Young Naturalist Program

The Young Naturalist program connects our students to the wonder of the natural world through outdoor journeys that foster knowledge, love, and a sense of place.
 
Students become naturalists in kindergarten and continue to expand their love and knowledge for the natural world throughout lower school, with a focused exploration each year. 

Naturalist Notes

List of 18 news stories.

  • Young Naturalists Visit Basin Spring

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    Our Kindergarten and First Grade Naturalists were invited by Dr. Joe and Billie Little,grandparents of first graders James (Ms. Ammerman's class) and Caleb (Ms. Hoffman's), to spend the day at Basin Spring, the Littles' beautiful haven in Fernvale.


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  • First graders sketched and colored while birdwatching in the outdoor classroom.

    First grade goes bird watching

    by Lisa Preston, Lower School naturalist

    First graders are learning characteristics of birds in the outdoor classroom.
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  • Second graders explore the forest of Warner Park.

    Second grade forest days begin

    by Lisa Preston, Lower School naturalist

    Second grade classes are spending full days at Edwin Warner Park to learn outdoor skills and more.
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  • The Progression of Being a Lower School Naturalist

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    Each grade level in Lower school finished the year with a culminating journey, applying what they have learned to a final experience in the natural world.
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  • Kindergartners Delight in their Visit to Fernvale

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    Our Kindergarten Naturalists were invited by Dr. Joe and Billie Little (grandparents of Kindergartners James and Caleb Little) to spend the day at Basin Spring, their beautiful haven in Fernvale, Tennessee.

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  • First Grade Visits the USN Wetland

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    In April, the First Grade Naturalists crossed the Mighty Cumberland to visit the USN Wetland.
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  • Kindergarten Cartographers

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    A sense of wonder is inspired each time our Kindergarten naturalists venture outside. 
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  • The Science of Bird Banding at USN

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    Since late October, we have been feeding the birds in the outdoor classroom.
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  • 4th Grade's Historical trip to Mammoth Cave

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    In 1917, a group of Peabody College students headed to Mammoth Cave--not by bus, but by train. Though their experience of almost a century ago was different from ours, it seemed familiar.
     
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  • Third Graders Learn about the Cumberland River Basin

    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    As part of their upcoming Land and Water unit, the third graders went on a journey to the Bridge Building downtown to learn from the staff at the Cumberland River Compact and see what they are doing to improve our quality of life through our water.
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  • Andy Goldsworthy-Inspired Sculptures by the 3rd Grade

    Lisa Preston
    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    Once upon a time, the third graders were in Kindergarten and did a journey to celebrate the nature-inspired artwork of Andy Goldsworthy. Since that has been a few years and they are studying famous artists in their third grade classrooms, we decided to do that same journey again.
     
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  • Book Buddies Share Radnor Lake (K and 4th Grade)

    Lisa Preston
    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    Fourth grade and kindergarten students become book buddies at the beginning of the year.  This year, we decided to extend that special relationship and spend some time outdoors together.
     
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  • First Grade Writers Inspired by Nature

    Lisa Preston
    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    The first graders have been studying poetry in the classroom...what better way to celebrate the art of writing than by going on a journey?
     
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  • Kindergarten Naturalists examine the Wetlands

    Lisa Preston
    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    The Kindergarten Naturalists traveled across the Mighty Cumberland to visit the USN wetlands.  On our earlier visit to the wetlands, there was no water, but this time we found the wetlands full of water!
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  • 1st grade- Trout in the Classroom

    Lisa Preston
    For the seventh year, USN first graders spent the fall raising trout in the classroom.  In September, 1000 eggs arrived from the Erwin Fish Hatchery and our project began. 
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  • 2nd Grade Bird Feeder Watch

    Lisa Preston
    by Lisa Preston, lower school naturalist

    The second grade naturalists have begun their Feeder Watch. Over the next several months, the second graders will visit USN's Outdoor Classroom to observe and identify the birds (using ID sheets), draw and record with tally marks the number of birds that come to our feeders.
     
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  • 3rd grade Young Naturalists visit an old friend

    Lisa Preston, LS Naturalist
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  • Fourth Grade Naturalists and their Trees

    Lisa Preston
    The fourth graders are studying the trees of Tennessee as part of their "All about Tennessee" naturalist program.  
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Archive

Lower School Naturalist

About the Young Naturalist Program

Lisa Preston is the LS Naturalist.  A long-time faculty member at USN, Lisa has helped with the Young Naturalist Program since the program began ten years ago. After the retirement of the program's founder Cynthia Lee, Lisa moved into a full-time role as naturalist. 

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