Nature Education Programs


LRC Fall-Winter Hours M-F 10am-5pm, Sat. 10-2 unless otherwise noted. Closed M-F 12:30-1:30. The LRC will be closed in observance of the following: Monday, October 14 for Columbus Day, Monday, November 11 for Veteran's Day, Thursday and Friday, November 28-29 for the Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas Day December 25 and New Year's Day January 1.  The Classroom and/or building is closed during scheduled classes, programs, hikes and camps. Please refer to the Program Guide and Calendar for these event times.


Yoga, Every Wednesday, 10-11:10am at the Kiwanis Community Center in Fairlawn, lower level.  You can buy a 5 class pass or a 10 class pass.  You may buy a pass and join the class anytime.  Attend when you can and get your card punched at each visit.  Registration is ongoing.  You may buy a pass online or in person.  Your first class is free!  You also get a free class once your card is fully punched!  Your Yoga Instructor is RYT-200 Certified.

Nature Hikes will take place as part of scheduled programs, at random (will be posted on Facebook), or upon request for families or groups of 5 or more.  If your group would like to schedule a general or specific hike with a Naturalist please call the Learning Resource Center or email to schedule your hike.

Please register for all programs listed by clicking the following link. Go to to register or click free & paid programs link below.



Home School Science Thursdays, Beginning Thursday, October 10 and every other Thursday thereafter, 10:45am-12:00pm, Free, Registration Required and will remain open.  Come to any or all of the classes you want.  Throughout the fall and winter this home school science class will cover general topics in biology, chemistry, natural science, environmental science, ecology, and other related topics.  Each lesson will be accompanied by a hands-on activity and/or an associated craft.  Lessons will be in line with Department of Education guidelines for science grades 1 through 6. 

Fall Leaf Collecting and Leaf Art, Friday, October 11, 2:00pm, Free, no registration required.  Bring the family and hike with us to collect different beautifully colored fall leaves and learn how to identify them, learn why they turn different colors in the fall, and we will use them to make some art!

Halloween Open House and Party, Saturday, October 19, 6:00pm, Free, no registration required.  The Learning Resource Center will be open for our annual Halloween Open House and Costume Party.  The event includes a viewing of Hocus Pocus on the big screen outdoors, a costume contest with prizes, a spooky hike, roasted marshmallows and S'mores at the fire pit, painting pumpkins, and we'll have the telescopes set up so we can star gaze and view the planet Mercury!  Movie starts at 7pm.  Weather permitting.

Bats and Other Creatures of the Night, Wednesday, October 30, 6:00pm, Free, Registration Required.  Learn about some of the night life that you may find in nature at this time of year, especially about the importance of bats and how to identify them.  Bat craft included.  Presentation will be followed by an evening bat hike.  Weather permitting.


Ferret Friday, Friday, November 1, 4:00pm, Free, no registration required.  Here's a chance to get up close and personal with Popcorn and Soda Pop, our two ferrets.  Learn more about them, watch how to trim their nails, learn about their natural history and diet, and help them play in their play gym.

Night Hike (Full Beaver Moon), Tuesday, November 12, 5:30pm, Free, Registration Required.  Encounter the sights and sounds of the evening by taking a nature walk through Fort Island Park with the Naturalists by the light of the full beaver moon.  We'll listen, observe, and discover some of the night life that abounds when the sun goes down in late fall and learn a little moon lore.  Bring a flashlight.  Weather permitting.

Autumn Star Gazing, Friday, November 15, 8:00pm, Free, Registration Required. Autumn is a good time to see a number of notable constellations, including the zodiac constellations of Aquarius, Aries and Pisces, and the constellations in the Perseus family: Andromeda, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Pegasus, Triangulum, Cetus, and Cepheus.  Cassiopeia's W, the Great Square of Pegasus and Lacerta's zig-zag shape make it easy to find them.  Bring your own telescope or use one of ours.  Weather permitting.

Turkey Talk, Tuesday, November 26, 5:30pm, Free, Registration Required.  This is the time of year we talk turkey!  Join us for a short program on Turkeys, their natural history, their communication style and turkey calls, and some Thanksgiving lore.  You will also get to examine a full-size taxidermy turkey up close!  The turkey is an amazing and powerful animal that creates very personal social bonds.  See you at the turkey table!


The Magic and Science of Harry Potter, Monday, December 2, 2:00pm, Free, Registration Required.  No school today?  Let's make it a Harry Potter Day!  Dress as your favorite Harry Potter character, play some HP trivia, and win prizes, and learn some of the science behind some of the HP spells and such from the books and movies by re-enacting some experiments!

Jr. Animal Care Day, Saturday, December 7, 11:00am, Free, Registration Required.  If you would like to know how we feed and take care of our animals at the LRC then come today and find out.  You can watch, learn, and help us do animal care and handling on this day!

Night Hike (Full Moon/Cold Moon), Thursday, December 12, 5:30pm, Free, Registration Required.  Learn about and encounter the sights and sounds of the evening as we transition into winter by talking a nature walk through Fort Island Park with the Naturalists.  We'll listen, observe, and discover some of the night life that abounds this time of year and learn some of the lore of the Cold Moon.  Bring a flashlight.  Weather permitting.

Christmas Bird Count, Saturday, December 14, beginning at 10am and anytime throughout the day, Free, Registration preferred.  We are looking for volunteers to give a little of your time this weekend to help us with counting birds for the Annual Christmas Bird Count.  Bird counts will be added to the Greater Akron Audubon Society's database.  This helps to monitor and document bird populations in our area.  See a Naturalist for details or call the LRC direct at 330-668-9518, or you can meet the Naturalists at the Fort Island Park Trailhead at 10am.  You can even count from your own backyard!  Bird ID guides and counting lists will be provided.  Thank you in advance!

Holiday Open House Event, Monday, December 23, 2:00-5:00pm, Free, no registration required.  Stop by and usher in the Yuletide with us during our celebration of the holidays.  Music, crafts, finger painting, trivia and finger snacks will be part of our gathering.  Come dressed as an elf or another one of Santa's helpers and win a prize!

Winter Birding Day, Friday, December 27, 10:30am, Free, no registration required.  Join a Naturalist on a winter bird hike through Fort Island Park this morning.  Winter is a great time to find and see birds that do not migrate and stay in the area for the winter.  Dress warm and bring your binoculars.  We have some extras if you don't have your own.  We'll warm up after the hike with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows while we enjoy conversation.

Reptile Day, Monday, December 30, 2:00-4:00pm, Free, no registration required.  Stop by the LRC anytime during this two-hour time frame to get an up close and personal look at some of our reptiles that call the LRC their home.  Learn about some of the unique features of our turtles, our snakes, and our bearded dragon.  You can even touch or hold one!  Make a reptile craft at one of the tables.


Jr. Animal Care Day, Saturday, January 4, 11:00am, Free, Registration Required.  Here's another chance to get up close and personal with our LRC animals.  During this program, you will learn how to properly handle and take care of our educational ambassadors that make the LRC their home.

Growing Up Wild Winter Edition, Tuesdays, January 7, 14, 21, 28, 10:00-11:00am, Ages 3-7, Free, Registration Required.  This is a 4-week class that will target some basic concepts in nature, especially as it relates to the winter months.  We will explore winter animals, hibernation, animal tracks, over-wintering birds, tree shapes and those that lose and hold on to their leaves, and more!

Winter Star Gazing, Friday, January 17, 6:30pm, Free, Registration Required.  While northern hemisphere observers can observe a total of 30 constellations at various times of the year, there are seven constellations traditionally associated with the winter months, headed by Orion, with its nearby constellations including Canis Major, Gemini, Taurus, Perseus, Eridanus, and Cetus.  In addition, there are five constellations that are visible throughout the whole year because they are north circumpolar and therefore appear to be orbiting the North Star (Polaris), these being Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor.  Bring your own telescope or use one of ours.  Weather permitting.


Jr. Animal Care Day, Saturday, February 1, 11:00am, Free, Registration Required.  Here's another chance to get up close and personal with our LRC animals.  During this program, you will learn how to properly handle and take care of our educational ambassadors that make the LRC their home.

Hibernation Station!  Tuesday, February 4, 2:00-3:00pm, Free, no registration required.  Stop in this afternoon for a free mini-class about winter animals and to learn about hibernation, which animals truly hibernate in winter, how and why they hibernate, hear a story, and make a craft.

Full Moon/Supermoon Hike (Snow Moon), Monday, February 10, 5:30pm, Free, Registration Required.  Come learn about what Native Americans refer to as the Full Snow Moon while taking a winter evening stroll through the park with the Natualists.  We'll end our hike with a cup of Hot Chocolate topped with marshmallows.

Valentine's Craft Day, Friday, February 14, 10am-12:30pm and 1:30-4:45pm, Free, no registration required.  Looking to make something special for someone you care about or just want to do something fun?  You can come to the LRC today and make a Valentine's Day related craft.  A variety of supplies will be available in the classroom, just bring your imagination and some love!

Did you know...

Fort Island Park and Fairlawn Park (Oxbow) Hikes

The Naturalists will be offering hikes throughout the year as part of scheduled programs and as separate hike events to be posted on our calendar and on social media.  If you have any group of 5 or more that would like to schedule a general or specific hike with a Naturalist please call the Learning Resource Center or email to schedule your personalized hike.

Garlic Mustard Pull Volunteers Needed!

If you, your family, school group, scout troop, or any other group is looking for a volunteer opportunity to help maintain our parks, then we need you!  Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant that is taking over areas of the park and choking out the native plants, and we need you to help us get rid of it so that our native plants can thrive keeping our parks as biologically diverse as possible.  Please contact a Naturalist by phone or email to schedule a Garlic Mustard Pull.

Looking to complete Scout Badge requirements?

If you any scout or scouting troop (daisies, brownies, lion's den, webelos, girl scouts, cub scouts, boy scouts, etc.) and are looking to fulfill badge requirements we can help with that.  We can help your scout or troop with requirements by providing content for badges such as home scientist, recycling, insects, geology, forestry, and many others.  We have a wonderful resource here with the Learning Resource Center and natural outdoors of Fort Island Park.  Please call or email a Naturalist to schedule your scout or troop.

Home Schoolers

If you are a home schooler or have a larger home school group, consider scheduling your child or group for a Home School Science Program at the Learning Resource Center/Fort Island Park.  We can accommodate just about any home school science topic upon request.  Also, watch for our nature programs and two-day home school science camps offered periodically that may suit your needs.  Ask for a program request form today!

The Naturalists travel, too!

The Naturalists will come to you!  We travel to schools, daycares, senior groups, nursing homes, and other formal settings.  Ask for a program request form by calling or emailing a Naturalist and schedule a visit soon!

QUESTIONS: 330-668-9518 Email T Dunn or email the Parks Department

The Naturalists are proud to offer a variety of free and paid nature education programs for all ages. All Nature Programs are held at Fort Island Park Learning Resource Center and the surrounding park. The Learning Resource Center is located at 413 Trunko Road in Fairlawn. 330.668.9518. We also visit schools and other places upon request. Please fill out the online form to request a visit and submit the donation amount.

Have a scout troop working on a merit badge? We can help with that! We can help your scout or troop with partial fulfillment of requirements as needed to complete their merit badges (i.e. daisy scout subjects, forestry or geology for boy scouts). We also welcome scouts who would like to work on a scout project at one of our parks. Call the number above or email one of the Naturalists to inquire. Click for more information about Girl Scout Badges, Boy Scout and Cub Scout Badges, and Community and School Visits.

Have questions about after school programs or test prep help in the sciences? Just contact a Naturalist at the number or email listed above.

We welcome your suggestions as to program ideas that you would like to see us implement. Stop in, send a note, or give us a call.