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Nature Programs Offered
Broward County > Parks > Fern Forest Nature Center > Nature Programs Offered

In 1978, the citizens of Broward County voted in favor of a bond issue for land acquisition and development of parks. Included in this was the purchase of the site now known as Fern Forest. The park is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment and to the enjoyment and education of its visitors. Consisting of 243 acres of wilderness within cosmopolitan Broward County, the site is a beautiful and diverse natural area. It encompasses 10 plant communities, including a tropical hardwood hammock, an open prairie, and a cypress-maple swamp. The last remnant of the historical Cypress Creek floodway can be seen, as well as distinctive geological features. The nature center is a significant refuge for wildlife in our highly urbanized area.

Program Descriptions
*Programs marked with asterisks meet specific curriculum objectives for the grades indicated.

To schedule a program with your group, call the nature center at 954-357-5198 or e-mail

*LIVING AND NONLIVING (Kindergarten-First Grades)
Meet Fern Lady and Rachel Raccoon in a puppet show that explains how to tell what's living and what's nonliving. Through hands-on outdoor activities students explore soil creatures and pond life. A trail walk through the forest helps reinforce the relationships between living and nonliving things in the natural environment.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 60 students.

*INSECT MAGIC (First-Second Grades)
Hands-on explorations help students discover the fascinating realm of the most common animals on earth and their kin. Learn about the many amazing adaptations and variations of insects and spiders, while discovering our unrecognized dependence on them as members of the food chain. A trail walk will provide an opportunity for an up-close and personal look at these small but important critters.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 60 students.

*A CIRCLE OF LIFE (Second-Fourth Grades)
Students discover through activities, games, and exploration how plants and animals interrelate with one another and their habitat. On a trail walk, we will identify different habitats and talk about the animals that live there, the threats to their survival, and what an endangered species is.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 60 students.

Students review the water cycle and discuss the importance of wetlands and how they are affected by humans, especially here in Florida. Hands-on exploration and a game highlight the distinctive features of wetland natural areas and their inhabitants, followed by a hike through a bald cypress swamp.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 60 students.

Students become land-use planners in this simulation, which assembles different interest groups to develop land-use plans for a natural area due to be developed. The fun begins when each group must try to convince a “commission” to approve its plan over those of the others. A trail walk will help students get the necessary information regarding plant and animal species and the South Florida environment before their “jobs” begin.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 60 students.

DISCOVER FERN FOREST (Kindergarten-12th Grades)
An interactive overview of Fern Forest – who, what, when, where, and why – emphasizing our distinctive habitats and the animals that occupy them. The most commonly asked questions will be addressed, including what to expect to see out on the trails. Plant and animal adaptations will be discussed, with an emphasis on reptiles, allowing the program to end with the introduction of the endangered eastern indigo snake. Following the program, groups will be encouraged to walk our trails to see firsthand what Fern Forest is all about. Trail guides are available for nominal fee.
• One hour.
• Maximum 120 students.

A hands-on overview of the diversity of habitats found at Fern Forest. Participants will explore the unique areas of the park through a guided nature walk. An inventory of the animals will be conducted through observations, dip netting, and insect collecting.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 60 students.

GUIDED NATURE WALKS (Kindergarten-12th Grades)
Guided nature walks with specific themes are available. The theme will be discussed when you make your reservation. Examples: birds, butterflies, edible and poisonous plants, plant identification, and fern identification.
• One hour.
• Maximum 40 students.

Seek the Unique
Students will be involved in a field-oriented study of one of Broward's only remaining cypress/maple swamp communities. Basic field sampling and collecting techniques will be learned, enabling students to assess water quality, compile a biotic index, and test a simple hypothesis. Students must wear covered shoes with socks that can get muddy. We also suggest that they bring a beverage, a towel, and a change of shoes and socks.
• Two hours.
• Maximum 30 students.