Central Virginia


The Charlottesville-Central programs are currently conducted in the following locales:

  • Albemarle County
  • Fluvanna County
  • Louisa County
  • Nelson County
  • Charlottesville City
  • Waynesboro City

To find out more information or to request a program, email Janelle Catlett, janelle.catlett@vmnh.virginia.gov or call VMNH at (276) 634-4185.

Children & Youth Program Listings

The Five Senses and Creatures of the Night
Animals adapt to living in the dark by using sight, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. Mammals, birds and reptiles serve as examples. Illustrative materials: mounted specimens, animal replications, pictures and animal toys. 
Science SOLs: K.2, 1.7, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5

Rocks and Minerals as Natural Resources and Natural Splendors
Rocks and minerals are valuable natural resources. They are part of our everyday lives and must be used wisely. They serve as tools, "history books", and familiar items found in our homes, schools and communities. They are also gorgeous, with great variety in color, shape and luster. Illustrative materials: a variety of rock and mineral specimens that children will examine.
Science SOLs:  1.8, 2.2, 4.8, 5.7
Social Science SOLs: 1.9, 1.11, 2.6

Examining Owl Pellets
What do owl pellets tell us about the way an ecosystem functions and the interdependence of living organisms? Why and how do owls make pellets? Children examine the contents of a barn owl pellet and arrange the bones in a skeleton. In the process they discover how similar small rodent skeletons are to human skeletons. Illustrative materials: owl pellets, posters, mounted specimen, dissecting materials.
Science SOLs: 3.5, 4.5, 4.8, 5.5, 6.8, 6.9

Let’s Make a Fossil!
Students will explore what makes a fossil a fossil, make observations to determine what we can learn from fossils, and explore the processes of how fossils form. Students will even make a fossil of their very own to keep! This program requires an additional fee of $2 per student.
Science SOL: 2.5; 5.7; ES.9; BIO.6; BIO.7

SPECIAL PROGRAM: The Monacans & Local Native Americans
Learn about the local Monacans and the relationship between the natural environment and their lifestyle. Examine numerous reproductions and artifacts to understand how ancient peoples met their daily needs for food, shelter, clothing and protection. Illustrative materials: map, taxidermied mount, artifacts and reproductions, pelts, and examples of weapons, foods and tools. 
Science SOLs: 1.5, 2.5, 3.6, 4.5, 4.8
Social Sciences SOLs: 1.7, 2.3, 5.1

Monarch Butterfly
The monarch butterfly is used for discussion of an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Migration maps are used. Younger students role-play the monarch's metamorphosis. Illustrative materials: beautiful slides taken by naturalist/photographers, maps, toy caterpillars and other visuals.
Science SOLs: K.6, K.8, K.9, 1.5, 1.7, 2.4, 2.7, 3.4

Adaptations for Survival in Virginia Animals
How do body forms enable animals to survive and feed themselves, defend themselves or find shelter? Includes examples of camouflage, mimicry and physical and behavioral adaptations. Illustrative materials: mounted specimens, skulls and pelts. 
Science SOLs: 1.5, 1.7, 2.7, 3.4, 4.5

Animals in Winter
What happens in the world of nature during winter months? Which creatures migrate, remain active, hibernate, become dormant or die? Illustrative materials: mounted specimens, pelts and pictures. 
Science SOLs: K.6, 1.5, 1.7, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4

The Rivanna River Food Web - A Fresh Water Ecosystem
What are some of the creatures that depend upon each other in healthy waterways in our area? Discussion includes macroinvertebrates (small animals without backbones), freshwater fish, frogs, turtles, water birds and aquatic mammals - from the bottom to the top of the food web. Illustrative materials: pictures, mounted specimens, shells, pelts and macroinvertebrates. 
Science SOLs: K.6, 1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8, 5.5

Pass the Energy, Please! Predators, Prey, and Food Webs of Virginia
Who eats what or whom? Discussion of herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, scavengers and decomposers. The energy flow from producers to consumers is demonstrated in a class food pyramid game. Illustrative materials: taxidermied specimens, skulls, pictures for game. 
Science SOLs: 3.5, 3.6, 3.10, 4.5, 6.9

Dip into Our Watershed - Know Your Watershed Address
Our waterways are one of Virginia's natural resources. All the streams that flow into a river and drain a particular area form a watershed. Do you live in the Rivanna River watershed that is part of the James River watershed and also part of the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed? Learn about watersheds, erosion, pollution and conservation. Illustrative materials: a watershed model, watershed maps and simulation of pollution. 
Science SOLs: 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 3.9, 3.10, 4.5, 4.8

Endangered Species and Animals of Virginia
Why are some living things endangered? Students discuss the finite space and water on earth, the interconnection of living things, and the risks of increasing human population on habitats of our wild creatures. Learn about habitats in each of the five physiographic parts of Virginia, their rivers, vegetation, and how they have been affected by people. Students learn about the vulnerability of wild things through games, activities and discussion. SOLs: 1.4, 1.5, 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.5

Oceans and Marine Science
Water, water, everywhere. How much can we use? The ocean is a fragile environment whose health is essential to our survival on land. How is our weather affected by the ocean temperature? Learn about endangered ocean creatures. Hold a wide variety of seashells. Play ocean trivia. SOLs 1.5, 2.5, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 4.5

Constellations and Compasses: Navigation by Day and Night
Learn about navigation through the ages and the tools used by ancient explorers on land and water. Learn how to use the stars to find your way. How do we know where we are? Learn how to use a compass and follow a map. Learn how the first maps of the Louisiana territory were made by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Compass scavenger hunt weather, space, and time permitting. SOLs: 1.6, 4.7

Virginia Resources
Virginia has a wealth of natural resources. Students will learn about important Virginia resources such as minerals, water, wildlife, and forests and their importance in our community and state.
Science SOL: 1.8, 2.8, 4.9, 6.9

The Present and Future of the Chesapeake Bay
Focus on the Ecosystem of the Bay, our nation's largest estuary. Learn about the competing uses for this resource and ways people can help improve the Bay's future. SOLs: 2.4, 2.5, 2.7, 2.8, 3.4, 3.6, 3.9, 4.5, 4.8, 5.6, 5.7, 6.2, 6.3, 6.5, 6.7, 6.9