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Grand Rapids Public Schools Environmental Education Partnership

At Blandford Nature Center we strive to have every child experience nature and history in a fun, hands-on way. Thanks to the generosity of Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, we are able to provide outdoor science-based education programs to all Grand Rapids Public School first and third grade students.

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  • Due to staff resources, a maximum of 60 students can attend a program at one time.
  • Please organize your students into groups of 15 students prior to arrival as to maximum program time. Blandford will provide 1 instructor for every group.
  • There must be at least 1 chaperone for every 5 students. Chaperones within this ratio can attend the program for free. There must be at least 1 chaperone accompanying the Blandford instructor at all times.
  • Please arrange for transportation to arrive promptly and depart after completion of the entire program.
  • All programs are taught outdoors, so please help students be prepared for the weather including appropriate footwear.

As an outdoor education facility, Blandford Nature Center school programs proceed in unfavorable weather. If severe weather occurs program cancellation will be determined by Blandford Staff. However, we will honor rescheduled programs due to GRPS weather-related closings. Should you choose to cancel the program, rescheduling of the program will be the responsibility of the teacher and based on availability.

Program Options

Offered 1st Grade Programs

Science Discipline: Life Sciences

Animal Adaptations 1.5 hrs.

October – Thursdays {1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, & 29th}
November – Fridays {6th, 13th, & 20th}
February – Tuesdays {2nd, 9th, 16th, & 23rd}
April – Tuesdays {12th, 19th, & 26th} & Fridays {15th, 22nd, & 29th}
May – Wednesdays {4th & 11th} & Thursdays {5th & 12th}

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.

Standard: Heredity
Statement: Observable Characteristics – Animals share many but not all characteristics of their parents.
Expectation: Identify characteristics.

Birds of a Feather 1.5 hrs

April – Tuesdays {12th, 19th, & 26th} & Fridays {15th, 22nd, & 29th}
May – Wednesdays {4th & 11th} & Thursdays {5th & 12th}

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

Standard: Organization of Living Things
Statements: Life Requirements – Organisms have basic needs. Life Cycles – Animals have life cycles.
Expectations: Identify the needs of animals. Describe the life cycle of animals.

Seeds and Plants 1.5 hrs

October – Thursdays {1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, & 29th}
November – Fridays {6th, 13th, & 20th}
April – Tuesdays {12th, 19th, & 26th} & Fridays {15th, 22nd, & 29th}
May – Wednesdays {4th & 11th} & Thursdays {5th & 12th}

A focus on seed movement has students exploring fields and woods and uncovering secrets of plant and animal interdependence.

Standard: Organization of Living Things
Statements: Life Requirements – Organisms have basic needs. Life Cycles – Plants have life cycles.
Expectations: Identify the needs of plants. Describe the life cycle of plants.

Science Discipline: Earth Science

Growing Up Healthy 1.5 hrs 

October – Thursdays {1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, & 29th}
May
 – Wednesdays {4th & 11th} & Thursdays {5th & 12th}

Investigate the Blandford Farm using the five senses. See plants growing, hear pollinators buzzing, and experience what is like to be a bee, taste vegetables, and smell nectar-rich flowers.

Standards: Earth Systems and Solid Earth
Statements: Solar Energy – The sun warms the land, air, water and helps plant grow. Earth Materials – Some Earth materials have properties which sustain plant and animal life.
Expectations: Identify the sun as the most important source of heat. Demonstrate the importance of sunlight and warmth in plant growth. Describe how Earth materials contribute to the growth of plant and animal life.

Sugarbush 1.5 hrs 

March – Wednesdays {2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th}

A lively puppet show begins our exciting exploration of maple syrup production. Investigate the entire sugaring process through stories, activities, and a short hike to the Sugarhouse to understand how human interaction and the use of natural resources affect the environment.

Standard: Solid Earth
Statement: Earth Materials – Some Earth materials have properties which sustain plant and animal life.
Expectation: Describe how Earth materials contribute to the growth of plant and animal life.

Offered 3rd Grade Programs

Social Studies: Michigan Studies

Anishinabek Lifeways 2 hrs.

October – Tuesdays {6th, 13th, & 27th}
November – Wednesdays {4th, 11th, & 18th}
December – Tuesdays {1st, 8th, & 15th} & Thursdays {3rd, 10th & 17th}
January – Wednesdays {6th, 13th, & 27th} & Fridays {8th, 15th, & 29th}
February – Thursdays {4th, 11th, 18th & 25th}

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 using hands-on experiences with traditional tools.

Standard: History of Michigan
Statement: Use historical thinking to understand the past.
Expectations: H3.0.4, H3.0.5, & H3.0.7

Science Discipline: Life Science

Wildlife with a Backbone 1.5 hrs 

October – Tuesdays {6th, 13th, & 27th}
November – Wednesdays {4th, 11th, & 18th}
December – Tuesdays {1st, 8th, & 15th} & Thursdays {3rd, 10th & 17th}
January – Wednesdays {6th, 13th, & 27th} & Fridays {8th, 15th, & 29th}
February – Thursdays {4th, 11th, 18th & 25th}
March – Fridays {4th, 11th & 18th (AM only)}


Learn about vertebrate groups, their unique qualities and habits. Live animals and hands-on props highlight adaptations the different vertebrates use for protections, warmth and food gathering.

Standards: Organization of Living Things & Evolution
Statements: Structures and Functions, Classification, & Environmental Adaptation
Expectations: OL.03.32, OL.03.42 & EV.03.12

Plant Structure 1.5 hrs 

October – Tuesdays {6th, 13th, & 27th}
November – Wednesdays {4th, 11th, & 18th}


Students will discover the inner and outer workings of plant structure and the critical roles they fill in the bio-diverse ecosystems at Blandford.

Standards: Organization of Living Things & Evolution
Statements: Structures and Functions, Classification, & Environmental Adaptation
Expectations: OL.03.31, OL.03.41 & EV.03.11

Skulls, Skins & Tracks 1.5 hrs Snowshoe use Available!

December – Tuesdays {1st, 8th, & 15th} & Thursdays {3rd, 10th & 17th}
January – Wednesdays {6th, 13th, & 27th} & Fridays {8th, 15th, & 29th}
February – Thursdays {4th, 11th, 18th & 25th}

Discover the secrets of animal survival during the winter and how animal characteristics help them survive during this harsh season.

Standards: Organization of Living Things & Evolution
Statements: Structures and Functions, Classification, & Environmental Adaptation
Expectations: OL.03.32, OL.03.42 & EV.03.12

Science Discipline: Life Science & Earth Science

Sugarbush 1.5 hrs 

March – Fridays {4th, 11th & 18th (AM only)}

Experience the science of maple syrup production. Identify maples, collect data on forest health and smell the sweet syrup cooking in the Sugarhouse. Practice modern methods of tapping, collection and boiling using real tools, then taste the sweet results.

Standards: Organization of Living Things & Earth Systems
Statements: Structures and Functions, Classification, & Natural Resources.
Expectations: OL.03.31, OL.03.41 & ES.03.41

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