Young Naturalist Program
The Young Naturalist Program (YNP) is a free program for teenagers who are residents of Burlington County. This program will allow teens with an interest in the environment to develop a greater appreciation of the outside world and experience all that nature has to offer in the Burlington County Parks System! No homework, no grades, no tests, no pressure, just fun outside. Those looking to potentially pursue a career in the natural sciences can gain valuable field experience and begin building a resume.
Activities will take place within our Burlington County Parks for 7 weeks in the summer and all are led by County Park Naturalists. Examples of summer activities and topics in YNP include:
- Biological assessment
- Keeping a nature journal
- Plant and animal identification
- Understanding and using dichotomous keys
This year we have had to make substantial changes to our normal format. Ordinarily we would meet on Monday mornings for three hours for all of our events. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have had to depart from that normal format. Please note that the schedule that follows is preliminary and subject to change based on social distancing regulations and Burlington County Health Department regulations.
All Young Naturalist Program registrants will receive updates of any changes to the schedule. We will be sending specific resources everyone will need to complete the activities via email and therefore registration is required for each week in advance.
- The first two weeks are completed on your own time, in any County Park location of your choice.
- The remaining five weeks are offered as a choice: in-person at the specified time and park location on the schedule, or on your own at a time that is convenient for you. If you register for these online, you are automatically registered for the in-person version of the program held on that Monday at the times listed. There will be a strict capacity limit of 12 participants and everyone must follow social distancing guidelines of maintaining a 6 foot distance. When we gather for beginning and ending lesson/information, masks must be worn.
- If you do not wish to attend with others or cannot attend on the date and time advertised, and want to do the activities on your own time, then please contact Jen Bulava, Park Naturalist, via email. JBulava@co.burlington.nj.us You will be put on a separate virtual participation roster and evidence of the activity completion must be sent electronically to receive credit for participating. This option does allow more teens to potentially participate as there is unlimited flexibility over the course of the week to complete each activity at your own pace and time frame.
Register for the Young Naturalist Program (will be available June 8)
Registration is only available to those who reside in Burlington County.
Testimonial from a Young Naturalist
"When I learned there was a young naturalist program cover the course of the summer I was excited. Here was a place where I could get hands on experience and learn new things about the wildlife around my home. It was so much fun! Everyone was nice and I knew they had the same interests as me. We discussed butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, trees, fungi, and so much more. I love hiking through the different parks and seeing the wide variety of animal and plant life. Now I can identify the different species in my backyard and several plants that grow in the forest down the street. I can’t wait to sign up for next year so I can learn even more."
Testimonials from Parents of Young Naturalists
"I can hardly believe how happy my son looks! He’s already told me he wants to do this program again next summer. He has really enjoyed these sessions, beyond his expectations."
"The program was great. Time was convenient for parents. Participant enjoyed journaling … it helped to keep things organized and helped to remember what was seen / heard on the hikes."
"[My son] really enjoyed the Young Naturalist Program this summer. Thanks for all you did for our kids!"