Discovering Nature’s Wonders with Maria Wheeler-Dubas: A Beacon in Penn Hills

Discovering Nature’s Wonders with Maria Wheeler-Dubas: A Beacon in Penn Hills

Penn Hills, nestled in the heart of Western Pennsylvania, is home to a true advocate of nature education—Maria Wheeler-Dubas. As the founder and primary educator of Backyard Nature, Maria has dedicated over two decades to unveiling the marvels of the natural world to children and families. Her expertise, honed through an undergraduate degree and Ph.D. in biology, spans across diverse educational landscapes, including universities, zoos, museums, and botanic gardens.


A Champion of Accessibility

Maria’s passion lies in making nature education accessible to all. Through her programs at Backyard Nature, she prioritizes affordability and inclusivity, offering pay-as-you-can pricing. Embracing a spirit of community support, those interested in fostering nature education for everyone can contribute through donations.

Embarking on Learning Adventures

Maria offers an array of Learning Adventures that captivate the curious minds of families, schools, homeschooling groups, and any nature enthusiasts. From themed guided nature walks tailored to specific interests to immersive nature writing classes, she crafts experiences that resonate with each participant’s curiosity and passion for the outdoors.

Unveiling Nature’s Tapestry

Maria’s thematic guided nature walks are an invitation to explore the mysteries of Western Pennsylvania’s diverse ecology. Whether it’s birds, mammals, plants, or even the subtle hints left behind by nature like tracks and scat, each excursion promises a personalized journey complemented by engaging take-home elements.

Crafting Stories in Nature’s Embrace

The Nature Writing Class curated by Maria serves as a gateway to weaving narratives inspired by the natural world. These classes, available virtually or in-person, introduce participants to storytelling elements, writing mechanics, and the art of research, all while fostering a deeper connection with nature.

An Eclectic Curriculum

Backyard Nature’s curriculum spans a wide spectrum, from the foundational exploration of Pennsylvania’s wildlife to in-depth studies on animal behavior, ecology, climate change, and even media literacy in research. These sessions, adaptable to different age groups and interests, promise an interactive and enriching learning experience.

Embrace the Seasonal Charms

Maria’s seasonal offerings invite participants to delve into the unique wonders each time of the year presents. From unraveling the mysteries of migratory birds during fall flights to exploring the not-so-spooky side of nocturnal creatures, each seasonal session unfolds captivating narratives of nature’s adaptations and survival strategies.

Personalized Experiences

Beyond structured programs, Maria welcomes custom experiences, be it science tutoring or planning nature-themed birthday parties. Her dedication to personalized engagements underscores her commitment to fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world.


If you’re eager to join Maria Wheeler-Dubas on an enriching journey through the wonders of nature, consider participating in her upcoming Nature Writing Class at the Steel Goat Marketplace in Penn Hills. Hosted in the Goat House, the new mini-event center, this class promises an immersive experience, allowing you to step away from screens and bask in the beauty of nature while honing your storytelling skills.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to explore, learn, and connect with nature alongside a dedicated educator like Maria Wheeler-Dubas. Support her mission, embrace the outdoors, and discover the enchanting world that surrounds us all.

To learn more about Maria’s classes and Backyard Nature, visit Steel Goat Marketplace or reach out directly to Maria for a personalized experience.