Notes from a Naturalist in Wildwood

Staff from NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May has been working with the students of the Wildwood Afterschool Program for over 5 years.  Through a Federal grant from the 21st Century Schools, the program receives funding to bring in educators to help enhance the afterschool program.  Brendan Schaffer, or “Mr. B” as the students call him, has been instructing students from 3rd grade through high school, helping them understand science and nature through hands on activities, nature walks, and field trips to many of the important natural areas in the county.

From starting seeds to making bird feeders, the students of the afterschool program have learned how everything is connected in the outside world.  According to Mr. B, “We have gotten our hands dirty in the garden, learned how we can reduce our footprint with rain barrels and compost lessons, and have attracted birds to the little area that now has been deemed the ‘Outdoor Classroom by the Sea’ in Wildwood”.  Whether searching for birds with binoculars, carving pumpkins, or learning about insects, the students focus on having fun while learning.  With the addition of a state-of-the-art greenhouse in the outdoor classroom area, the possibilities for hands on learning grow exponentially.

Brendan Schaffer
Teacher Naturalist
New Jersey Audubon