What does Carpenter Nature Center (CNC) offer school groups?
At CNC, professional staff conduct quality environmental education programs for over 10,000 students and their teachers each year. Each program is designed to supplement classroom studies through hands-on learning in the “outdoor classroom.”
A small student to naturalist staff ratio (20:1) allows for greater individual learning and enhances the experience for students.
How can the programs at CNC help to meet academic standards?
All environmental education program curriculum at CNC is written to be age appropriate and to enhance science studies. Input from teachers and education specialists is a valuable tool in developing programs.
Every program is designed to help meet Minnesota and Wisconsin Academic Standards. Class outlines are available upon request for every program.
Elementary School Programs Currently Available
1.25-1.5 hour programs
Apple Orchard: Fall. Learn parts of an apple tree and observe animals in the orchard. Pick apples and make cider. Optional visit to the pumpkin patch for an additional fee.
Change of Seasons: Fall, Spring. Discover seasonal changes and visit live animals that hibernate, migrate, or stay active.
Flowers & Pollination: Spring. Learn about plant reproduction by role playing in and active game. Examine real pollinators visiting flowers on a hike by the gardens.
Plant Communities: Fall, Spring. Explore plant diversity in three different communities—a grassland; a pine forest; & a deciduous forest.
Winter Birds: Winter. Identify six year round birds through a winter hike and dissect owl pellets to solve a mystery.
Winterfest: Winter. Play Native American games while celebrating winter! Warm up with a story and hot cocoa.
1.5-2 hour programs
Adaptations: Fall, Winter, Spring. Through hands-on activities and live animals, students learn about plant and animal adaptations for survival.
Birds & Banding: Fall, Spring. Go on a bird hike with binoculars and field guides and see birds up close during an introduction to the scientific process of bird banding.
Food Chains: Fall, Spring. Study the energy flow in food chains by finding clues in nature, developing food chains, and presenting findings.
Insects: Fall, Spring. By using nets and jars, students collect and identify classes of insects while looking at life cycles, metamorphosis, and diversity.
Reptiles & Amphibians: Fall, Winter, Spring. Become herpetologists as we study the differences and similarities of reptiles and amphibians in live animals. This is an indoor program.
Rocks & Minerals: Fall, Spring. Examine the difference between rocks and minerals through hands-on investigation. Learn about the rock cycle and formation.
Snow & Ice Study: Winter. Students learn scientific processes of hypotheses, experiment, and analyze results by testing properties of water, insulation, snow, and temperature.
Trees: Fall, Spring. Discuss the importance of trees, identify common deciduous and evergreen trees, and explore the life cycle of a tree.
1.75-2 hour programs
Geology: Fall, Spring. Observe examples of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Participate in a “timeline of the earth” and a “rock investigation.”
Invertebrates: Fall, Spring. Learn about animal classification by catching invertebrates & playing “bingo.”
Map & Compass: Fall, Winter, Spring. Take part in the sport of orienteering by learning how to use a compass, read a map & combine the skills to compete on a timed orienteering course.
Maple Syruping: Spring (March). Help CNC make maple syrup by identifying, tapping & collecting sap from a maple tree. Observe the boiling process & taste pure maple syrup.
Plants & People: Fall, Spring. Explore human/plant interactions by visiting the restored prairie, apple orchard & seeing plant products.
Snowshoeing: Winter (>6 inch snow depth) Ages 10 and up. After a snowshoe demonstration, strap on a pair and go for a guided winter ecology hike. Students must wear boots.
Water Erosion: Fall, Spring. Discover what erosion is, what causes it and ways to prevent it through hands-on experimentation & games.
Water Quality: Fall, Spring. Use monitoring equipment to test CNC’s wetland or the St. Croix River. Compare results to determine overall conclusions. Dress to get wet feet!
Weather: Fall, Spring. Use meteorology equipment to analyze current weather conditions & make a forecast.
Wetlands: Fall, Spring. Explore the diversity of life, human impact, and adaptations present in the wetland habitat. Dress to get wet & muddy!
Wilderness Survival: Fall, Winter, Spring. Discuss human survival needs, & work in teams to cooperate, and to make a signal, fire, & shelter to survive.
Fees:$4.00 per student for 1st visit, $3.00 per student for 2nd visit or more (within school year)
$50.00 per program minimum
$5.00 per adult chaperone above 5:1 student/chaperone ratio
Free for certified teachers and PCAs
Group size: Minimum of 10, Maximum of 60
Mobility Limitations: CNC welcomes all students regardless of abilities. Please inform CNC if there will be students with limited mobility when scheduling so that we may make appropriate accommodations.
Medical Emergencies: The staff at CNC is First Aid and CPR certified and is trained to respond to emergencies. However students must bring their own medications (i.e. bee sting kit) if necessary.
Discipline: CNC staff are prepared to deal with most discipline situations, but may ask for the teacher’s assistance if problems arise.
Accommodations for the Weather: The majority of programs take place outside. It is essential that teachers properly prepare students to dress for the weather and to get dirty. CNC staff are prepared to go out in any weather. It is the school’s responsibility to cancel or reschedule if students are not prepared.
Deposits & Cancellations: A $50 deposit (credited to the program cost) is required to reserve a program. If CNC does not receive it in a timely fashion, we reserve the right to schedule another group in the requested time slot. If groups fail to give a 2 week advance notice of cancellation the deposit will not be refunded.
Scheduling: Reservations for each season will be taken after the following dates:
School Year reservations can be made after Aug 1
Summer reservations can be made after Jan 1
For more information on the above classes or if you have ideas for an outdoor experience to enhance a lesson you are teaching please contact the Program Director or call the Nature Center at 651-437-4359.