Elementary School Group

CNC’s professional staff conducts quality environmental education programs for more than 10,000 students and their teachers annually. 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 better individual learning and enhances the experience for students.

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 meet Minnesota and Wisconsin Academic Standards. Class outlines are available upon request for every program.


Programs Available

Some of our programs can only be offered during certain times of the year. Please look closely at the program you wish to schedule and that it is available during the season of your visit. In some cases programs can be modified. Call 651-437-4359 for more information.

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.    Teacher Info MN     Teacher Info WI
  • Birds – (Fall, Winter, Spring) Go on a bird hike to find birds, examine and dissect an owl pellet, and meet a live animal.
  • Change of Seasons – (Fall, Winter, Spring) Discover seasonal changes and visit live animals that hibernate, migrate, or stay active. Teacher Info MN    Teacher Info WI
  • 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.
  • Insects – (Fall, Spring) By using nets and jars, students collect and identify classes of insects while looking at life cycles, metamorphosis, and diversity.  Teacher Info MN    Teacher Info WI
  • Life Cycles – (Fall, Spring) Learn how creatures change from young to adult with a focus on insects and amphibians.
  • Maple Syruping – (Spring)  Help CNC make maple syrup by identifying, tapping & collecting sap from a maple tree. Observe the boiling process & taste pure maple syrup.
  • Plant Communities – (Fall, Spring) Explore plant diversity in three different communities—a grassland; a pine forest; & a deciduous forest.  Teacher Info MN    Teacher Info WI
  • 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.  Teacher Info MN    Teacher Info WI
  • Winterfest – (Winter) Play Native American games while celebrating winter. Warm up with a story and hot cocoa.  Teacher Info MN    Teacher Info WI
  • Winter Wildlife – (Winter) Learn about how different animals cope with the cold and how they adapt to winter conditions. Meet live animals!

Scheduling Dates
Reservations for each season will be taken after the following dates:

School Year – May 1

Summer – January 1

$5.00 per child/ 65 child max

Certified teachers and Student Aids are FREE

$5.00 per additional adult chaperone

$50.00 program minimum

Group Size
Group sizes should be at least 10 participants. Please call to discuss options for larger groups. Given enough time in advance, we can arrange classes for larger groups.

Mobility Limitations
CNC welcomes all participants regardless of abilities. Please inform us if there will be a participant with limited mobility when scheduling so that we may make appropriate accommodations.

Medical Emergencies
CNC staff is First Aid & CPR certified and trained to respond to emergencies. However, participants must bring their own medication if necessary.

CNC staff is prepared to deal with most discipline situations. A naturalist 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 leaders properly prepare participants to dress for the weather and the chance of getting dirty. CNC staff is prepared to go out in any weather. Leaders are responsible for canceling or rescheduling if participants aren’t prepared for the field trip.