Youth Naturalist Program

Students in grades 6-8 who are looking for a great outdoor adventure this summer are invited to participate in the Youth Naturalist Program! During the Youth Naturalist Program, students spend time actively exploring natural areas along the Platte River in Hamilton County and nearby. Through time spent hiking in the prairie, sampling aquatic life in the river, photographing out in nature or observing and learning about wildlife, students develop an appreciation for where they live and a care and respect for wild places. This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about Nebraska ecosystems and participate in outdoor recreation activities such as kayaking and hiking. Students also have the opportunity to interact with professionals with careers in science, natural resources, conservation and habitat/wildlife management. 

How Do I Participate in the Youth Naturalist Program?

To apply, download and complete the student application found below and mail to the address listed on the application form or apply online below. The registration fee for YNP is $165.00. Financial assistance is available to students that qualify. Scholarships will help cover the registration fee for the program.


Any student presently in grades 6-8 is eligible for the Youth Naturalist Program. You will need to apply to be a part of the program. We will accept up to 20 students. In most cases we accept all students who apply, however if there are more applicants than we have space for in the program, we will select students based on their expressed interest in participating in the program.


June 17-20, 2024 (Application deadline: May 3, 2024)


Some of the amazing sites we will visit include, Gjerloff Prairie, Sherman Ranch and Bader Memorial Park. Students will be bused to field sites and will meet in the band parking lot located east of Aurora High School to load and unload the bus. 

View details for YNP 2024

Register online for YNP

Download and print the YNP Application

Download and print the YNP Scholarship Application

2023 YNP Photos on Facebook