About Us



We acknowledge that we inhabit colonized land now known as Delray Beach in Palm Beach County, the ancestral home of the Jeaga and Taquesta peoples, and that Cocoplum Nature School has been established in part through appropriated traditions and practices of indigenous peoples of North America. We humbly offer our solidarity with historically minoritized groups of people to dismantle power imbalances and promote social justice in our local community and beyond. We acknowledge the privilege we have exercised to attain and use knowledge of ecological and environmental sciences, and we pledge to continue our learning journeys.


Several years in the making, Cocoplum Nature School was Founded in 2020 by two Delray Beach mothers, educators, and environmental stewards, Fernanda and Melanie. The two coincidentally crossed paths many times at the library and local community gardens when their first children were babies. They later learned that they were neighbors and shared much more in common than a love of nature. After much dreaming and talking, 2020 felt to be as good a time as any to make their vision a reality. In everything they do, Melanie and Fernanda's purpose is to provide for all Cocoplum students the education they have been dreaming about for their own children. 


Cocoplum Nature School is an inclusive educational program built at the intersection of environmental responsibility, equity, and justice that incorporates the evidence-based practices of nature-based and place-based education in an outdoor school setting. Our highly skilled educators apply social and experiential learning theories to create conditions for children to discover their interests and hone their skills through student-led inquiry, field trips, teachable moments, research projects, and book clubs. At Cocoplum, we believe in the power of connecting with nature and the importance of environmental stewardship. We believe positive relationships with our families and friends in a diverse community are central to meaningful learning. And we believe education should be an exciting and inspiring quest for knowledge and connection. Cocoplum aims to be eco-conscious in everything we do by avoiding single-use plastics, nurturing native plant species, and repurposing salvaged materials. 


Our 2022-2023 school year programming will include Cocoplum Nature Play for children ages 4-5, Cocoplum Nature School for grades K-3, and aftercare. Click here to apply for the 2022-2023 school year.


Cocoplum Nature School is proud to be an organizational member of the Eastern Regional Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS), the Natural Start Alliance (NSA), the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), and the League of Environmental Educators in Florida. Through these networks, Cocoplum faculty and staff stay connected with latest nature school and environmental education research and methods, and they have access to professional development and certification programs.



The environment and our community are our main classrooms! Our home campus is the educational wing of the iconic Cason United Methodist Church at 342 North Swinton Avenue near downtown Delray Beach. The school's cozy indoor classrooms each have doors leading directly to our outdoor space where mature native trees including Live Oak and Sea Grape provide a diverse shade canopy. The school is within walking distance to the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, the Cornell Museum of Art, Cason Cottage, the Swinton Community Garden, and the Delray Beach Public Library. In the heart of Delray Beach near so many cultural, civic, and arts centers, is an ideal setting for place-based learning. 



We hold our employees and volunteers to the highest standards, and our topmost priority is the protection and safety of the children in our care. To learn more about our Standards of Ethics, click here. 


Cocoplum is a 501(c)3 non-profit and we depend upon the support of our generous donors and local partners. To make an investment for the education of our young leaders, activists, and environmental stewards, visit the Support Us page. For information about tuition and financial assistance, please visit the Admissions page. To learn more about our local partners, visit the Partners page. 

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