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 learning experiences for students in preschool through sixth grade. Blandford’s 264-acres offers 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+.

Programs We Offer

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 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

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 Organisms, K-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 Systems, K-LS-1 From Molecules to OrganismsK-ESS3-1 Earth-Human Activity

Core Ideas: ESS2.D, LS1.C, ESS2.2, 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
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 Ecosystems3-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

 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 Ecosystems, 5-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

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

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 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

Interested in bringing your students to Blandford Nature Center?

Please view our list of FAQs below on how to register and any questions regarding field trip programs.

Blandford Nature Center field trips allow your students to answer Big Questions in a hands-on, natural environment. BNC field trips are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards so students not only learn about a particular subject matter, but they learn about its interactions with the rest of their world. Research is clear that time spent in nature helps children develop better cognitive abilities and critical-thinking skills and equips them with the passion and knowledge to care about their environment.

Please email the Registrar at with the following information:

• School/organization name
• School/organization address
• 1st choice date and time
• 2nd choice date and time
• Contact person name
• Contact phone number
• Student information
o Total # of students
o Grade level(s)
o Special needs or ESL/ELL info (if applicable)
• Program requested

Please keep in mind that we have a 60 student-per-program maximum. If you’d like to bring additional students, we can frequently accommodate either by: 1) scheduling multiple days; or 2) by arranging for half of your group to take a self-guided tour while the other half takes a guided program and then flip-flopping.

To get a full list of programs, visit our website by clicking here. Please note, most programs are 90 minutes and have a $5 per student fee.

Please allow for two weeks’ response time to your request, particularly in early Fall & around Sugarbush in March.

Blandford programs ask big questions for hands-on exploration. Anticipate that your students will spend most of their 90 minutes outside in the elements. Please make sure they are prepared with weather-appropriate clothing and closed-toed shoes that can get muddy.

When you arrive, your bus should park in the designated bus parking beside the depots on the east side of the parking lot. Your Blandford Educators will meet you at the bus and lead you to your program. If you come in cars, your Educators will meet you in front of the Mary Jane Dockeray Visitor Center. If you arrive significantly before your program begins, we recommend taking your students on the Wildlife Trail that wraps around the north side of the Visitor Center. Please do not bring groups of students into the Visitor Center except in situations of inclement weather.

Weather Cancellation: If the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning we will cancel the program; there is no fee for cancelling due to severe weather. We will attempt to reschedule based on availability. If your school calls a snow day, there is no fee for cancelling. If you choose not to attend your program due to weather, but a severe warning is not issued and your school has not called a snow day, you will be subject to the cancellation fee if we are unable to reschedule your field trip.

All Other Cancellations: For all non-weather cancellations, notice must be sent to the Registrar at and received at least 21 business days before the scheduled program to receive a full refund and avoid a $50.00 cancellation fee. This policy does not apply to cases of inclement weather or programs that are rescheduled (based on availability).

Attendance Refunds: Refunds will be issued if more than 5 students are missing from the program date. Refunds will have a 5% handling fee.

Please plan to bring one chaperone for every five students. If you bring more chaperones, we will charge $5 / chaperone in excess of your 1:5 ratio. Please give us advance notice if you’ll be bringing more than 3 extra chaperones.

Your chaperones will all be included in your group’s introduction, then will break up into groups and follow educators for the remainder of the program. We have laminated information sheets available for chaperones to read during the introduction. Chaperones are requested to model appropriate behavior (listening to the educator, not pulling students aside for photos or having side conversations while the educator is teaching), to assist the educator with any materials if asked (handing out clipboards or trail sheets), and in rare cases, assist the educator with behavior management (buddying up with an energetic student and helping to ensure the group stays together). Please inform your chaperones of their roles and responsibilities prior to arriving at the program.

We charge $5/student with a program minimum of $80.

As soon as we send your confirmation, we reserve educators to teach your program and those educators are made unavailable for other programs. Your pre-payment allows us to accurately schedule out our staff to ensure that all schools have the educators they need for their programs and ensures our educators are compensated for their prep time. If you bring at least five fewer students than anticipated, we will offer a refund minus a 5% processing fee. We appreciate your understanding.

Yes! We offer scholarships to schools where at least 85% of the students qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch. The per pupil cost is reduced from $5 to $3; please inquire with the Registrar when you register to see if you qualify for a scholarship.

If your group brings at least five students fewer than expected, we will refund you the cost of those absent students, minus a 5% processing fee. If between scheduling and paying your invoice your student count changes, please send an email to and we will update your invoice.

We will do our best to accommodate your group if you are running late. Please call us at (616) 735-6240 as soon as you know you’ll be late, and prior to arrival discuss with your transportation whether you will be able to depart late from BNC. Depending on BNC’s schedule and your transportation needs, we will set a new schedule for your visit. Though we will do our best to accommodate, a tardy arrival will likely result in a shortened program.

Yes! When you make your reservation, please let us know that you’ll be eating lunch while on the property. Lunches can be eaten in the schoolyard or at the farm: a limited number of picnic tables are available at both locations. In the case of inclement weather, we will try to accommodate, but cannot guarantee, an inside space for your group. We do not have refrigeration facilities for lunches, so please bring coolers for any lunches that may need them.

Yes! There are many ways to extend your time here at BNC:
• Following your program, you can lead your group on a self-guided hike – we’ll provide you with trail maps and hike sheets and you can stay as long as you’d like.
• You can do two programs on a single day: we recommend doing a morning program followed by lunch, and then an afternoon program. Any of our programs can be combined in this way (season permitting).
• Many of our programs have additional content stations that we can add to your experience. Our Anishinabek Lifeways program can be extended into a full-day experience; Pioneer Life can be extended by 30 minutes; and Snowy Survivors can be extended by 30 minutes to include a free snowshoe hike.

If you’re interested in extending your time here, our Registrar would be happy to explain your options. (Extended programs are dependent on Educator and space availability. If you’d like an extended program, please book as early as possible.)

 Please call our Visitor Services staff at (616) 735-6240 for any other questions.