Homeschool Programs


A new season of our Outdoor Environmental Science Program (OESP) for homeschool students has begun! Below you will find a listing of 2015-2016 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


2015-2016 Themes

(tentative; series have 4 weeks unless otherwise noted)

September: Recycling (4 weeks)
October: Solar Series (4 weeks)
November: Drought & Watersheds (3 weeks)
December: Soil & Composting (3 weeks)
January: Physics of Play (4 weeks)
February: Flower Power (4 weeks)
March: Birds (4 weeks)
April: Life cycles (4 weeks)
May: Maker May (4 weeks)


All classes are:

Held Mondays & Thursdays (FEB THURS FULL) 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.


Flower Power

Join us this February as we explore the science of flowers in the beautiful Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. We’ll kick off this series by observing the hummingbirds astonishing powers of pollination. Students will learn about the various types of pollinators and their adaptions. They will also visit our Historic Orchard and Rose Garden to sample local honey and dissect a rose. Throughout the course of the month, students will participate in activities that will help introduce them to pollinators and flowers in the Guadalupe Gardens while teaching them basic principles about pollination. **Monday classes were added to accommodate an overflow of students from our Thursday classes. If less than 5 students enroll, we will only hold the Thursday class.


Hooked on Hummingbirds

February 1st/February 4th

Did you know that if a hummingbird lived to be 4 years old it would have pollinated 4,380,000 flowers!? We’ll learn about the role hummingbird’s play in a flower’s life cycle and how flowers have adapted to attract these fearless creatures. Students will play Hummingbird Relay to reinforce concepts learned throughout the class. We’ll end the class with a nature walk to pick the perfect specimen for our flower press project.

Buzz Worthy Bees

February 8th/February 11th

Bees are one of our most well-known pollinators but did you know that bees and flowers are important partners? During this class, students will learn that bees are like us, working and living in communities. We’ll explore the many jobs to be done in the colony and experience firsthand how bees carry pollen by becoming a bee during the pollination game. Students will learn the difference between native and non-native bees and gain an understanding of the relationship between bees and flowers. We’ll end the class by designing a special Valentine’s Day Card using our pressed flower.

Flower Investigation

February 22nd/February 18th

Students will visit the Historic Orchard to experience a piece of local history. We’ll also get a closer look at a bee box and discover why we need pollinators. Learn about the role of flowers in fruit propagation and how some flowers are used for food. Students will then ‘build’ a flower, with classmates posing as various parts and acting out their functions to prep for our flower investigation. Lastly, the class will dissect a rose to reinforce the function of each reproductive part of a flower.

The Seeds of Science

February 29th/February 25th

Explore the world of bugdom as we search for pollinators in the Heritage Rose Garden, the largest public collection of rose varieties in the western hemisphere! We’ll use hand lenses to look for special pollinating adaptations such as a pollen sac and a proboscis. As the students actively explore blooms in the gardens, we’ll sample some rose hip tea. Students will end the day by making a seed bomb to take home.


Jr. Ornithologists

Taking advantage of children’s curiosity in the behavior of animals, students will observe birds in their natural habitat each class this month! The Jr. Ornithologists series will introduce them to how the structures and behaviors of birds help them meet their basic needs for survival in their particular environment. Throughout the month students will learn about flight and feathers, they’ll build their own bird nest, meet three live owls from W.E.R.C. and discover the science of bird calls. We will explore physical science concepts such as sound and flight. **Monday classes were added to accommodate an overflow of students from our Thursday classes. If less than 5 students enroll, we will only hold the Thursday class.


Flight and Feathers

March 7th/ March 10th

Ever wonder how birds fly? Are you curious as to the different types of wings, feathers, and flight patterns that birds exhibit? Enter the wide world of wings as we learn how our feathered friends take flight, and then observe firsthand the behavior of some of the bird species that call the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens home! Then, experiment with the forces of flight by designing and testing your own airplane at our unique location in the flight path of San Jose International Airport. As we launch our gliders we will identify planes that fly overhead and draw comparisons between the wings of a plane and that of a bird. Concepts covered: Flight, lift, and drag.

The Best Nest

March 14th/March 17th

Nest building is a tough job! It requires birds to collect the materials and fashion them into the finished nest using only their beaks and feet. Students will learn how and where birds build their homes and all about a bird’s lifecycle. Next, we’ll go on a nature walk around the park to look for bird nests using binoculars and spotting scope. Each student will attempt to build their own next using natural materials found on our walk. Then, we will meet Mike Azevedo, a local bird enthusiast, who will open up a few blue bird boxes in the Guadalupe River Park to take a closer look at the nests inside. Concept covered: Animal behaviors for survival.

All about Owls

March 21st/March 24th

Who, who….will we be learning about this week? Join as we learn about the silent hunter of the Guadalupe Gardens, the owl. Students will learn about the owl’s predator adaptations as we dissect an owl pellet. We will be joined by some special visitors from the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center (W.E.R.C). Students will meet live owls: Wally the Pygmy Owl, Owlivia the Western Screech Owl and Barnadette the Barn Owl to compare their physical features and learn about what makes each owl unique. Concept covered: Animal adaptations.

Backyard Birds

March 28th/March 31st

For our final week, we will learn about all the different types of birds found in the Guadalupe River Park. Students will then begin to learn how to identify birds based on their songs and know the reasons why birds sing. We will do a bird scavenger hunt around the park using binoculars and spotting scope. We’ll end the day by playing the bird call game where each student will imitate a bird song while their partner tries to recognize the call and call back. Concept covered: Birds sing to communicate about food and to locate one another.

Homeschool Programs Sign-up Form

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


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 NatureOhlone

Water for Life


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