Spring Programs

Spring 2016 registration begins April 12 with programs running April 26 – June 3.  SIGN-UP INFO HERE


Animal Homes Discoveries (PreK) This program is designed to engage young children’s fascination and curiosity of animals and where they live I in the wild while building upon observation skills through a fun story and guided walk. While looking up, on the ground, under logs and behind trees, children will gain an awareness of why animals build homes and what materials they use to do so. (45 minutes)

To Be a Tree (Pre-K) By pretending to be a tree, children will gain an awareness of a tree’s structure and functions. Children will learn how each part of a tree plays a role in helping it to function. Developmental components of this program include music, movement comparing, identifying and interactive play. (45 minutes)

Sharpening the Senses (K-1) Students benefit from directed observation of nature. Their curiosity about everything around them is evident, and their interest in nature is keen. This nature hike is designed to enhance a student’s awareness of the five senses and the ways they can be used to gather information about our natural world. (45 minutes)

Healthy Habitats (1-3) With a focus on the five necessary elements needed for a healthy habitat; food, water, shelter, space and air, students will explore and compare 3 or more  habitats.  With help from catagory cards, students will be “set loose” to actively search for all of the elements required for a healthy habitat. (1 hour) 

Buggin’ Out (1-3) Explore the world of insects, bugs, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and crustaceans by collecting and examining a variety of invertebrates during this active hike. Students are provided with bug boxes and will be guided on a hunt for insects and other similar creatures. The naturalist will then gather the group together to look at everyone’s discoveries and discuss adaptations and special habits of the many-legged critters. Discussions include habitats, comparisons of insects to non-insects, and collection techniques safe for both critter and student. (1 hour)

Everybody Eats (1-3) This hike focuses on food chains, animal habitats, and the transfer of the sun’s energy to all living things. Students are asked to take on the role of different parts of the food chain and to create a chain using other members of their class. During the hike they may search for examples of food from the different habitats they visit and discuss the roles of both predator and prey within a chain. (1 hour)

Purely Plants (3-4) This program focuses mainly on the importance of plants and their parts and functions. We will also take a closer look at the adaptations of plants and methods of seed dispersal on this hike. (1 hour)

Dirt Makers (3-5) Roll over logs and meet vitally important members of the ecosystem—the decomposers! Learn more about the variety of critters whose job it is to transform decaying material into rich soil. A note-taking or journaling component can easily be added by request for additional scientific observation. A worksheet activity is included to assist students on their endeavor. (1 hour)

Life in Water (3-5)  Using field guides and magnifying lenses to identify various aquatic insects, students observe the numerous adaptations of water dwellers, the diversity of life found in water, and the importance of aquatic habitats. We’ll discuss how aquatic life determines water quality and how the food chain extends to underwater habitats. (1.5 hours)

Spring Sprouts (4-6) Through identifying common wildflowers and spring plants, students learn the parts of a flower and their functions. Discussion includes how plants use their different characteristics to achieve pollination. Field guides and journals may also be provided upon request to increase observation and understanding. (1 hour)

Nature Study (5-8) Students combine personal observations and creativity while using the beauty of the natural world for inspiration. Students use a guiding worksheet to observe their surroundings. The worksheet focuses on the senses, micro and macro biology, general ecology, and some language arts. Teachers can then use the worksheet to assist other related units in the classroom. (1 to 1.5 hours depending on age)

Orienteering (6-12) *Fall & Spring The Ransom Nature Preserve near Charlevoix features the Conservancy Orienteering course. Bring your class out to learn how to use a compass and explore this beautiful upland preserve with rolling hills and scenic vistas. Students enjoy the challenge of “bushwhacking” through forest and field and the thrill of success when they discover their route marker. NOTE: During this program, your class will be divided into teams of four or five students and an adult leader should be available for each team. *This program requires the completion of pre-visit activities sent with the confirmation packet. A classroom visit by a Conservancy Naturalist prior to your outing is also available and recommended. (approx. 2 hours)

Spring Navigation (5-12)  Use a compass to create a map while enjoying signs of spring in northern Michigan. Students will be challenged to use their self-created maps to find their way back. A nice addition to a unit on early explorers. This program is also a good follow-up to the Conservancy’s fall orienteering course. *Orienteering course also available upon request at Ransom Preserve (Charlevoix County). (1.5 hour)

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