living and non-living things and I am so excited to explore the Cumming Nature Center with you!  


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James Raspanti

Hello! My name is James and I am an avid birder. I love making notes in my pocket journal about great nature finds, taking photos of really cool bugs, and building fairy houses. I started at CNC as a summer camp instructor and can’t wait to be a part of Forest School!


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D.J. Kitzel

My name is D.J. Kitzel and I have been traveling through woods and waters with kids of all ages for over 30 years.  I enjoy growing food, making things, paddling and riding a spotty pony named Lego. I am a perpetual student of the woods and look forward to playing and learning at the Forest School this year!


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DEBORAH Clark

My name is Deborah, but you can call me Deb. My other titles have included mom, park naturalist, childcare provider, farmer, florist, and wildlife rehabilitator. I love canoeing and paddle boarding, dancing in the rain, hiking, marveling at butterflies, and critters of all kinds. I look forward to exploring and learning with everyone at Forest School!


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John Sarazyn

Hi, my name is John. My favorite outdoor activities are scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing with my dog, Captain. My background is in teaching middle school and high school-aged children technology and robotics. I currently work with elementary aged children, helping them foster their own unique drive to learn and promoting educational growth through play. You can often find me homeschooling my children outdoors or playing banjo.



2023-24 FOREST SCHOOL SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAYS | 10AM-3:30PM

Fall: Wednesdays, September 13 through December 20 (except November 22) 

Spring: Wednesdays, January 10 through June 5 (except February 21, March 13, and April 3)

THURSDAYS | 10AM-3:30PM

Fall: Thursdays, September 14 through December 21 (except November 23) 

Spring: Thursdays, January 11 through June 6 (except February 22, March 14, and April 4)

FRIDAYS | 10AM-3:30PM

Fall: Fridays, September 15 through December 22 (except November 24) 

Spring: Fridays, January 12 through June 7 (except February 23, March 15, and April 5)


Forest School Fees

The Forest School fees listed below apply to one day of Forest School during 2023-2024. You will need to pay this fee for each day of Forest School your child is registered for. 

NOTE: Members receive a $40 discount per child for full-year registration, or a $20 discount per child for single sessions. Membership and sibling discounts will be applied to tuition.

 Full YearFall only (14 sessions)   Spring only (19 sessions)   
1 Child $1,200$510$690
2 Children$1,195$508$687
3+ Children$1,190$505$685
*Fall 2024 registration will open in the late spring of 2024. Please contact us at 585.374.6160 to be added to a waitlist and notified when registration opens for the fall.

SUMMER Forest School

Join us for summer Forest School at the Cumming Nature Center! We are hosting weekly sessions from 10:00am-3:30pm on Tuesdays.

Tuesdays | July 2 – August 13

$350 for 7 sessions

Please read the parent handbook before registering your child: DOWNLOAD HANDBOOK.

2023-24 INFORMATION

schedule

WEDNESDAYS | 10am-3:30pm
September 13 through June 5

THURSDAYS | 10am-3:30pm
September 14 through June 6

FRIDAYS | 10am-3:30pm
September 15 through June 7

FULL-YEAR Fees

1 child | $1200
2 children | $1195 per child
3+ children | $1190 per child

*Members receive a discount of $40 per child

register

Registration is full for the Spring 2024 Session of Forest School.

Please call 585.374.6160 for questions.