Rochester Ecology Partners is collaborating with the Rochester City School District to provide one thousand students with nature-based learning experiences this summer. This innovative partnership will provide students an opportunity to engage with the world around them in ways that lead to improved wellness and academic success.

The Roc Explorers summer learning program will include one week of nature-based learning in the classroom, schoolyard, and field for every student in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Rochester Ecology Partners will support the implementation of nature-based learning with curriculum and nature-based learning educators. This includes a full day in Ellison Park learning about the different natural communities and our connection to them. Our team of fourteen staff members is ready to create a memorable experience for students and teachers alike!

Rochester Ecology Partners looks forward to having students experience the benefits of nature-based learning with our support. Research and experience have demonstrated the power of this approach. Time in nature leads to better academic performance, enhanced attention, increased engagement, and improved behavior. There are health benefits as well. Time spent learning in nature leads to improved relationship skills, reduced stress, and improved mental health. During the 2022-23 school year our work with RCSD students reflected this. One hundred percent of teachers surveyed indicated that nature-based learning had a positive impact on students.

This program is also an opportunity to highlight the importance of partnerships in creating a high-quality education for all students in the RCSD. Rochester Ecology Partners is one of several partners the school district has contracted with to create an “immersive program [that] will have students exploring the natural world and delving into local history through exciting and engaging field studies in the community.” In our efforts to offer nature-based learning REP has enlisted the support of our own community partners including the Monroe County Parks Department and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

We are still looking for partners to support this program. If you would like to contribute we need the following help: 

  • Cut flower stems. Every student will study flowers and pollinators and we need your help making that happen. Reach out if you have some in your garden you would like to contribute. / 585-563-9604
  • Copies of the books “We are Water Protectors” and “Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More!” for each classroom. If you would like to send us a copy or more please email or call / 585-563-9604
  • Cash donations. We need help getting up and running with this program, any amount is appreciated. Visit our website to Donate.

Learn more about our plans for the summer: Summer Discovery with the RCSD

For more information please contact Chris Widmaier, Executive Director at 585-563-9604 or

About Rochester Ecology Partners

Rochester Ecology Partners serves people in Greater Rochester through nature-based learning and activities that cultivate community connectedness. We believe that by employing integrated and innovative approaches to helping people find nature where they live, work, and play, we can improve our community’s capacity to co-create a hopeful future. Our nature-based learning in schools program provides a variety of services to facilitate the integration of nature-based learning across all grade levels. 

Visit our website:

About Rochester City School District Roc Explorers

The Rochester City School District Roc Explorers program is designed to enhance learning and encourage creativity with daily enrichment activities, including creative writing and kinesthetic math programs that will keep students excited and engaged.

At Roc Explorers, we believe in hands-on learning that encourages curiosity and exploration, which is why our interdisciplinary learning expeditions are the perfect opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a world of discovery and adventure. Join us this summer and unlock your full potential as a learner and explorer!

Read More: