Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information

Page updated 5/23/2020

Carpenter Nature Center recognizes the importance of keeping our visitors and community safe during these challenging times. In response to the growing threat of the COVID-19 virus, we are doing our part to be proactive by making temporary changes in our operations based on guidance from regional medical experts, the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to our current operations:

Is Carpenter Nature Center open?

Even with the recent restrictions on work and travel outside of the home, Carpenter Nature Center has a community obligation to keep our trails open during the COVID-19 outbreak (refer to MN Emergency Executive Order 20-20 section 5c and WI Emergency Order #13 section 11c).

Carpenter Nature Center’s trails are open to the public daily:

Minnesota Campus Trail Hours – 8:00am to 4:30pm

Wisconsin Campus Hours – Sunrise to Sunset

Please be aware that all buildings are closed, and that there is currently no access to bathrooms or drinking water.

Additionally, there is increased security on both sites to ensure the safety of our visitors, and to maintain the well-being of habitats and wildlife.

How do I practice social distancing in outdoor spaces?

Am I allowed to bring my dog to CNC?

You are welcome to bring your furry friend to CNC. In order to ensure the safety of all visitors and animals at CNC, please follow these guidelines:

Is Carpenter Nature Center still holding public programs?

After closely monitoring the situation, and in accordance with recommendations from both state and health officials, we have decided to start offering some of our public programs in a limited capacity starting in June. These programs were adjusted to take social distancing and current regulations into account, while also prioritizing the health of our visitors and staff.

We ask that participants please do the following when attending our programs:

  1. RSVP to the program ahead of time by calling 651-437-4359.
  2. Pay in advance, or bring a check or exact change.
  3. Consider wearing a face mask, or cloth face covering.
  4. Maintain six-foot distances between other participants when possible.
  5. Stay at home if you or a household member is sick.

For a list of currently offered programs, please visit:

Will CNC be running summer camps?

Our camps have always been a time for youth to have fun interacting with each other by playing games, taking hikes, laughing and learning in a group setting. Camps are generally considered very social activities and with social distancing guidelines remaining in effect, we feel that we cannot safely conduct the summer camps as usual. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to cancel most of our summer day camps, with the exception of the half-day Fishing Fun sessions.

HOWEVER, our naturalists have expanded the Fishing Fun Day Camp offerings and created new summer programs aimed at getting children outside and having fun in nature, while being as safe as possible. Group size will be limited to 8 children for each session, social distancing will be followed and group leaders will wear face coverings. All children will need to provide their own backpack, water bottle, snack, sunscreen and bug spray, and face masks will be encouraged.

For more information our youth summer program offerings, please visit our Summer Camp webpage.

Is Carpenter still planning on holding major events later this year?

For now, we are tentatively planning on holding our St. Croix Golf Scramble, Carpenter Art Festival, and Autumn in the Valley Gala. There is much that we currently don’t know about the COVID-19 situation, and it’s hard to say where our country will be even just one month from now. For now we will continue to monitor the situation and plan to make decisions based on the current recommendations of medical professionals, the CDC, and our state government.

What online learning opportunities is CNC currently offering?

Now more than ever, nature is proving vital for our mental and physical health. Though we are not able to provide our usual programming during this time, we are committed to providing educational and entertaining resources for you to enjoy either outdoors or from the comfort of your home. From livestreams to take-home activities, we are finding creative ways to come together virtually to continue serving our community during this challenging time.

Listed below are example of some of the fun activities that you can find on our Nature News page:

Also be sure to check out our Facebook page to see videos of our previous live streams including a raptor meet & greet and a critter feeding session. Our WI Campus Facebook page has also been live streams of peaceful nature moments, and will be sharing fun phenology facts and updates about what’s happening on the site.

Keep checking our website and social media pages to see what we come up with next!

How can I support Carpenter Nature Center during this time?

During this time of crisis, we understand that many families are struggling with financial insecurity. Spending time in nature is one of the most beneficial, stress-reducing, free activities available to our community at this time. It is our intent to keep the trail system open and available, free of charge to visitors, unless we are advised to close by officials.

As a private, non-profit organization, Carpenter Nature Center heavily relies on donations from generous supporters. If you are able, please consider making a donation, either online through  GiveMN or PayPal, by becoming a Friend of CNC. Support from our donors is what enables us to educate families, conserve wildlife habitat, and support the physical and mental health of the community.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has several provisions which encourage charitable giving. The CARES Act allows individuals who take the standard deduction on their taxes to make a cash contribution of up to $300 (made to qualifying charities) and deduct the contribution “above-the-line” in computing adjusted gross income (AGI). For those who itemize deductions, the CARES Act allows charitable cash contributions to be deducted up to 100% of AGI for 2020 (as opposed to the previous deduction limit of 60%). In addition to cash contributions, contributions from IRAs, donor-advised funds, and donations of appreciated stocks (or other assets) still might be your most cost-effective method for charitable contributions if you feel compelled to give. Talk to your financial advisor about which form of giving would be most financially beneficial to you.