The mission of Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center is to foster a lifelong appreciation of the natural world through environmental education, habitat conservation, and outdoor experiences.
It is our aspiration that nature is honored and valued by people of all generations.
Through the pursuit of our mission and vision, we uphold the following values:
- Providing premier science- and nature-based education.
- Proactively protecting habitat and pursuing excellence in land stewardship.
- Serving all ages, abilities, and backgrounds with experiences for all seasons.
- Leading and partnering collaboratively.
- Connecting environmental and human health.
- Honoring the history and legacy of the land and the St. Croix Valley.
- CNC is a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization
- There are 725 acres with more than 20 miles of trails to explore
- CNC naturalists teach over 7,000 students outdoor environmental education each year.
- There are two campuses. We are located in Hastings, MN and Hudson, WI.
- CNC is open 361 days a year, 7 days a week, with free admission.
Nestled at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers near Hastings, and located only thirty minutes from the metro, Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center provides a unique opportunity to learn and explore the outdoors. With property on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the scenic St. Croix River, we can preserve wildlife habitats while providing educational experiences for community families. To ensure people of all economic backgrounds can connect to nature admission is completely free.
Hiking trails wind throughout the tall pines, oak savanna, restored prairies, wooded ravines, around the apple orchard, and along the river of the 425-acre Minnesota Campus. Our visitor center features world-class exhibits with live animals on display and raptor mews featuring a Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Barred Owl, and Common Raven. There are over seven miles of hiking woodchipped trails and three and a half paved trails to accommodate persons with mobility limitations. You will see a vast variety of plant and animal communities.
Wildlife abounds in the restored prairie and wooded bluffs on our 300-acre Wisconsin Nature Preserve. The new Al & Laurie Hein Visitor Center will open in the summer of 2022. Although it is only a few short minutes south of Hudson, our campus is an oasis for bird watching and hiking.
Carpenter Nature Center plays a vital role in the hands-on education of 7,000 to 10,000 K-12 students and 17,000 to 20,000 visitors annually. The diverse ecosystems found on 725 acres of protected habitat minutes from a major metropolitan area make Carpenter a destination for teachers and families alike. Carpenter Nature Center shows students the importance of working in harmony with the natural world and gives them the science skills and experiences they need to begin to understand and solve our future global environmental problems.
As a 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization that provides services to the public admission is free, we rely heavily on donations from our generous supporters. The financial support of our donors is what allows us to educate families and conserve wildlife and habitat. Please consider membership. We need your help to achieve our mission!
Once the private estate of Thomas E. and Edna D. Carpenter, and formerly called Carpenter’s Apple Valley Orchard, Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center opened in 1981, and has served more than half a million visitors, provided more than 10,000 environmental education programs, trained hundreds of interns and protected more than 725 acres of natural habitat in the St. Croix Valley. Click through the slideshow below to learn more!
Code of Conduct
CNC believes strongly that its staff and volunteers must uphold the highest standards of ethical, professional behavior and to:
- Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of professional duties.
- Abide by all CNC policies and performance standards, and all laws, regulations, and other commonly accepted standards of business and professional conduct.
- Act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance personal and professional honor, integrity, and dignity of the profession.
- Treat fellow employees, supervisors, volunteers, and visitors with honesty, integrity and mutual respect.
- Treat with respect and consideration all persons, regardless of their age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or other protected status.
- Participate in carrying out CNC’s in a professional manner.
- Collaborate with and support other professionals in carrying out CNC’s mission.
- Build professional reputations on the merit of services and refrain from competing unfairly with others.
- Maintain a work environment free from threatening or violent conduct.
Equal Employment Opportunity
CNC strives to provide equal employment opportunities for all employees and job applicants without regard to age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, military service, or other protected classifications in the workplace and complies with all applicable federal, state and local laws requiring equal employment opportunity and prohibiting discrimination in employment.
Diversity and Inclusion
CNC promotes a policy of workforce diversity and inclusion because it embraces the idea that a collection of individual attributes helps the organization. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, characteristics such as national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures as well as differences of thought and life experiences. CNC’s inclusion policy creates a culture that connects each employee to the organization, encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness, and leverages diversity so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential.
CNC does not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, military service, or other protected classifications in the workplace. Anyone with questions or concerns about discrimination is encouraged to bring these issues to the attention of any supervisor, the Executive Director, or any Board member. Employees can raise concerns and make reports of discrimination without fear of retaliation. Anyone who engages in unlawful discrimination will be subject to appropriate remedial action, including any form of disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
CNC prohibits harassment and offensive behavior, including violent behavior and sexual harassment, throughout the working environment and any physical location where its business is being conducted. Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or which creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment is not tolerated. Harassment that is based on age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, military service, or other protected classifications is expressly prohibited.
Any individual engaging in such conduct will be subject to appropriate remedial action, including any form of disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.