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The Ecologist School

The Ecologist School is the basis for all of our programming. When we take families out into nature, or train guides to take their own communities outdoors, the Ecologist School lessons provide the answer to “what do we do now that we’re outside?” The Ecologist School is an informal science education program that allows people to earn badges in 16 branches of science by learning and playing in nature together. The lessons in the guidebook are intended for all ages all together and most can be done in your own backyard, or even in your house, with minimal materials. The Ecologist School lessons can be done by a Nature Community, family, group of friends, classroom, or anyone eager to connect to nature more deeply. The Ecologist School is open ended and encourages curiosity that naturally leads to learning. Each lesson includes a Science Seed that contains all the information you need to know! You don’t need to be a scientist to use the Ecologist School!

Circle of Sciences, Badges

The Circle of Sciences is broken into sixteen Science Slices. Badges can be earned for each Science Slice by completing four activities across eight learning categories: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Outdoor Skills, Volunteerism, and Leadership. Record your experiences in your nature journal and order your badges online! Complete ten of the sixteen badges to become a Certified Junior Ecologist or go all the way and accomplish a Humboldt Project, FIN’s service learning capstone!

Junior Ecologist Certification

Complete 10 of the 16 Ecologist School badges and a Humboldt Project to become an official Certified Junior Ecologist!

Humboldt Project

FIN leaders of all ages are invited to complete a Humboldt Project as a culmination of completing the Ecologist School Program. Humboldt Projects are ecologically focused, service oriented projects focused on an issue to which our leaders are passionate about finding a solution. Complete your own project with one-on-one mentoring from FIN staff or community leaders who are experts in your topic.

Partnership and Licensing

Interested in using the Ecologist School curriculum at your school, organization, nature center or other green space?

Email to find out more about our licensing options, partnering opportunities and custom place based pocket guides.

Ecologist School Lessons

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 15
Week 16


We encourage everyone to keep a Nature Journal as a means to express yourself creatively through writing or drawing after each activity. Nature Journals are a great place to record observations, memories and inspiration from your time spent in nature.

You can purchase our FIN Nature Journals here. 

We would love to see how you use the Ecologist School!

Please email photos to and/or tag us if you post your FIN Ecologist School experiences on social media.

#familiesinnature #ecologistschool

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