Education home

Ask a Naturalist

For Kids

For Teachers


VIP Events 2017

The following are this season's optional programs which will give Nature Scopes students the opportunity to share in discovering the wonders of Nature with their families.

Nature Scopes
Springtime Exploration & Astronomy Adventure

Saturday, April 8, 7-9:30 PM
at Observatory Park
Click here for the flyer

Check this page every season for new exclusive programs!

It’s amazing what a pair of binoculars can do.

Suddenly you can see “Jack and Jill” on the moon and every crater and peak on its surface becomes clearer. Miraculously you can see the detail and rich color found in a Blue Jay’s feather. Incredibly the centipede’s tiny legs can be seen moving at rapid speeds. The world of nature is brought into focus.

Now imagine all these things as seen by a child. The combination – binoculars and children – is magical.

That magic has happened for more than 4,000 Geauga County fifth-graders and their teachers since 2003. Geauga Park District’s Nature Scopes program, sponsored by the Foundation for Geauga Parks, creates a unique link between nature and our county’s youth. Children get a close-up look at the natural world – a look that goes a long way towards fostering a lifelong appreciation of nature.

But you don't have to take our word for it – meet this Burton Elementary class and see for yourself!

“I absolutely loved the Nature Scopes program.  I think it is important for kids to know the earth
and their surroundings.”
Lindsey, Grade 5, St. Mary’s School

Nature Scopes does more than just give students a tool to access nature, by the way. Park District staff work hand-in-hand with participating teachers to meet Ohio's Science Education Standards for Fifth Grade. An annual workshop for Nature Scope schools offers teachers continuing education, park-provided lesson plans, a basic overview of binocular use and the chance to network with other science teachers and discover ways to implement natural history into their Ohio Academic Standards. Participating schools even receive a bird feeder with seed installed on school property for students to observe with their Nature Scopes binoculars.

By participating in the Nature Scopes program, each student earns a pair of Bushnell binoculars and two field guides. During the year-long program, students take part in interactive lessons in the classroom and outdoors on school property or in a Park District park. One such day includes a trip inside a classroom-sized Star Dome, where they learn to observe constellations and hear all about their legends.

The biggest event comes at the end of the school year when, in May, Nature Scopes students experience the BinoBlitz! This exciting adventure takes students in the field to observe forest, pond and wetland habitats. They also get to take part in the Nature Scopes Graduation Ceremony – complete with a diploma!

"In Nature Scopes, I learned that nature is awesome!"

But perhaps the best way to truly capture what Nature Scopes means to students is to hear it in their own words. As one student simply put it, “In Nature Scopes, I learned that nature is awesome!”

That’s really the goal of Nature Scopes – showing kids the “awesomeness” of nature by bringing it up close and personal. With that appreciation in hand, Nature Scopes students will grow to be adults who still see the magic in nature, a magic they can pass along to their own children. So it’s not an overstatement to say “it’s amazing what a pair of binoculars can do.” Witness a child using a pair to examine a bug; the joy is unmistakable and the lessons invaluable.  Geauga Park District’s Nature Scopes is truly a one-of-a-kind program!

“I had never used binoculars before, and now I use them almost every day after school...and on weekends, I search my woods for anything interesting." – Allison, Grade 5


Nature Scopes Facts:

  • Nature Scopes provides a unique environmental education curriculum aligned to Ohio's Science Education Content Standards for fifth-grade science.
  • As of 2013, more than $120,000 has been received from individuals, foundations and organizations, including the Marguerite M. Wilson Foundation, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, the Burton-Middlefield Rotary Club, the Dominion Educational Partnership, the Foundation for Geauga Parks, the Blackbrook Audubon Society and The North Face Explore Fund. With their support and that of many generous individuals, Nature Scopes participants continue to receive their own set of field guides and a pair of Bushnell binoculars to continue their exploration of the natural world around them and keep them connected to that sense of wonder that comes with being in the outdoors.
  • The Nature Scopes pilot program began in 2003 with two schools and 220 students. Since then, more than 4,000 students and teachers from area schools have participated in the program.
  • Nature Scopes reached approximately 766 students in the 2013-14 school year. Next year we're predicting to reach 940!