Natural Challenges

Are you ready to be fit and eco friendly?

Through the St. Croix Valley Foundation’s “Health and Wellness” grant program, Carpenter Nature Center received partial funding for a monthly outdoor, nature-based challenge program.

This series could include a GPS challenge, a bird hike, a scavenger hunt, snowshoeing and many other fun, educational, outdoor activities designed for individuals, teams and families.    

“We hope the ‘Natural Challenges Program’ instills in youth and families a sense of awe, familiarity and comfort with respect to the environment, while encouraging outdoor physical activity,” said Jen Vieth, Executive Director of Carpenter Nature Center.

Monthly participation will be acknowledged and a special award will be given for those who are able to complete ten out of the twelve programs. The prizes will include a Natural Challenges t-shirt, a free five pound bag of apples, and free admission to next year’s 2K Fun Run hosted by Carpenter Nature Center.

“We hope that the ‘Natural Challenges Program’ will encourage participants to get active outdoors through unique and fun activities that teach participants about the fascinating wonders of the natural world,” added Vieth.


Monthly Events

Natural Challenges Programs

CNC will be offering monthly activities for individuals and families where they will be encouraged to increase their fitness level, make healthy eating choices, and attend as many of the programs as possible. The year-long Natural Challenges Program will wrap up in May at the Apple Blossom Races. This series is provided with support from the St. Croix Valley Foundation. Call the CNC office at 651-437-4359 to reserve your spot. Program fee: $6.00 per person per program or $4.00 for “Friends of CNC” and children under 10.  $20.00 max per family per program unless otherwise noted.

Potential programs could include but are not limited to:

Kicksledding and Winter Pond Exploration

Celebrate winter as we explore pond life and try kicksledding on the frozen pond. Blankets will be available to bundle up the little ones in the kicksled while the older folks try their hand at sledding across the pond. Warm up afterwards with some hot chocolate by the fireplace. Dress appropriately for the weather and don’t forget to bring your camera!

Snowshoe Hike

Join a naturalist on an afternoon snowshoe hike to look for animal tracks and other clues of animal activity. Snowshoes provided or bring your own. No experience necessary.  Dress appropriately for the weather and wear warm boots. Call 651-437-4359 for reservations.  Program fee: $7.00 per person or $5.00 for “Friends of CNC”

Making Maple Syrup

Celebrate spring as we hike to the “sugarbush” to tap maple trees, witness the process of turning sap into syrup and sample the finished product.  This program will start indoors, but be prepared to hike in the spring snow and mud.

River Clean-up and Water Quality

Help protect theSt. Croix Riverby cleaning up the shoreline along the nature center’s property and conducting experiments to determine the water quality of the river.  We’ll be looking for macro invertebrates and testing for nitrates, phosphates, and dissolved oxygen. Discover what critters are living in the water and see what their presence tells us about the water quality. Dress for the weather and to get your feet wet!

May – Apple Blossom 2K Fun Run/Walk                11:15 a.m.

Bring your family and join in on the fun during the 2K run/walk on CNC’s trails. The 2K is open to all ages and free for all participants. Finisher ribbons will be handed out at the finish line and special awards for people completing the Natural Challenges series will be handed out at the 2K Awards Ceremony.