Summer 2018 (Ages 4 to teens)

You are the premiere outdoor education experience for children in the greater Newburyport area. Merrohawke is hands-down the best summer experience you can give your child. Kate and Rob Yeomans (along with their team of creative field leaders and staff) give children a real front row seat to the magic of the Merrimack and the ocean beyond. My kids love everything.

As the home of BOAT CAMP, summer programs are at the heart of Merrohawke Nature School and perhaps what we are best known for. We welcome our youngest friends, starting at age 4, to journey through their childhood with us each summer and deepen their sense of place along our beautiful coastal landscape and home waters of the Merrimack River and Ipswich Bay.

Programs are offered at every age level to suit those who love land and sea, those who love to venture far out to sea... and those who prefer to keep their feet ashore. We pride ourselves on offering the most unique programs in our community, with exceptionally low staff to student ratios and exceptionally high levels of staff qualifications, training, intention and planning that goes into every day.

All programs are led by at least two college-educated adult staff, two junior staff who have at least 5+ years of experience at Merrohawke, and volunteer teen apprentices. All lead staff and many support staff hold certifications in Wilderness First Aid Afloat and CPR, and all participate in several hours of staff training annually.

We welcome your family and we invite you to get to know us. Please don't hesitate to ask us any questions along the way. See you this summer!

"My children feel right at home and so comfortable with your staff. They are friendly, create opportunities to teach, engage the children by asking thoughtful questions and are appropriately firm in situations that children need guidance in listening/behavior etc. As a parent, I trust Merrohawke with my children.

Dragonflies ~ Ages 4-6

Dragonflies by nature are busy, curious creatures. They dart around the forest investigating all the nooks and crannies of the natural world. They might be found resting on a log, and then all of a sudden, they zip away to checking out the sights, sounds, smells of the forest!  In this spirit, we have named our 4-6 year old summer program to be reflective of this active creature. Your child will be exploring, discovering, tuning their senses and playing outside. The children will learn how to use their deer ears, owl eyes, raccoon touch, dog nose and fox walk as we move through the forest together.

The Dragonflies program follows in line with our school-year Forest Kindergarten in approach, philosophy and curriculum. We invite you to learn more here!

2018 Dates & Times
June 25 - 29 (Open)
July 9-13 WAITLIST
July 30 - August 3 WAITLIST
August 6-10 WAITLIST

Location: Jennie Lagoulis Reservation at Four Rock, 82 Boston Rd., Newbury
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
 $240 ($125 deposit with equal installments payable through May)
(Scholarship assistance available)
Class size: Class is limited to 15.
Instructors: Class is limited to 15 students with at least two adult staff. The staff to child ratio is typically one adult to four children.

Song Sparrows ~ Ages 4-6

Song Sparrows are naturally found along the marshes and open fields, flitting about according to their fancy. We even have a few nesting near the boathouse roof! Much the same way, we'll spend our mornings exploring along the banks of the Merrimack River, with an eye on the river and our feet on the ground. This program is meant to cultivate curiosity and imagination in your child. Each morning, we’ll seek out the plants, animals, birds, fish, trees and insects who call this river home, and we’ll learn what each of them needs to survive and thrive along its edge.

This program makes excellent use of several riverside locations, including Waterfront Park, Cashman Park and the Clipper City Rail Trail. On Friday, this program will culminate with a harbor tour of the Merrimack River aboard the Yankee Clipper. You are welcome and encouraged to attend this special boat ride with your child at no additional cost. 

Song Sparrows
2018 Dates & Times

July 2 - 6 (No program on 7/4) Fee $192 (Open)
July 16 - 20 WAITLIST
July 23 - 27 WAITLIST
August 13 - 17WAITLIST

Location: Newburyport waterfront, 54R Merrimac St.
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Cost: $240 ($125 deposit with equal installments payable through May)
(Scholarship assistance available.)
Class size: Class is limited to 15 students with at least two adult staff. The staff to child ratio is typically one adult to four children.

So much communication! Between the emails the week before, during the week, Facebook page, hand outs and email recapping the week, it was great! It's also really nice info to be able to share with grandparents.

Red Fox ~ Ages 7-9

The Red fox is a playful, curious creature that is always off on an adventure. Whether it is looking for the next meal, finding a cozy den, or just playing with other foxes, they sneak around forest looking for ways to utilize natural resources.  We have named this summer program to be reflective of this active creature.

Red Fox week include full days of nature awareness games, songs, wildcrafting, whittling, and exploring as we build our naturalist skills. We utilize the forest's resources to build fairy houses, forts, and shelters, coal burn or carve spoons or bowls, and learn primitive friction fire skills for a lunch each day cooked over an open fire. We also scout the whole 30 acres of Four Rock to develop our tracking and birding skills.

Red Fox 

Dates & Availability 
July 16 - 20
July 23 - 27
August 13 - 17

Location: Jennie Lagoulis Reservation at Four Rock
82 Boston Rd. Newbury
 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $399 ($125 deposit with equal installments 
payable through May.)
Class size: Class is limited to 18. There is always at least 4 staff
for a staff: student ratio of 1:5.

Green Crabs ~ Ages 7 - 9

Green Crabs prowl the rocky beach and shoreline tidal flats, are fast to move and happy to cruise with friends. In this spirit, we have named this all-day program for youth ages 7 to 9, the very best age at which to seek out these crabs with an adventurous heart.  

Like the crabs, we'll invade all pockets of the Merrimack River shoreline this week. This full day program is an ideal introduction to boat-based programs on the Merrimack River, as it's designed to immerse your child in the richness and diversity of our local maritime heritage. We’ll head out onto the river aboard the Yankee Clipper, we'll hike along Joppa, and we'll row by the shoreline of Maudslay State Park to explore the natural habitats and cultural landmarks that make the Merrimack unique. Each week will include time for boat travel, shoreline exploration and cultural investigation. 

Green Crabs
Dates & Availability
June 25 - 29
July 2 - 6 (No program on 7/4) $359 Pro-rated fee
July 9 - 13
July 30 - August 3 (Only 4 Spots Left)
August 6 - 10

Departs Newburyport waterfront, 
54R Merrimac St., Newburyport
and other field sites throughout the week.
Time:  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $449 ($125 deposit with equal installments
payable through May.)
Class size: Class is limited to 24. There is a staff:student
ratio of at least 1:6.

The Green Crabs staff was really phenomenal!  I thought they were excellent role models for the kids, and their kindness and energy was contagious.  They were so engaged and genuinely seemed to love what they were doing.  They were fantastic! 

Ospreys ~ Ages 9-12+

Ospreys have returned to the Merrimack and thrive on the marine life found beneath the water surface. These amazing birds understand the interconnectedness of land and sea as their life depends on it. In this spirit, our Ospreys program enjoys the best of what we offer, ashore and afloat. Each day we’ll set out in search of new worlds, and return home with new tales of the places we have been and the things we have seen.

Each week typically looks like this: 

  • Monday: Fishing! At sea, we'll pursue whatever is in season and in the captain's opinion could be the most successful species for the day. Could be mackerel, flounder, bass, blues, or deep-sea species.
  • Tuesday: Islands! We'll visit historic Star Island at the Isles of Shoals
  • Wednesday: Beach! Aboard the Yankee Clipper, we'll explore the lower Merrimack River Estuary with a visit to Black Rock creek and the nearby Salisbury salt marsh.
  • Thursday: River Day! We'll row along the river's edge of Maudslay State Park for a picnic and leisurely afternoon.
  • Friday: Forest Day! We'll conclude our exploration of the coastal ecosystem by exploring the forest and fields of New Harmony Farm, an organic farm in Newbury.

2018 Dates & Availability
July 16 - 20
August 13 - 17

Location: Varies. This program is a great sampler, at an easy and curious pace, of the very best of Merrohawke's summer programs. 
It's one of our most favorite!

     Mon. & Tues.: Depart Plum Island Point, 10 82nd St.
     Wed. & Thurs.: Depart Newburyport waterfront, 54R Merrimac St.
     Friday: New Harmony Farm, 186 High Road, Newbury

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $469 ($125 deposit with equal installments 
payable through May.) (Scholarship assistance available.)
Class size: Class is limited to 24. The adult to student ratio is no more than 1:6.

Earth Skills ~ Ages 10-12+

This program is designed for the adventurous spirit who is at home--or would like to be--in the woods and wilderness. Among the many experiences built into the week are a variety of opportunities to build self-confidence and nurture growing independence. Earth Skills students (Levels I and II) will learn navigation, fire by friction, naturalist skills, primitive living skills, wildcrafting, local botany, tracking, bird language as a nature awareness tool.. and more. The week will culminate in an overnight experience, where we will practice all that we have learned together during the week.

Earth Skills I ~ (Includes 1 Overnight)
July 30 - August 3

Earth Skills I Time:  
Monday through Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday overnight: 9 a.m. Thursday to Friday morning closing circle at 9 a.m.  (Includes meal on Thursday evening and Friday morning.)

Cost: $599 ($125 deposit followed by equal installments 
through May. Scholarship assistance available.)


Earth Skills II ~ (Includes 2 Overnights)
August 6 - 10

Earth Skills II Time:  
Monday and Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday & Thursday overnight: 9 a.m. Wednesday to Friday morning closing circle at 9 a.m. (Includes meals from Wednesday evening through Friday morning.)

Cost: $639 ($125 deposit followed by equal installments 
through May. Scholarship assistance available.)

Location: Four Rock field site, 82 Boston Rd., Newbury
Class size: Class is limited to 18. Staff to student ratio is 
always at least 1:5.

Captain Rob and his crew were fantastic! Very knowledgeable and diligent in regards to the safety of the children. My son learned so much from the hands on experience and is looking forward to returning again next year!

BOAT CAMP with Capt. Rob ~ Ages 9-14

Our week long BOAT CAMP program aboard the F/V Erica Lee seeks to inspire nature connection through a maritime lens. We'll explore the maritime heritage and coastal ecology of the Gulf of Maine each day, and carefully plan our days according to constantly observed weather, tide and sea conditions. Above all else, we focus on keeping kids warm (or cool!), safe and happy. We utilize both the Erica Lee and field sites ashore to make the best of New England's changeable weather in order for kids to experience a fun, positive boat-based summer program. We do not go--or stay--at sea when the weather turns against us. When Mother Nature offers up something unexpected--a pod of dolphins frolicking across our path, feeding gannets, hungry bluefish and mackerel, increasing winds, calming seas--we often change plans to make for the best experience possible. No two days on the water are ever the same and every day is different, no matter how many years youth have attended.

At some point during the week, we intend to haul lobster traps, tow an otter trawl to collect and examine sea life on the ocean bottom, fish for a variety of sustainable species using a variety of traditional New England methods, explore the Isles of Shoals, tidepools and beaches, sing sea chanteys, play an instrument, tell stories and cool off at the beach. Field naturalist conversations include relevant, age-appropriate topics in marine biology, coastal ecology, oceanography, ocean conservation, maritime history,  navigation and knot-tying. 

Capt. Rob Yeomans, co-founder of Merrohawke, formerly taught sciences at Newburyport High School and now teaches science at High Mowing School. He christened the newly built Erica Lee when he was eight years old, and has since spent decades taking children out on the water and into the wilderness. The structure of our days and evolution of our activities is founded on an educational platform that respects and understands a variety of learning styles. No prior boating experience is expected or required.

BOAT CAMP with Capt. Rob aboard the F/V Erica Lee
2018 Dates & Availability 

June 25 - 29
July 2 - 6 (No Program on 7/4) $435 Pro-rated fee
July 9 - 13 - WAITLIST
July 16 - 20 (Teens aged 12+ Only)
July 23 - 27 (Isles of Shoals Overnight with Teens) (4 spots left)
July 30 - Aug. 3 - WAITLIST 
August 6 - 10 WAITLIST
August 13 - 17

Time:  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $539 ($125 deposit followed by monthly installments through May. Scholarships available.)
Location: Departs Newburyport waterfront, 56R Merrimac St.
Class size: Class is limited to 24. In addition, there will be at least four staff, for a staff to child ratio of no more than 1:6, typically closer to 1:4.

Teen Overnight at Isles of Shoals with Capt. Rob & crew 

Imagine sleeping under stars, listening to the gulls beckon before dawn, watching thunderstorms approach from the mainland and swoosh overheard, fireside songs by the rising tide, full moon night hike, and soaking in some rich and salty history as we swap pirate and ghostly tales of these historic islands. With a small group of teens we have come to know through the years, we'll camp overnight in tents on Star Island and visit the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore.

Teens aged 12+ to 16 -- who have attended at least one Merrohawke program -- are invited to join us July 23 - 27, 2018. (4 spots left)

  • Monday & Tuesday aboard the Erica Lee: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday depart Newburyport at 9 a.m. 
  • Overnight in tents on Star Island: Wednesday & Thursday night.
  • Visit Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore on Thursday.
  • Return to Newburyport at noon on Friday.

Includes all meals Wednesday evening through Friday morning. Program fee: $889. ($125 deposit followed by equal installments through May.) (Scholarships available.)

Tidepooling with Shoals Marine Lab, Appledore Island.Home, sweet home, on Star Island.

New! Coyote Overnight ~ Ages 12+

We are super excited to bring the seeds of Mark Morey’s legendary “Coyote Camp” to Merrohawke. In nature, there is no better place to discover what you are made of. What’s at the edge of your comfort zone? What are you passionate about? What are your gifts? What’s your capacity to support the needs of others? How can you transform knowledge and experience into real wisdom that will serve you for the rest of your life?

Facilitated by our friend Mark Morey and guest mentors from across thr US & UK, this transformational teen program will build confidence, creativity, compassion and grit in a beautiful, forested village for seven days and seven nights. June 23 to 30, 2018 ~ $1,199


 Learn more here

Apprentices ~ Ages 14 - 16

This program is intended to shape a young adolescent into a confident teen by building life skills that will benefit any future professional pursuit, including the skills desired for employment at Merrohawke or elsewhere. 

Over time, teens will learn skills like knot tying, fire by friction from a bow drill, leading songs and games, nature connection through journaling the biology of local organisms, and education skills with younger children. 

Teens will participate in the week-long Coyote Overnight followed by 2-3 weeks of volunteer service in Merrohawke summer programs so as to build capacity in leadership, confidence and serving others. 

 Learn more here