Homeschool Programs


A new season of our Outdoor Environmental Science Program (OESP) for homeschool students has begun! Below you will find a listing of 2014-2015 themes, as well as the monthly class listings.


OESP classes are offered to members at a discounted rate of $10/class and are $15/class for non-members. For more information on membership, visit our membership page. In addition to the class discount you will receive our monthly newsletter, announcements of special events and volunteer opportunities, and discounts at local nurseries. Your membership donation is also 100% tax-deductible and comes with a free annual subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.


But most of all, you will know that you are supporting a valuable community asset that will be enjoyed today and for generations to come.


Please contact us with any questions at 408-298-7657 or e-mail


2014-2015 Themes

(tentative; series have 4 weeks unless otherwise noted)

September: Watersheds (3 weeks)
October: Alternative Energy (5 weeks)
November: Climate Change (3 weeks)
December: Geology (3 weeks)
January: Weather & Seasons (4 weeks)
February: Ecosystems (4 weeks)
March: Native Plants
April: Agroecology & Food (5 weeks)
May: Birds & Flight


All classes are:

Held on Wednesdays or Thursdays from 1:30-3:00pm

Drop-off classes

$10 per student per class for members, $15 per student per class for non-members

For 5 to 12 year-olds only


Welcome Ocean Grove families! GRPC is a registered vendor for Ocean Grove Charter School. If you’re interested in using Ocean Grove funds, please email us with the attendee names and class dates and request a purchase order from your ES. You do not need to complete the sign up form below.


Cancellation Policy:

In order to receive a full refund, cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to the start of each class or series. If cancellation occurs after that time, no refund will be given. In the event that a class or series is cancelled by Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, a full refund will be issued to registered participants.



Investigating California Natives

Explore with us the different types of California native plants that make up the Guadalupe River Watershed. Students will learn to map their surroundings, identify natives versus non-natives, take measurements and sketch in the field.


Lay of the Land
March 4th/5th

We begin our field guide by exploring our surroundings! Come map and learn about the environment in which our flora call home!


Taking Inventory

March 11th/12th

In our next chapter, we separate the native plants from the non-native. We’ll practice careful observation, noting the things that make our flora unique!


March 18th/19th

Join us as we learn about different types of measurement, and apply them to the plants we observed the week before.


March 25th/26th

This week we add illustration to the plants we have already observed and measured! Grab a pencil and come get some practical pointers on sketching plants!


Botany On Your Plate

Explore with us the different types of edible plants found at the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. Students will sample and learn about the different fruits grown in our Heritage Orchard while a trip to the local supermarket will allow students to learn about how far our food travel in order to reach our plates.


San Jose Veggies
April 1st/2nd

Students will tromp over to the Master Gardener Demonstration Plot in the Guadalupe Community Garden to learn the basics of garden ecology.


Fruit Forest

April 8th/9th

Students will visit the Historic Orchard to learn about the Guadalupe Gardens’ own “fruit forest” and the benefits of eating fruit. Most of our trees in our orchard are currently dormant, so we will discuss how to identify them in their dormant state.


To the Market!
April 15th/16th

Students will learn more about the journey foods must take from the farm and garden to their plates. Through fun simulations of a food distribution chain and a trip to Trader Joe’s, students will understand how their choices at the market affect the health of their community and of the entire food system large network!


Fresh Feast
April 22nd/23rd

Students will celebrate the benefits of eating fresh, seasonal foods by preparing and sharing a meal made from seasonal ingredients. For students who have participated in the entire Food System Series, this activity will provide an opportunity to synthesize what they have learned in the previous three weeks. For students who are new to the series, this activity will give them a fun introduction to local, nutritious foods that they might not have tried otherwise.


Digging Deep!
April 29th/30th

Come and learn about composting, the importance of good soil, and how to grow your own food! Learn how the environment is affected by farming and how to make your garden eco-friendly.



Sign Up Today!


To add more than one class, select class and number of students and hit “Sign Up.” Then from the cart page hit “Continue Shopping” to come back here and add more. You can also just sign up for the whole series!


# of Students:

Scroll down to read class and session descriptions.

Which session are you signing up for? (This field is required!)

Names – Please indicate the names and ages, separated by a comma, of attendees.
(This field is required!)

(This field is required!) I, the undersigned, do hereby give my full consent for the above named person(s) to participate in Guadalupe River Park Conservancy’s Outdoor Environmental Science Program for Homeschool Students. I agree to hold harmless the City of San Jose and the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and its officers, employees, volunteers and agents. Should any accident occur requiring medical care for my child, I give full consent to the providing of such care by a licensed physician. Further, I hereby grant full permission to any and all foregoing use of photographs, videotape, motion pictures, recordings and any other records of these events for education and public relation purposes. I have also read and understand the cancellation and refund policy should I need to cancel my registration for any class in the Outdoor Environmental Science Program for Homeschool Students.

(This field is required!) I am aware that this is a drop-off program.

Questions/Comments – Use the field below to leave any questions or comments you may have.

If this is your child’s first class at GRPC, please provide the following additional information. Otherwise, please scroll to the bottom and select Sign Up.

Emergency contact name and phone number

Allergies, Medications, or Special Needs

Primary care physician name and phone number





A unique setting…
The Guadalupe River Park & Gardens is an education destination like no other. A natural oasis located in the heart of downtown San Jose, the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens features 254 acres of park that include the Heritage Rose Garden, the Historic Orchard, a community garden, and 2.6 miles of trail that runs adjacent to the Guadalupe River. The GRPG provides a natural outdoor laboratory for science experiments and offers a creative and dynamic atmosphere for learning. 


A customizable education…
The Outdoor Environmental Science Program’s core curriculum covers a wide variety of current environmental science topics. Each class covers a unique theme within the environmental sciences, but your child can sign up for an individual class depending on his or her interests, come to several classes to cover a unit, or attend all the classes to build an interdisciplinary understanding of nature and science.


A learning adventure…
The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy’s classes are unique, interactive adventures – children won’t learn science by listening to lectures, but will learn through activity-oriented lessons, science experiments, and scientific observations out in the park. Your child will be challenged, but will move, talk, think and play to learn.


A healthier community…
More and more studies are indicating that spending time outdoors is vital to children’s academic development and health. Spending time in nature allows children to develop a connection with their surrounding community and become early stewards of the environment.


An ongoing interest…
When outdoors, children can see science playing out before their very eyes, develop powerful observational skills, and are exposed to the environmental sciences, an up-and-coming field worldwide. If your child’s interest is kindled by any or all of the OESP class topics, you can find more educational resources about that topic by clicking on the links that follow each class description, so you can be an active partner as your child explores their new favorite environmental science subject.

Resource Guides from the Past


Animals and Habitats

Food Systems


Math in Nature


Water for Life


Latest Events

Monthly River Clean-Up

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Historic Orchard Monthly Work Day

Help preserve a portion of the old Santa Clara Valley when orchards stretched across the valley floor. We are looking for volunteers to help ma...


Window on the River Park

Our annual fundraiser takes place every June and offers local business leaders an opportunity to mingle with elected officials and park support...



Tomatoes, Peppers, and More!

Join us Master Gardener Liz Calhoon for an exciting day of learning how to grow your own vegetables and flowers from seeds. more


Sustainable Vegetable Gardening

Did you know that our Mediterranean climate is perfect for year-round gardens?  Join the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy and Master Garde...


Rose Pruning Classes

Every Wednesday and Saturday through the end of February. Hands-on rose pruning lessons are being offered at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden eve...


Urban Foraging Workshop

Have you ever been out for a walk and wondered if any of the plants around you could make it to your dinner plate?  Join GRPC and urban foraging e...