Science, History, Art, Engineering and Math in our own beautiful backyard!

At The Nature Place, we believe that positive, hands-on experiences in nature that are accessible to all inspire meaningful connections and a sense of appreciation and stewardship for our natural world.

children using microscopes at the nature center
kids learning outdoors

Nature Education Days for Schools at The Nature Place and/or Your School

The Nature Place can bring life to your lessons with interactive explorations.

Whether you are looking to FOSSter an interest in your science unit, create cross-curricular ties with reading, math, history or social studies units, reward your class with an outdoor experience or simply get outdoors – we would love to work with you!

Cindy Blobaum
Environmental Education Program Manager
Email Cindy or call 608-860-5363

Outdoor Education Programs

Preschool-Kindergarten Programs

(1 Hour)

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

  • Discuss signs of the season
  • Explore habitats using senses
  • Participate in nature activities/games to support cognitive development

Critter Capers

  • Learn about animal adaptations by investigating artifacts (skin coverings, skulls, etc.)
  • Meet a live education animal
  • Includes related book, and a song or fingerplay

1st & 2nd Grade Programs

(2 Hours)

Incredible Insects (best done Sept/Oct.)

  • Learn insect anatomy and life cycles
  • Catch, compare and identify insects and other arthropods from various habitats (park, forest, prairie, marsh)
  • During monarch migration (Sept.) tag monarch butterflies (weather and butterflies permitting)

Wisconsin Wildlife

  • Review basic animal classifications (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, arthropods)
  • Compare adaptations of local wildlife through hands-on examination of skulls, skins and tracks.
  • Learn about predator/prey relationships through games and discussions

3rd Grade Programs

(2 Hours)

Habitats & Adaptations

  • Identify basic components of a habitat
  • Visit & compare 2 different habitats in the area
  • ID 2 animals and their adaptations  - and deduce their preferred habitat

Tracking Predators and Prey

  • Define the concepts of population, predator, prey
  • Learn how to identify and use signs of wildlife
  • Discuss and try strategies for hiding & hunting
  • Participate in active predator/prey games

Cycles in Nature

  • Describe and give examples of food chains
  • Participate in activities about how living things depend on one another (food webs)
  • Investigate rotting logs and connect to renewal.

Wetland Wonders

  • Actively examine the plants and animals that live in area wetlands.
  • Use models to construct understanding of how wetlands are made and their value.

4th & 5th Grade Programs

(2 Hours)

Prairie & Forest (September/October)

  • Visit and compare prairie and forest habitats through active investigation of plant characteristics and native residents.

Basic Birding

  • Learn basic bird identification skills
  • Compare bird adaptations
  • Learn to use a field guide and binoculars
  • Identify 2 bird species

Marsh Mania (September/October & April-June)

  • Learn the value of marshlands through metaphor activity
  • Investigate human and animal uses of the area
  • Practice use of compass and maps

Snowshoeing (conditions permitting)

  • An active adventure available when snow conditions permit.

Middle-School Programs

Birds & Biodiversity (January/February)

  • Define biodiversity
  • List and explain three bird adaptations
  • Identify 2 bird species
  • Winter ecology and snowshoeing

Marsh Mania—Spring or Fall

  • GPS mapping—scavenger hunt
  • Marsh metaphor activity—The marsh is a …?
  • Mapping animal and human uses of the marsh
  • Orienteering—use of compass and maps

Prairie & Forest (September/October)

  • Identify prairie and forest habitats and recognize that prairies are an endangered habitat
  • Name 2 prairie plants and 2 forest plant adaptations
  • Identify 2 prairie plants and 2 forest plants

Cool Runnings—Winter Ecology

  • Observation skills and journaling
  • Snowshoeing (or hiking if no snow)
  • Photography with iPads
  • Study of the marsh in winter

Leave No Trace

  • Introduction to the 7 Leave No Trace Principles
  • Group discussion of survival essentials and strategies
  • Exploration of outdoor ethics with a group activity

Park Picassos

  • Sketch in nature and create natural dyes
  • Practice poetry skills and learn about the environmental functions of the La Crosse River Marsh
  • Create natural sculptures and discuss their relationship to effigy mounds in the Driftless Region

Foundations of the Driftless

  • Hike around the La Crosse River Marsh and learn about landforms
  • Learn about the effects of glaciation with an experiment
  • Simulate erosion caused by rivers and how it effects the surrounding landscape with a river erosion demonstration

Culture of the Marsh

  • Hike around Myrick Park and learn about the cultural history of Myrick Park and the La Crosse River Marsh
  • Discuss the significance of land acknowledgements
  • Compare and contrast colonial and pre-colonial perspectives about nature

Other Program Ideas or Build Your Own

Hydrology on the Banks of the La Crosse River

  • The watershed—maps and key concepts
  • Geography key concepts
  • Geology key concepts
  • Calculating flow rate

Guided Rope Marsh Walk

  • Group activity with blindfolds to use all senses except sight
  • Processing the experience
  • Written reflections
  • “The unforgettable #1 memory for kids”

Nature Protector Program

  • Invasive species education
  • Service learning component
  • Habitat restoration

HOPE program (Science of Climate Change)

  • HOPE = Helping Our Planet’s Environment
  • Stations on ecosystems, phenology, inventory, movement, art in nature

Experiencing the Science of the Wetlands

  • Biotic indexing
  • Water filtration experiment
  • Hands-on Project WILD: data collection
  • Value and uses of wetlands


  • Two-hour sessions—packaged as desired with maximum of 2 per day
  • Led by experts, linked to curriculum, tailored to classroom needs
  • Group size: tailored to a grade level experience of one or several classrooms

To reserve your day and time for any program or if you have questions, contact
Cindy Blobaum 608-782-2494 x234 or email

Fee: $5 per student.

Days and times programs are offered are limited, so contact us soon!


“My daughter loved it and we are still talking about it!! It was fun, safe, educational! It was very well organized and planned out.”

“The staff were personable and greeted my daughter by name. Lots of creative activities too. I highly recommend this program. We will definitely do it again!”

“My son loved his program and was sad when it was over.”