Schools

At Blandford Nature Center, we strive to have every child experience nature and wildlife in a fun, hands-on way!

From field trips to specialized programs for public, private and home school students, Blandford Nature Center has something for every curious student. Below you’ll find details about each of our various programs tailored to each type of student.

Field Trips

Bring hands-on, natural learning experiences to your students.

We guide environmental learning experiences for students in preschool through sixth grade. Blandford’s 264-acres offer students and groups the opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems by observing plants, animals, soil, water, seasons and much more year-round.

Each program is a minimum of 90 minutes long unless otherwise specified.

We host 60 students max per program. You have to book multiple dates for groups of 60+.

Pre-K & Kindergarten 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?

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. Investigate with your senses, practice counting and develop color recognition by spying blooming flowers, singing birds, and buzzing insects.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS2-2 Earth’s SystemsK-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity

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

Other Pre-K & Kindergarten Programs

Whooo Lives in the Forest?
September – June (except March)   1.5 hrs
Ask WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, and WHEN questions about Blandford’s owls as students explore their habitat and investigate owl pellets to learn more about the birds of prey that are hunters of the night!

NGSS Standards: K-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity

Core Ideas: LS1.C, ESS3.A

Focusing on the Farm Five
September – October & May – June 1.5 hrs
Investigate the Blandford Farm using your five senses! See plants growing, hear pollinators buzzing, smell nectar-rich flowers, taste vegetables, and get hands-on as you and your students experience a day in the life of a farmer.

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

Core Ideas: ESS2.D, LS1.C, ESS2.2, ESS3.C

1st, 2nd & 3rd Grade Nature/Science Programs

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
October – November & April – May 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

Third Grade

Michigan Ecosystems
October – November   1.5 hrs 
Young biologists explore two different Michigan ecosystems, searching for evidence of biodiverse food chains within the unique habitats. Program will finish with an up close view of Blandford’s Wildlife Ambassadors.

NGSS Standard: 3-LS2 Ecosystems & 3-LS4 Biological Evolution Core Idea: LS4.C & LS4.D

Predator-Prey Simulation
September – November & April – June  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. They will experience firsthand what it feels like to be part of a food chain, the value of camouflage, and other animal survival strategies.

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

Snowy Survivors
December – February  1.5 hrs   Add snowshoes to your program for a special 2-hour experience!
Discover the secrets of animal survival during the winter and how animal characteristics and adaptations help them thrive during this cold and snowy season. Program is 1.5 hrs. without snowshoes; 2 hrs. with snowshoes (Snowshoe availability is dependent on amount of snowfall).

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

4th & 5th Grade Nature/Science Programs

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

Farming Comes Naturally
April – June  1.5 hrs
Discover how a farm is like an ecosystem, the impact of farms have on our health, and the impact they have on the health of the biosphere. Visit the greenhouses, examine soil samples, learn about vermiculture, and greet the resident farm animals!

NGSS Standard: 4-LS1 Molecules to Organisms, 5-ESS2 Earth Systems, & 5-ESS3 Earth & Human Activity Core Ideas: 4-LS1-1, 4-LS1-2, 4-ESS3-1, 3-5-ETS1, 5-LS2-1, 5-ESS2-A & 5-ESS3-C

Fifth Grade

Ecosystem Energy
September – October & 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 Ecosystems5-ESS-2 Earth Systems & 5-PS3 Energy Core Ideas: LS2.A & LS2.B

Watershed Guardians
April – June 1.5 hrs 
Discover essential aspects of a watershed as well as investigate key indicators of healthy wetlands by evaluating biotic and abiotic factors. Students will explore ways that their actions can impact the watershed, as well as other natural resources, around them.

NGSS Standard: 5-ESS2-2 Earth Systems: Water & Fresh Water  & 5-ESS3 Earth & Human Activity Core Idea: ESS2.C, ESS.3C, ETS1-1 & ETS1-2

K-6th Grade Social Studies Programs

The programs listed below are focused on History (H), Geography (G), and Economics (E) from the Michigan Department of Education Social Studies Standards. Create the perfect learning experience by selecting which topics you would like to cover for your customized program.

Pioneer 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 emphasize the rural ways of pioneers as students explore an old-fashioned life in the different seasons. This program’s duration is 90 minutes which includes a 10 minute intro and four 20 minute stations (options below). Additional 20 minute stations can be added for a flat $50 fee. Stations can also be extended to 40 minutes.

  • Log Cabin (indoor-heated)
  • Blacksmith (sheltered)
  • Pioneer Barn (sheltered)
  • Schoolhouse (indoor-heated)
  • Recess with pioneer toys & games (indoor/outdoor)

Standards: H, G, E

Anishinabek Lifeways
September – June (except March) Minimum of 1.5 hrs 

The cultural heritage of the Grand River comes alive through hands‐on experiences with traditional tools. We will investigate how the seasons and resources of Michigan influenced the lives of Anishinabe people around 500 years ago. This program’s duration is 90 minutes which includes a 10 minute intro and four 20 minute stations (options below). Additional 20 minute stations can be added for a flat $50 fee. The most common/standard stations are listed below. The additional station options are listed right below the standard station options and can be substituted in or added on as requested.

Standard Options:

  • Wigwam (outdoor sheltered)
  • Hunting (indoor/outdoor)
  • Agriculture (indoor)
  • Lacrosse/Snow Snake (depending on weather) (outdoor)

Additional Options:

  • Fishing (indoor)
  • Forage & Tracking Hike (outdoor)
  • Cordage (indoor)
  • Bowl Dice (indoor)
  • Moccasin Game (indoor)
  • Pine Dancers (indoor)

Standards: H, G, E

Sugarbush Programs

March   1.5 hrs  THIS PROGRAM BOOKS QUICKLY! REGISTER EARLY TO ENSURE YOUR SPACE.
Experience the science of maple syrup production! Identify maple trees, 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. A puppet show introduction is featured in K & 1st grade trips.

Standards: K-ESS2-2 Earth’s SystemsK-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity

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

To schedule a field trip, email the Registrar at registrar@blandfordnaturecenter.org with program choice, two preferred dates/times, and student count and we’ll schedule you soon.

GRPS Partnership

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS.

Thanks to the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, we are able to provide outdoor science-based education programs to all GRPS first and third grade students.

REGISTRATION FOR 2019-2020 IS NOW OPEN!

Program Options:

1st Grade Programs

Science Discipline: Life Sciences

Animal Adaptations 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

September – 18, 20, 25, 27
October – 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
November –7, 14, 20, 21
December – 5, 12, 19
April – 1, 14, 21, 28
May – 7, 14

Birds of a Feather 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

April – 1, 14, 21, 28
May –7, 14

Seeds and Plants 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

September – 18, 2, 25, 27
October – 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
November – 7, 14, 20, 21
April – 1, 14, 21, 28
May – 7, 14

Science Discipline: Earth Science

Focusing on the Farm Five 1.5 hrs 

Investigate the Blandford Farm using your five senses! See plants growing, hear pollinators buzzing, smell nectar-rich flowers, taste vegetables, and get hands-on experience as you and your students experience the day in the life of a farmer.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS2-2 Earth’s SystemsK-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity    Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS1.D, ESS3.A & ESS3.C

September – 18, 20, 25, 27
October – 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
May – 7, 14

Sugarbush 1.5 hrs 

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.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS2-2 Earth’s SystemsK-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity    Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A & ESS3.C

March – 5, 13, 20, 27

3rd Grade Programs

Social Studies: Michigan Studies

Anishinabek Lifeways 2 hrs. Offered in the AM only.

Travel back 400-500 years ago to the time of early Native Americans and reflect on how the seasons and resources of Michigan influenced the lives of the 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

October – 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
November – 1, 8, 15, 22
December – 6, 13, 20
January – 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
February – 4, 5, 11, 13, 18, 19, 25, 26

Science Discipline: Life Science

Michigan Ecosystems 1.5 hrs

Young biologists explore two different Michigan ecosystems, searching for evidence of biodiverse food chains within the unique habitats. Program will finish with an up close view of Blandford’s Wildlife Ambassadors.

NGSS Standard: 3-LS2 Ecosystems & 3-LS4 Biological Evolution Core Ideas: LS4.C & LS4.D

October –3, 10, 17, 24, 31
November – 1, 8, 15, 22

Wildlife with a Backbone 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 protections, warmth and food gathering.

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

October – 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
November – 1, 8, 15, 22
December – 6, 13, 20
January – 
7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
February – 4, 5, 11, 13, 18, 19, 25, 26

Snowy Survivors 1.5 hrs. Add snowshoes for a special 2 hr. AM only experience!

Discover the secrets of animal survival during the winter and how animal characteristics and adaptations help them survive during this cold and snowy season. Program is 1.5 hrs. without snowshoes; 2 hours with snowshoes. Snowshoe availability is dependent on amount of snowfall.

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

October – 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
November – 1, 8, 15, 22
December – 6, 13, 20

Science Discipline: Life Science & Earth Science

Sugarbush 1.5 hrs 

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.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS2-2 Earth’s SystemsK-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity   Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A & ESS3.C

March – 5, 13, 20, 27

Request a Program:

To start the process:

  • Determine the program (within the appropriate grade level) you would like to attend from the list above
  • Decide on a date and time (from the dates/times listed underneath each program choice above) that works best for your schedule
  • Have an alternate date and time ready

Once you have these 3 choices made, click on the correct button below to complete your request.

Once your request has been submitted, it will be processed within 2 weeks.

You will receive an email confirmation with date, time, and program details.

Boy in Creek
HOMESCHOOL SERIES

Outdoor, hands-on learning with 264 acres!

Homeschool field trips to Blandford immerse students in nature and are designed to integrate Next Generation Science Standards while engaging students’ natural curiosity.

Each 90 minute program is offered from 1:30pm to 3:00pm and is taught by our highly experienced and educated staff and is geared towards children 5 to 13 years of age.

New this year, we are offering a Middle Years session for children aged 11 to 13 years of age to allow them to dig even deeper into rich, scientific and natural history content.

Students will be split into groups based on age so that program content is appropriate.

REGISTRATION FOR FALL 2019 IS OPEN!

Fall 2019 Homeschool Series
Fall 2019 Middle Years Homeschool Series

Trail Maps

To view trail maps, visit our Resources page.

Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more, please visit our FAQ page or contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.