Nature Explorers at Grow Benzie

img_3968Register for Nature Explorers classes at Grow Benzie by contacting or 231-871-0276. 


My environmental education organization, Nature Explorers International (NEI), has recently found an incredible community partnership at Grow Benzie. At my new office and classroom space, I have the opportunity to both ground NEI in the community, and give it room to flourish. My roots go pretty deep in this town, and it is here, in rural Northern Michigan, that I am always called back to. I truly believe that my home is the most beautiful place on earth. I am spending the next three months offering NEI programming at Grow Benzie, in my hometown of Benzonia, before I begin teaching in Florida for the spring semester. 


Grow Benzie was started in 2008 with a beautiful dream to transform an abandoned farmstead into a community garden space. A farmers market, food truck, and educational opportunities for the public came next, along with greenhouses, a sewing studio, and a commercial kitchen. The mission of the organization is to “enrich our region by fostering positive activity that increases access to healthful foods, jobs, life skills and each other and provide a space that nurtures this activity.”


A main goal is to offer programs for the community that align with this important mission. Classes, talks, and workshops in gardening, beekeeping, nutrition, cooking, sewing, and farming are all offered on the grounds.  


I have a wide variety of programming for all ages coming up at my new classroom space. Hands-On Earth Science Wednesday’s feature a toddler, pre-school, and after-school elementary option. Saturday Nature Night classes focus on a different continent each week, and provide a pizza dinner. Handmade Holiday workshops are for both kids and adults in leather-work, beading, and paper-making. Day camps after Thanksgiving and Christmas help out working parents, and free educational photography slideshows will feature travels from my recent year and a half living abroad. 


Links and detailed information about programming is listed below. 

Nature Nights Around the World

Saturday’s: 5-8pm228877_216158235103776_8261821_n

Weekly wildlife photography slideshow with popcorn and a pizza dinner, plus fun activities, crafts, and music from around the world!

Ages: 5-12  Cost: $15 + $5 Pizza Dinner

Nov. 5: North America

Nov. 12: South America

Nov. 19: Africa

Nov. 26: Eurasia

Dec. 3: Australia

Dec. 10: Antarctica and Puppet Show

Hands-On Earth Science 



Explore natural concepts through science experiments, art, games, outdoor exploration, stories, and more!

Toddler Tracks ~ Ages 1-2

9-9:45am – $5

Pre-school Ecology ~ Ages 3-4

10:30am-12pm – $8

After-School ~ Ages 5-9

3:30-5:30pm – $10

November 2–  Why Do Leaves Change Color?

November 9- Migration and Hibernation

November 23: The Rock Cycle

November 30: Volcano Fun

December 7: Finding Fossils

December 14: The Water-Cycle & Snow

January 4: Invertebrate World

January 11: Herpetology

January 18: Primatology

Handmade Holiday

Make your own gifts and cards! Learn the basics of leather-working, beading, paper-making, and stamping.

Black Friday Day Camp

November 25

Ages: 5-10 

Cost: Full Day (10am-3pm) $241798061_626513830753043_454609449_n

Half day (10-12 or 1-3) $10

Material cost: $6



Saturday’s: $10

Ages 5-10: 10am-noon

Ages 11 and up (Adults Welcome!): 1pm-3pm

Material Cost: $5


November 5: Leather-working and Jewelry-making

December 10: Paper-making and Recycled Art

Educational Presentations 10846481_10152942387189468_5291679157062102877_n

Tuesdays: 7pm ~ Free for all ages

November 22 : Borneo’s Forest Battle: Palm Oil vs. the Rainforest

December 6: Komodo Dragons Plus: Weird Reptiles from Across the World

January 3: Aussie Wildlife: Marsupials, Monotremes, and More

January 17: Pygmy Elephants, Orangutans, and Sun Bears, Oh My! The disappearing wildlife of Borneo.

Winter Break Camp

D644399_519310424788554_1040850347_nec. 27-30: 10am-3pm

Ages: 5-10

Cost: $90, $24 per day

Tuesday: Plants & Seeds

Wednesday: Invertebrates

Thursday: Reptiles, Amphibians, & Fish

Friday: Birds & Mammals



*Sibling discount: 20% off ea. additional sibling

*Sign up for 6 or more weeks and receive a 15% discount off total!

*private or group home-school lessons available on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s

Bio: Amalia Fernand is an environmental educator with a Master of Science in Ecological Leadership and Education that has worked with children and animals around the world. She founded Nature Explorers International with the mission to: “help children foster a stronger understanding of their environment, an excitement for learning and exploration, and a deep-set love of nature that lasts a lifetime.”

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