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Hands on Learning: Field Trip Programs

Blandford Nature Center helps you bring hands-on, natural learning experiences to your students through our many outdoor field trips!

We guide environmental, content standard learning experiences for students in pre-school through sixth grade. Every season brings more to learn and experience, and Blandford’s 143-acres offers students and groups the opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems by observing plants, animals, soil, water, seasons and much more throughout the entire year.

Programs We Offer

Habitat Series

The changing seasons inspire sensory investigation and role-playing that will help students answer the big questions of Where do animals live, Why do they live there and What does it take for them to survive? This series cover Life and Earth and Space Sciences.

Fall Wonders
September – November   1.5 hrs
Explore the fall woods and fields to learn how plants and animals prepare for winter. The changing season inspires role-playing and sensory investigation of life cycles.

Winter Explorers
December – February   1.5 hrs
Discover the beauty of winter and the secrets of animal survival during this cold season. Find out first-hand why some animals have feathers or fur and others have shells, scales, or slimy skin.

Signs of Spring
April – June   1.5 hrs
Spring is an amazing time of growth and change, and the evidence is all around us. Practice counting and color recognition by spying blooming flowers, singing birds, and buzzing insects.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS2-2 Earth’s Systems, K-LS-1 From Molecules to Organisms, K-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity

Core Ideas:ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A, ESS3.C

First Grade

Birds of a Feather
April – June   1.5 hrs
Discover the amazing world of birds as they call for mates, build nests and raise their young. Students will identify distinguishing characteristics and meet one of our resident Birds of Prey

NGSS Standard: 1-LS1.2 Molecules to Organisms Core Ideas: LS1.B, LS3.A & LS3.B

Animal Adaptations
September – June  (except March) 1.5 hrs 
How do organisms survive in their environment? Students will learn that animal adaptations, whether it’s an unique trait or survival strategy, play a critical role in an animal’s outcome in life.

NGSS Standard: 1-LS1 Molecules to Organisms Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.B, & LS1.D

Second Grade

Seeds and Plants
September – November, April – June 1.5 hrs 
A focus on seed movement has students exploring fields and woods and uncovering secrets of plant and animal interdependence.

NGSS Standard: 2-LS2 Ecosystem: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics Core Idea: LS2.A

Comparing Ecosystems
September – October, April – June 1.5 hrs 
Young biologists explore plant life and search for evidence of animal life inhabiting the varied ecosystems by investigating two different ecosystems and compare what makes the diverse plants and animals unique.

NGSS Standard: 2-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity & Diversity Core Idea: LS4.D

Michigan Animals
September – June (except March) 1.5 hrs 
Michigan has a variety of ecosystems containing diverse food chains that will allow students to compare the diverstiy of animal life here at Blandford. Meeting our live resident animals will be included.

NGSS Standards: 2-LS4 & 3-LS4 Biological Evolution Core Ideas: LS4.C & LS4.D

Third Grade

Predator-Prey Simulation
September – June (except March) 1.5 hrs 
What does it take for an animal to survive in the wild? Students will engage in an action-packed simulation to explore and understand the complex interactions between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores in an ecosystem. Students will experience firsthand what it feels like to be part of a food chain/web, the value of camouflage, animal survival strategies and how being part of a group helps members survive.

NGSS Standards: 3-LS2 & 3-LS4 Biological Evolution Core Ideas: LS2.C, LS2.D, LS4.B, LS4.C & LS4.D

Skulls, Skins, and Tracks
December – February 1.5 hrs 
Discover the secrets of animal survival during winter and why some animals have feathers, fur, shells, scales or skin.

NGSS Standard: 3-LS1 Molecules to Organisms  Core Idea: LS1.A

Fourth Grade

Wildlife with a Backbone
September – June (except March) 1.5 hrs
Learn about vertebrate groups, their unique qualities and habits. Live animals and hands-on props highlight adaptations the different vertebrates use for protection, warmth and food gathering.

NGSS Standard: 4-LS1 Molecules to Organisms Core Ideas: LS1.A & LS2.D

Plant Structure: Exploring Roots & Shoots
September – October,  April – June 1.5 hrs 
Students will discover the inner and outer workings of plant structure and the critical roles they fill in the bio-diverse ecosystems at Blandford.

NGSS Standard: 4-LS1 Molecules to Organisms Core Idea: LS1.A

Fifth Grade

Ecosystem Energy
September – November, April – June 1.5 hrs 
Everybody has to eat something and something eats everything! Follow the sun’s energy by exploring plants, animals, and fungi through the lens of a producer, consumer or decomposer.

NGSS Standards: 5-LS2 Ecosystems, 5-ESS-2 Earth Systems & 5-PS3 Energy Core Ideas: LS2.A & LS2.B

Wonderful Wetlands
April – June 1.5 hrs 
Investigate key indicators of healthy wet habitats by measuring water quality and comparing biotic and abiotic factors that make each habitat unique.

NGSS Standard: 5-ESS2-2 Earth Systems: Water & Fresh Water Core Idea: ESS2.C

Human Impact on Earth
September – November, April – June 1.5 hrs 
Students will obtain and analyze information on local water resources to make informed decisions on what best practices to utilize when protecting Earth’s resources.

NGSS Standards: 5-ESS2 Earth Systems & 5-ESS3 Earth & Human Activity Core Ideas: ESS.3C, ETS1-1 & ETS1-2

All of the following programs are designed to help meet your curriculum expectations and integrate the Michigan Department of Education Social Studies Standards. The programs listed below are focused on History (H), Geography (G) and Economics (E).

Homestead Life
September – June (except March) 1.5 hrs
Students will be immersed in the rural life a pioneer child by using machines and toys of pioneer times and visiting historic buildings. Simple machines emphasis will illustrate  rural life as students demonstrate work through the seasons.

Standards: H, G, E

Log Cabin Traditions
December – February 1.5 hrs 
Explore traditional winter celebrations of Michigan settlers that helped make the long nights a little brighter! As students listen to a story, they will enjoy a treat from the wood stove and learn how rural communities came together at the one room schoolhouse.

Standards: H, G, E

Anishinabek Lifeways
September – June (except March) 1.5 hrs 
The cultural heritage of the Grand River comes alive through hands-on experiences with traditional tools. We will travel back 400 years ago to the time of early Native Americans and reflect on how the seasons and resources of Michigan influenced the lives of Anishinabe people.

Standards: H, G, E

Also Available…

A Day in a One-Room Schoolhouse
For a special classroom experience, reserve the historic Star Schoolhouse for a day. This one room schoolhouse, built in 1853, offers a realistic setting for your social studies. Quill pens, slate boards, and other props allow for experiential learning. The schoolhouse can also be reserved in conjunction with a Homestead Life program.

Rental Fee: $125 for the school day; a discount is available with a scheduled program.

Sugarbush
March 1.5 hrs
A lively puppet show (Pre K-1st grade) or slide show (grades 1st and up) begins our exciting exploration of maple syrup production. Investigate the entire sugaring process through stories, activities, and a short hike to the Sugarhouse.

Don’t see what your looking for? Give us a call and we can discuss customizing a program to meet your needs!

Below are 3 easy ways to bring your students to Blandford Nature Center today!

Request a Field Trip

We look forward to helping your students discover our local natural environment and learn how they are connected to it. Registration is easy! Please choose from one of the following registration methods:

  • Online form.
  • Email our Registrar, at register@blandfordnaturecenter.org.
  • Call our Registrar at 616-735-6240 x 10

Please Submit the Following Info:

When submitting a request, please include:

  • School/organization name
  • Address, city, zip
  • 1st choice date and time
  • 2nd choice date and time
  • Contact person
  • Phone number
  • Group size (60 max)
  • Type of Program requested

Failure to include this information may delay scheduling.

Program Cost

The cost for the program is $5.00 per student, with a $80.00 program minimum.

Teachers and chaperones are included in the price on a 1:5 ratio. Additional adults are $5.00 each.

An invoice will follow your emailed program confirmation. Invoice payment is preferred ahead of the field trip date however you may pay at the time of the program.

Are you interested in bringing your students to Blandford but finding it difficult to pay for the trip?

Thanks to our generous contributors The Wege Foundation, Wolverine Worldwide, and Amway, we are able to offer limited financial assistance to groups in need.

Please contact our Registrar, for more information at 616-735-6240 x 10 or registrar@blandfordnaturecenter.org. When emailing, please include the percentage of students below the poverty level, and the percent of minority students.

If awarded, scholarships will cover $2 of the $5 cost. Price per student will be $3.

As we come across grants and opportunities that may benefit your school we will also list them here. Please check back from time to time for updates:

Program Policies

  • The majority of your program will be outside. Please note that tours proceed RAIN or SHINE, so please ensure that participants are dressed for the weather, with appropriate footwear.
  • In case the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning we will cancel the program; there is no fee for cancelling due to severe weather.
  • Cancellation notice must be received at least 21 business days before the scheduled program to receive a full refund and avoid $50.00 cancellation fee. This policy does not apply to cases of inclement weather or programs that are rescheduled (based on availability).
  • Refunds will be issued if more than 5 students are missing from the program date. Refunds will have a 5% handling fee.