Reminder: ALL visitors are required to wear a mask when visiting the CNC, regardless of vaccination status.

Cumming Nature Center Forest School

Cumming Nature Center Forest School

Ages 4-12 years old | Various Days | 10am-3:30pm

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. Find Forest School registration information below.

For parents who have questions about how we're keeping your children safe in the wake of COVID-19, we've compiled a list of answers to your frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions, please reach out to our Member & Visitor Services team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please call or email with inquiries about the program: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 585.271.4320.

Forest School Registration


For information on weekly outdoor programs for ages 0-4 or 13-15, please see below:

Toddler Forest School (ages 0-4)

Field Studies Program (ages 13-15)


About Forest School at CNC

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.

Download Handbook

Meet the Forest School Instructors

angie   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.

 

nona

   Winona 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.

 

 

 

jon

   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 a year 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!

 

 

 

 

jim

   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.

 

 

 

 

laura

  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.

 

 

 

 

simon

   Simon Conrad-Reingold

   Hello Forest Schoolers and families! My name is Nature Mentor Simon. I am a teacher/educator/mentor for Forest Schoolers, new and old, this year at Cummings Nature Center. Additionally, I am a: climber, hiker, runner, reader, naturalist, outdoor educator, teacher, forest mentor, and a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

 

 

 

Untitled 1

   Grace Taylor

   I am nature mentor Grace! I am a recent graduate of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and this is my first year here at Cumming Nature Center. I have previously worked as a naturalist at Beaver Lake Nature Center and Genesee Country Village Museum with their summer camp and scout programs. I love skiing, rock climbing, reading, fishing - and kids! 

 

 

 

 

kassandra    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.

 

 

 

 

maureen

   Maureen Dunphy

   You can call me Nature Maureen! I have been in love with all things Earth since childhood. I grew up in an urban environment, but found solace in neighborhood trees and parks. After graduating with Environmental Science and Education degrees from Rutgers, I worked as an environmental educator and naturalist at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. I have also worked as an education specialist at the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium, in MS science and elementary education at Canandaigua CSD, and as a biology and environmental science teacher at Naples CSD. I am thrilled to once again be sharing the astonishing beauty and wisdom of nature with young minds and hearts – in the wondrous environment of Cumming Nature Center.

 

 

 

 



Get Started with Forest School

Forest School Fees

The Forest School fees listed below apply to one day of Forest School during 2021-2022. You will need to pay additional fees for each day of Forest School your sign your child up for. 

  Full Year Fall only (14 sessions)    Spring only (19 sessions)   
1st Child  $1,100 $467 $633
2nd Child $1,090 $462 $628
3rd Child $1080 $457 $623

*RMSC members receive a membership discount applied upon registration.


2021-22 Forest School Schedule

Tuesdays | 10am-3:30pm

Fall: Tuesdays, September 7 through December 14 (except November 23) 

Spring: Tuesdays, January 11 through June 7 (except February 22, March 15, and April 12)

Wednesdays | 10am-3:30pm

Fall: Wednesdays, September 8 through December 15 (except November 24) 

Spring: Wednesdays, January 12 through June 8 (except February 23, March 16, and April 13)

Thursdays | 10am-3:30pm

Fall: Thursdays, September 9 through December 16 (except November 25) 

Spring: Thursdays, January 13 through June 9 (except February 24, March 17, and April 14)

Fridays | 10am-3:30pm

Fall: Fridays, September 10 through December 17 (except November 26) 

Spring: Fridays, January 14 through June 10 (except February 25, March 18, and April 15)


Register for 2021-22 Forest School!

Please register for Forest School by filling out the form below and paying a $50 application fee (this fee is required for registration and will be applied toward tuition upon acceptance into Forest School or Field Studies).

To register for Spring 2022 Forest School sessions, please contact Guest Services for availability: 585.697.1942

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


 

About the Cumming Nature Center

Cumming Nature Center is a dynamic, 900-acre environmental education facility that celebrates the unique landscape and culture of the Finger Lakes region through experiential learning opportunities and thoughtful exhibits. Educational programming at CNC explores the complex relationship between humans and the natural world. These programs are designed to inspire innovative and creative thinking among participants and provide them with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to take action in the face of local, regional and global challenges.



Sign up for our Newsletter!

Get RMSC news delivered to your inbox.

 

Sign up for Teacher News

Get valuable teacher-specific news.

 

google review 2