The Learning Never Stops at Trout Lake Nature Center
The Trout Lake Nature Center strives to touch people’s hearts, kindle their imaginations and stimulate their minds. The many benefits of time in nature on brains, bodies and spirit has been deeply researched. Studies show nature will speed the health recovery process, reduce blood pressure, increase focus and lower the risk of cancer as well as lift people’s spirits.
How long does it take to get a dose of nature high enough to improve health? 120 minutes or only 2 hours per week. It is not just nice to have but a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive function.
Nature centers bring the natural environment to people under the guidance of trained professionals and volunteers to experience and develop relationships with the natural world. In this era of isolation and disconnection from the land, a connection to nature is more important than ever.
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Florida has many environmental concerns such as loss of habitat, environmental equity, water quality and quantity, invasive species, sea level rise and more. For the community and residents to make important decisions and become a positive part of the solution, it is essential that they understand how Florida’s natural systems function and interact. Environmental education is a key part of creating understanding and the ability to make good decisions. This is what we provide.
A casual visit to Trout Lake Nature Center can be an educational experience, as our interpretive displays and materials inform while our staff and volunteers offer answers to the many questions about local plants, animals and ecosystems. We also enjoy introducing our resident turtles and snakes to visitors!
Our scheduled programs are an opportunity to learn more with in depth knowledge being provided by plant and animal experts and scientists. Our monthly Friday Night Naturalist programs feature topics ranging from raptors to climate change to Florida’s wildlife refuges to Florida history. Birding programs for adults and children have drawn participants from around the region. We appreciate the opportunity to lead everyone down the trail of knowledge and discovery, sharing our passion for what we do.
During a typical school year about 70 mornings a year, a big yellow school bus pulls into our parking lot and a dedicated group of volunteer instructors are “all hands on deck!” Students from preschool to fifth grade take part in our field learning experiences that combine learning with an appreciation of nature.
It’s well documented that young people do not have the same connection with the natural world as in the past. Technology can inform but there is no substitute for the real world. We offer programs that are not only aligned with grade-level state standards but also incorporate key science concepts in a memorable environment. It’s not surprising that we get so many
visitors who tell us they remember their childhood days at Trout Lake Nature Center.
Our onsite education opportunities are open for public and private schools, Scout troops,
homeschoolers and student clubs.
Trout Lake Nature Center has an established history of providing educational field experiences and creating memories for generations of Lake County students. Our PreK through fifth-grade programs has multiple fun learning activities that teach about our natural world, ecosystems, adaptations, interdependence, and more. Specialty programs on species are also available. They include spiders, frogs, black bears, and more.
Programs are available to meet the needs of multi-age homeschool groups. Homeschool groups can visit on their own or schedule a program. It is recommended to contact the office in advance whenever bringing a group of children to the Trout Lake Nature Center to be sure facilities are available for your planned activities.
These 2-3 hour programs are usually $7 per student with a minimum of 15 paid and a maximum of 50 per day. During 2020, these minimums and maximums are being waived for your safety. Reservations must be made in advance. Contact Laurie Peterson at [email protected] for complete program information and availability. More Field Trip Information (pdf)
In response to the current need, we have expanded our ability to bring environmental education to schools. We are prepared to present to your classes in person, with educational displays and live animals. We follow physical distancing, No touch, masking, and disinfecting guidelines. We would bring two people (one staff member, one volunteer). We rotate to different classrooms to preserve the integrity of your student groupings or cohorts.
Presentation topics depend on your needs and grade level. Live animal presentations are limited to three sessions per day (multiple days may be needed) to reduce the stress for the animals. Presentations not involving our education ambassadors can be scheduled for more sessions per day. Remote presentations and videos are in development and can be provided.
Please contact Eileen Tramontana at [email protected] for details or to discuss your classroom or grade level needs.
Children and Family Programming
Programming that offers environmental education combined with fun and an outdoor experience has been a tradition at TLNC. We offer Nature Sprouts for preschoolers and their adults, Sunday Fundays or weekend events that bring extra activities and experts here, holiday events, and more. Please see our Events page for information and schedule or follow us on Facebook.
Adults, Families and Community
Facilities may be rented by outside groups or individuals for a small fee. All rentals will follow
CDC guidelines. As guidelines change the ability to rent our facilities will change. For more
information on rental of our facilities, call 352-357-7536.
Trout Lake Nature Center participates in many community events, festivals and activities with
an interactive exhibit. If you are interested in us coming to your event, contact
Trout Lake Nature Center is a venue for select meetings and concerts. See our Events page for our current schedule or follow us on Facebook. We are also available to participate in local environment-related festivals and events, contact [email protected].