Field School is “Nature for Grown Ups”

ONSC Field School

The Ozark Natural Science Center offers a unique, immersion-based approach to learning about nature. For more than 20 years ONSC has been providing the best in outdoor science education for elementary school students.  The ONSC Field School brings that same commitment to outdoor education to adult learners. Field School programs offer authentic learning experiences for the general public, with instruction led by local experts and our own naturalist staff.  Natural science, the arts, and Ozark cultural history are all topics for Field School courses.  Contact ONSC by phone, email or check out our website to view upcoming courses. We hope you will join us here in Bear Hollow for an ONSC Field School experience!

The Setting

Our classroom is nestled within the 500 acre Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission Bear Hollow Natural Area. The area features nearly eight miles of trails, bluff shelters, rock outcroppings, glades, trickling creeks, a historic farmhouse and cabin, and beautiful vistas. ONSC is adjacent to the approximately 15,000 acre Arkansas Game and Fish Commission McIlroy-Madison County Wildlife Management Area. Our studies often take us to this adjacent public property to study forest and aquatic ecology, and to admire waterfalls and Ozark vistas.

The Experience

The Field School courses are hosted on-site at the Ozark Natural Science Center. Courses range from single-day programs to multi-day residential experiences.  Since each course has a special focus, and every day in the forest is unique, there are no “typical programs”.  However, most courses combine brief indoor instruction with more extensive outdoor experiences – we will always go out to enjoy the trails! Overnight programs will feature nocturnal-based activities with campfire and stars included of course.  Onsite lodging in our cozy cabins is always an option with overnight Field School programs.  Meals provided by ONSC are included in many of the Field School programs. ONSC Field School courses are open to the public – no previous experience with the outdoors required!

Important Note to Teachers: Field School courses may qualify for ADoE professional development credit hours.

Field School age requirement is 21 or older ~ unless otherwise noted

Fall Field School Course Offerings for adults:

October 13-15 – Photography: Creating an Artistic Eye with Eli Vega

This highly interactive photography workshop is based on Eli’s new book, Right Brain Photography (Be an Artist First). He takes a unique spin on pho-tography by encouraging you to bring out your inner artist and to “see with your imagination, not your eyes.” He will then enhance your skills by teaching in-camera techniques, composition, scan-ning and extracting.  Includes lodging at ONSC, meals, & class supplies.

Eli Vega is a self-taught, award-winning, and highly published photographer with over 25 years of experience. He is a regular presenter and judge for camera clubs and art groups.


November 3 – Primitive Skills: Flint & Fire with ONSC’s very own Paul Rawlings as your guest instructor

Mix together equal parts geology, history, technique, and skill and you have the perfect recipe for primitive tool making. Learn first-hand how to create flint points, blades, and scrapers. Then
take your skills to the next level by using flint and steel to create fire!  Includes lunch & class supplies.  The first 10 registrants receive a Night Sky field guide!

November 17 – Owling at ONSC with guest instructors, Dr. Kim Smith and Mitchell Pruitt

Start with supper followed by a presentation about the latest research about Northern Saw-whet Owls. Guest instructors Dr. Kim Smith and Mitchell Pruitt lead this program and guide us outdoors for mist-netting, banding and data collection on this seldom seen night predator.  The first eight registrants will receive an owl field guide!

Owling Options

December 2 – Tea Kettle Falls Hike

If you are one of the many folks who have heard of Tea Kettle Falls and have wanted to hike to this landmark this is your chance. It’s over the river (creek) and through the woods as we trek to Tea Kettle Falls. On-trail and off-trail hiking and maybe a wet creek crossing or two add to the adventure.  The first eight registrants receive a field guide!

Fall Family Course Offerings:

October 6-7 – ONSC at Large: Family Camp at Mt. Sequoyah in Fayetteville

ONSC and Mount Sequoyah are teaming up to offer this “close to home staycation.” This two-day camp adventure is complete with hiking, nature study, crafts, games, a campfire, and great food!
Children must be 6 years or older.  Includes meals.


November 20 – Family Day Hike

It’s Thanksgiving break and the kids have too much energy; sounds like the perfect opportunity to go outdoors with them. We’ll hike our favorite ONSC trails, search for wild turkeys and eat lunch
in the great outdoors. That should wear them out for you.  Cost $50 per 3 guests (additional guests are $10 each).  Includes trail lunch for each participant and one $5.00 ONSC store coupon.

Family Hike Options

Fall 2017 Course Descriptions

To register, contact ONSC (479.202.8340) or for more information.