Forest Explorers

Outdoor Education

Forest Explorers offers all outdoor after-school and homeschool classes and camps for children ages 7-11 in Takoma Park, MD.

The Forest Explorers program focuses on what's happening around us in nature as the seasons change. We explore basic elements of science through investigations sparked by the children's own observations, questions and interests. We also dedicate time to move, PLAY and be creative outside. Classes may include games, storytelling, mindfulness, journalling, drama, art, building and wilderness skills. Come ready to explore in all weather!

Forest Explorers follows all CDC guidelines for mitigating the spread of Covid-19. Masks are now optional in after-school classes. Vaccination is required.

Check out photos from our inaugural year of

fun and learning!

About Forest Explorers Director, Shannon Earle

Shannon has an MS in Natural Resources and Environment with a focus on Environmental Education (EE). She's been developing and teaching EE programs for over 25 years. Before starting Forest Explorers, she taught the Forest Kindergarten class outdoors year-round at the Audubon Nature Preschool. Her experience also includes eight years managing an education and training program for Conservation International, three years creating an EE program for the Monte Alto Forest Reserve in Costa Rica and a season as a park ranger in Canyonlands NP in Utah. She is also a children's author. Shannon loves any kind of adventure, camping, gardening, foraging, and storytelling.

About Forest Explorers Teacher Scott Abernethy

Scott Abernethy has an MFA in Acting and brings new energy and ideas to the dramatic play elements of the program, in addition to outdoor skills and a tremendous sense of adventure and fun. Scott has been a Teaching Artist in the greater DMV for 5 years, and Seattle before that. He is the current Director of the Shakespeare in Schools program for the Educational Theatre Company, and a resident teacher at Ford’s Theatre. He brings his arts background into every classroom, and focuses on creating brave spaces for collaborative learning. In his free time Scott is an outdoor hobbyist, who enjoys backpacking, boating, and fishing.

Forest Explorers is hiring for our August camp and for after-school classes next year! Please read through our job description and send inquiries to

Upcoming Classes:

After-School Explorers:

Spring Session 1: February 28-April 7

Spring Session 2: April 19-June 2

Mondays - Thursdays 4:00pm–6:00pm

Families can choose a M/W or T/Th class or both

Price varies by class, but averages $30/class, with a discount for two days/week

Home-School Explorers

March 7-May 23, 2022

Mondays and/or Wednesdays 10:00-12:00

Forest Explorers Day Camps

Early Release Friday April 1: 1:30-5:00 ($60)

Teacher Workday Monday May 2: 10:00-4:00 ($100)

Registration is per session.

A limited number of one-day/week spots may be available.

Spring Explorers is full. Look for details about Fall 2022 in August!

New This Year - Summer Camps!

Forest Explorers is offering two summer day camps in 2022, the week after school lets out (June 20-24) and the week before school starts (August 22-26). Join us for nature education and wilderness skills activities along with time to explore, build and play in the woods. Camps will run from 9-4 and are open for ages 6-11. Camps are full, so please email me to be added to a waiting pool.

Phone: 301-760-4884


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Parents are saying:

"Keep doing what you are doing. It has been amazing. Love the combo of Den days and exploring. Also like the blend of free play and environmental education lessons. She has learned so much being out there with you and has had a wonderful time doing it all. Thank you!"

"We are so grateful for this program. (Child) loves it so much and looks forward to it every week. She wants to talk about and practice what she’s learned. Thank you!"

"Thank you for continuing this wonderful program, Shannon!! (Child) is learning and growing so much because of Forest Explorers!"

"This program has been so incredible for our boys, thank you!"

"This program is the best!"

"Shannon, you are a magical teacher!"