Unlike the traditional museum setting, the Naturalist Workshop encourages the touching of specimen.  How much does a sugar pine cone weigh?  Can you fit together a cow humerus and pelvis?  How many kinds of minerals can you see in one rock?  Tables laden with fur, rock, bones, plants, insects, a balance, magnifying glasses, and more provide opportunities for all ages to get in touch with items straight from nature.   Additionally, there are field guides and a sightings board for any living organisms you might encounter as you explore the Austin Nature & Science Center.

Virtual Trade Counter

Register at Eventbrite.

Live Virtual Zoom Trading Sessions

Wednesday - Friday at 1pm and 3pm | Saturday at 2pm.

How it Works

Find or make a cool item from nature!  Items accepted include: rocks, minerals, fossils, shells, bones, insects, insect parts, plant parts, nature art, drawings, photos taken, nature journal entries, etc.  Items not accepted include: anything from birds, anything collected from a preserve or area where collecting is not allowed, human artifacts such as arrowheads, intentionally killed animals, or whole plants.  

Register for a Zoom Virtual Trading Session for your selected time.  After you register on Eventbrite, you will receive a link to the Zoom page to log in at your time.  Register on Eventbrite.

Share your nature item with our virtual traders at your trade time on Zoom.  We will record your name, birthdate, and how many points you receive for your item and keep it for when we re-open the Trade Counter.  

Visit the Trade Counter at the Austin Nature & Science Center when we re-open and select items from our cool nature items "to buy" with the points you earned!

Virtual Trade Counter 3-6 Year Olds

Registration begins Friday, September 18th at 10 am on Eventbrite.

Join us beginning in October for our Nature Show & Tell!

Show and Tell is a Trade Counter experience designed for 3-6 year-olds that take place Tuesdays from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. Austin Nature and Science Center Naturalists Kristi, Sharon, and Emily will be available for you to share your interesting nature finds and help you learn more about them.

Items for trading can include rocks, bones, seeds, nature photographs and drawings, and much more! Limit 2 items per trade experience.

In return for sharing your natural objects and knowledge, our Naturalists will reward you with points to spend at our Naturalist Workshop when ANSC reopens. 

Trade Counter

If you find yourself regularly discovering loose fossils, shells, rocks, or insect boxes clattering about in your washing machine, you or your loved one may be a naturalist.  The Trade Counter is where naturalists of all ages are welcome to sit down and share their discoveries with our volunteer Trade Counter staff and fellow nature enthusiasts.  One can bring nature items, science reports, or scientific illustrations and art in exchange for points, which may then be used to buy a host of other things—rocks and minerals, shark teeth, insect collections, bones, shells, etc.  For a list of what is accepted for trade at the Trade Counter please refer to the Trade Counter brochure or call 512-974-3888.  Points may also be earned by reporting a nature sighting from the ANSC grounds, entries on iNaturalist (see following section) or for accomplishing the monthly puzzle (questions relating to one or more specimens, rotating monthly). 

The Naturalist Workshop's Trade Counter is staffed to accommodate trades Wednesday through Friday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

This is a program that exists, in part, through volunteer effort.  If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our Volunteer With ANSC page.


Exploring the Naturalist Workshop at ANSC

iNaturalist is a citizen science project and online social network of naturalists, biologists and citizen scientists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. The Austin Nature & Science Center's iNaturalist account is a place where our visitors, program participants and staff can share their observations of plants, animals, fungi, insects and more found on the ANSC's grounds and the adjoining Zilker Preserve.  Entries can be shown to Trade Counter volunteers for points.