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 every Monday morning from June 26 - August 14, excluding July 3, and all are led by a County Park Naturalist. Every time we meet for an outing in one of the parks, we will be observing nature around us. Examples of summer activities and topics in YNP include:
  • Biological assessment
  • Kayaking
  • Keeping a nature journal
  • Orienteering
  • Plant and animal identification
  • Understanding and using dichotomous keys
If you cannot attend a few of the dates, that is okay. You do not have to make them up. However, if you cannot attend more than half of the dates (4), you can of course participate in the activities, but you will not be able to receive an official certification proving that you have completed the program..


Registration is Closed for the 2017 Season.
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!"

YNP Schedule

Registration is required for all events. You can sign up for individual events online at the time of registration for the YNP. We must receive your event registration at least 1 week prior to the first date, June 19.

Date Time Title Description
9:30 am - 12:30 pm Photographic Documentation
Digital photography is a fantastic way to collect information on species for reviewing and cataloguing later.  In this session we will use photos to document what species we find.
9:30 am - 12:30 pm Solutions for a small planet
The focus of our activities in this session will be the conservation of natural resources while meeting the needs of people.  Students will be responsible for evaluating competing land uses in two real-world examples and designing a model that works for both people and the environment.
9:30 am - 12:30 pm Key to ID
Explore the park while using dichotomous keys and field guides to correctly identify various species.
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
We will take a look at the geology of Crystal Lake to understand what makes this incredible place so unique in Burlington County.  Wear proper footwear for hiking steep slopes.
9:30 am - 12:30 pm Outdoor survival skills
Learn about basic outdoor survival skills for obtaining water, starting a fire, and building a survival shelter.
August 7 9:30 am - 12:30 pm Kayaking*
We will kayak 4 miles down the Rancocas Creek, getting a totally different perspective of nature from the water.
9:30 am - 12:30 pm Tying it all
For the last trip, we will use some of the skills acquired throughout the series to tie everything together for a complete outdoor experience.
*Kayak programs fill up fast and have a precise limited number of allowed participants.  A minimum of 2 previous sessions must be attended in order to participate in the kayaking session. There are no kayak lessons offered through the County Parks System. Students that need lessons can contact L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School. Anyone enrolled in the Young Naturalist Program will receive an email about kayak lessons at L.L. Bean and discounts.