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Outdoor Environmental

Science Program (OESP)


Program Summary

Our engaging homeschool Outdoor Environmental Science Program (OESP), provides an interactive, outdoor environmental education experience. We utilize our river, famous Heritage Rose Garden, Historic Orchard, and exhilarating park as tools to teach exciting educational themes.


Students will explore the natural world through a variety of topics covering everything from the smallest pollinator to the tallest trees. Our lessons structurally encourage students to form their own connection with nature, while reinforcing environmental objectives and concepts.


The OESP  is proud to be an activity-based, question-driven program with the newest Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a model.


Program Themes & Details


2016-2017 Themes

September: Curious Chemistry (3 weeks)

October: Spooky Critters (4 weeks)
November: World Water (3 weeks)
December: Keystone Species (3 weeks)
January: Physics of Play (4 weeks)
February: Gardening (4 weeks)
March: Birds of a Feather (4 weeks)
April: Life Cycles (4 weeks)
May: Maker May (4 weeks)



Program Details



Classes are held on Mondays, Thursdays, & Fridays.


1:30 – 3:00 PM


Guadalupe River Park & Gardens Visitor and Education Center, 438 Coleman Ave., San Jose, CA 95110


Designed for children ages 5-12.


Class dues are $15 per student per class for Friends of GRPC ($50/year donation) or $20 per student per class for non-members.

Other Important Information

The same lesson is taught each day of the week; lessons change on a weekly basis.



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.


Registration is now open for

May “Maker May” Classes!



Monday students whose class is cancelled due to a holiday can choose to attend a Thursday or Friday class to complete the series. Please email with your student’s name and date substitution choice. 

May Classes


Bountiful  Bears
Dates Offered:

Monday, May 1

Thursday, May 4

Friday, May 5

Class Description:

Every ecosystem has a top predator keeping the food chain in check, but nothing quite does it like bears! Join us at the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens to walk in the footsteps of these giant creatures and understand how they make their ecosystem healthy. Learn about how polar bears make their ecosystem healthy, while creating snow! Go through the process of hibernation through the eyes of a black bear in A Fat Bear is a Healthy Bear! Practice foraging techniques of a bear by tracking food throughout our park.    

Topics We Will Cover:

Biology, Mammalogy, Ecology, Chemistry

Socially Acceptable
Dates Offered:

Monday, May 8

Thursday, May 11

Friday, May 12

Class Description:

Social animals have been amazing architects from creating amazing cathedrals out of mud to massive nests that consume the whole tree. At the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens explore the lives of the most family-oriented creatures in the animal kingdom. Learn teamwork from a family spider monkeys and how they keep their families safe from predators. Work as a hyena pack by hunting for food and discover how they keep the Earth clean. Get into the mind of cathedral termites by making a paper Mache termite mound.       

Topics We Will Cover:

Biology, Mammalogy, Ecology, Socialization  

 Healthy Helpers
Dates Offered:

Monday, May 15

Thursday, May 18

Friday, May 19

Class Description:

The animals that make our planet healthier are called keystone species and without these animals our planet would fall apart. Come to the Guadalupe Park and Gardens and discover the balance that tiger sharks create in the ocean in our shark sensory bin. March through Africa’s grasslands as African elephants in Elephant Feet and learn how they preserve their habitat. Create your own Coral reef and explore how coral reefs protect the shoreline from tropical storms. Journey through our Orchard and learn about how Fig trees provide special habitat for many different species in the tropical rainforests.   

Topics We Will Cover:

Biology, Keystone Species, Ecology, Preservation

 Human Architects
Dates Offered:

Monday, May 22

Thursday, May 25

Friday, May 26

Class Description:

From the beginning of time people tinkered around with their environment to make something else. Examine the steps of our ancestors took as they made important tools at the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. Keep time the way our ancestors did before watches and create your own sundial. Follow the evolution of hunting techniques that our ancestors used and practice the most basic snare trap. Travel further in time and create your own world with materials set before you. Take a walk around the park to discover where our creations go when they are unwanted and collect data on the unwanted items found.

Topics We Will Cover:

History, Technology, Architecture, Biology

Membership Pricing and Opportunities

OESP classes are offered to members at a discounted rate of $15/class and are $20/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


Homeschool Programs Sign-up Form

Sign Up Today! To add more than one class, fill out the form below for the first class and click “Sign Up.” You will be taken to the cart page, where you can click “Continue Shopping” to come back here and add more classes. You can also sign up for the whole series!

Please indicate the number of students and select the class(es) you’d like them to attend. Response required.
Please write the names and ages of attendees. Response 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 the officers, employees, volunteers and agents should any accident occur requiring medical care above-named person(s). I give full consent to the providing of such care by a licensed physician. Further, I hereby grant full permission for 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. Response required.
I am aware that this is a drop-off program. Response required.
Which session are you signing up for? Response required.
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


Cancellation & Refund Policy

GRPC cancellation policies are based on our investment in staff, course planning, as well as materials and equipment purchases before your course. We cannot recover our expenses if you cancel. Short-notice cancellations often prevent others from attending. Nevertheless, we understand that the needs of families may change during the year.


Program Refunds: All refunds and changes are subject to a $5 processing fee per program. There are no refunds, credits, cancellations, or changes less than two weeks prior to the start of the program. A full refund will be given for any program cancelled by GRPC. No refunds will be issued once a program begins.

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