"If you wish your children to think deep thoughts, to know the holiest of emotions, take them to the woods and hills, and give them the freedom of the meadow; the hills purify those who walk upon them"

-- Lucille Clifton


 Woodson Branch Nature School 
14555 US Hwy 25/70 
Marshall, NC 28753 



To nurture the whole person by cultivating the ART of living 
through experiential learning modalities that promotes an ethic of personal, social, and environmental stewardship.


We believe that experiences in nature affect participants far greater than the specific programming such that the peripheral experiential learning is deep, significant and truly transformative.

We believe in the practice and promotion of sustainability in all aspects of society.

We believe that practical lessons in nature enhance and reinforce theoretical learning in schools.

We believe that hands-on learning in nature builds confidence, self-awareness, and individual and collective responsibility which leads to the sustainable stewardship of our world.

We believe that farm-based, arts oriented education is among the most effective and promising forms of environmental, experiential education because of the innate ability in all people to connect with nature.

We believe that farm-based, arts oriented experiences promote life values by relating to the social, moral, cognitive, and emotional aspects of the human experience.

We believe that there is real pedagogical value to learning while working on a product or process that will have lasting value beyond the task at hand.

We believe that farm-based, arts oriented education promotes respect for nature, manual work, individuals, and community.

We believe that the raising of food is fundamental to our society and that all people should know about agriculture and where their food comes from.

We believe that the natural rhythms and cycles seen and experienced in nature leads to a deeper and accessible understanding of the world.


  • To provide an innovative and seamless early childhood education and beyond utilizing a whole-person approach in the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina ​​

  • To provide a safe, healthy, and dependable environment where children can develop a sense of trust and well being

  • To provide a stimulating, inspirational environment where children can have hands-on experiences in order to learn by doing

  • To promote each child's physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development through participation in group activities

  • To consistently encourage and promote parent/guardian, and community input and participation

  • To promote staff evaluation, on-going education and training

  • To be a sustainable, effective, and highly valued, professional organization that exhibits, expresses, and administratively supports the vision, goals, and values of our organization.

  • To provide activities that will inspire further curiosity in a variety of subjects

  • To provide a variety of  materials and activities to strengthen and satisfy old interests as well as develop new ones

  • To encourage children’s growth and development of curiosity, creativity, self-discipline, confidence, and self-esteem

  • To ensure on-going high-quality education by continuously evaluating the program's operations

  • To be involved in community activities and take advantage of community resources and visitors

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

--John Muir


We know these are not ours, but we really like them!

Love of Nature

We value the diversity and resilience of nature and treasure its beauty. Nature sustains and renews us, provides unexpected moments of joy, and inspires our daily work.

People & Community

We care deeply about our colleagues, our partners, our members, and the communities in which we work. We learn from their experience, expertise, and beliefs, and together we build conservation communities that welcome and respect all people.


We bring expertise, sound science, long-term thinking, and community knowledge to solving pressing and important environmental challenges. Our personal and organizational integrity serves as a foundation for our work.

Passion & Commitment

We are committed to nature and to people. We share our passion with others to connect people with nature and to inspire everyone to be stewards of the environment.

Inspiring Action

We believe that every person can make a positive difference. Through education, personal discovery, and transformational experiences, we foster a conservation ethic in current and future generations.


We work together to embrace opportunities and challenges in an ever-changing world. We encourage creativity, innovation, and action while respecting individual points of view.

"Children are born naturalists. They explore the world with all of their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them."

--The Audubon Nature Preschool

 © Hot Springs Community Preschool | All Rights Reserved

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