Field Trips & Homeschool

At Blandford, children experience the wonder of nature in a fun, safe, and engaging environment

From guided field trips to homeschool programs, Blandford Nature Center has something for every curious student. Below you’ll find details about the variety of programs we offer for students of all ages in all educational settings.

School Field Trips

We offer in-person and virtual field trips and other customized program options to fit your needs for students in preschool through high school. Traditional in-person field trips takes place in Blandford’s 264 acres of forests, wetlands and meadows and offer an immersive experience getting students up close with nature and wildlife. If you are unable to come to us, we also offer live virtual field trips with a Blandford Educator.

In-Person Field Trips

The cost of a field trip is $7 per student per program, with a minimum program fee of $100. We require a minimum of 1 teacher or adult chaperone for every 5 students in attendance. These required chaperones are free. Extra adults are welcome at $3 each. Blandford Nature Center can host up to 60 students per program. If you have more than 60 students, you will need to book multiple days/times.

In-Person Field Trip Options:

Seasonal Habitat Series

Fall Wonders
September – November, 1.5 hrs
Explore the woods and fields to learn how plants and animals prepare for winter. The changing season inspires role-playing and sensory investigation of nature.

Winter Explorers
December – February, 1.5 hrs
Discover the beauty of winter and the secrets of animal survival during this cold season. Explore why some animals are active in the winter, why some sleep, and why some leave Michigan during these months.

Signs of Spring
April – May, 1.5 hrs
Spring is an amazing time of growth and change, and the evidence is all around us. Investigate with your senses and explore how and why plants and animals are waking up and becoming active in these warming months.

Standards: K-PS3-1, K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-1, K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: PS3.B, LS1.C, ESS2.E, ESS3.A

Other Pre-K & Kindergarten Programs

Whooo is an Owl?
September – May (except March), 1.5 hrs
Meet Blandford’s owls and learn about these amazing birds of prey and what makes them great night hunters. Students will explore the outdoor habitats of owls, dissect owl pellets, and explore the adaptations that help them survive here in Michigan.

Standards: K-LS1-1K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3-3
Core Ideas: LS1.C, ESS3.A

Focusing on the Farm Five
September – October / April May, 1.5 hrs
Investigate the Blandford Farm using your five senses! Learn what a seed needs to grow into a plant as you explore the sights, sounds and smells of the farm. You’ll meet Blandford’s resident farm animals and visit the Children’s Garden to see a working farm in action!

Standards: K-LS1-1K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: LS1.C, ESS2.E, ESS3.A

Animal Adaptations
September May (except March), 1.5 hrs
How do organisms survive and thrive in their environment? Students will learn about the special adaptations that help Michigan animals survive and interact with the world around them.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.D, LS4.C, LS4.D, PS1.A

Seeds & Plants
September November / April – May, 1.5 hrs
A focus on seed movement has students exploring woods and meadows and uncovering the secrets of plant and animal interdependence.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS1-1, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS2.A, LS4.C, LS4.D

Michigan Ecosystems
September November / April May, 1.5 hrs
Young biologists explore different Michigan ecosystems, searching for evidence of biodiverse food chains within these unique habitats. Program includes a close-up view of Blandford’s wildlife.

Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS2-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS2.C, LS2.D, LS3.B, LS4.B, LS4.C, LS4.D

Predator – Prey Simulation
September November / April May, 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 a part of the food chain, the value of camouflage, and other animal survival strategies.

Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS2-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS2.D, LS4.B, LS4.C, LS4.D

Snowy Survivors
December February, 1.5 or 2 hrs
Discover the secrets of winter animal survival and investigate how special characteristics help animals thrive during this cold and snowy season. Add snowshoes for a special 2-hour experience! Program is 1.5 hours without snowshoes; 2 hours with optional snowshoeing add-on.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.D, LS2.C, LS3.B, LS4.C, LS4.D

Birds of a Feather
April May, 1.5 hrs
Explore the amazing worlds of birds and the ways in which they call for mates, build nests, and raise their young. Students will identify distinguishing characteristics of birds, take a hike with binoculars, and meet one of our resident birds of prey.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS1.D, LS4.C, LS4.D

Wildlife with a Backbone
September May (except March), 1.5 hrs
Learn about the five vertebrate groups, including their unique physical characteristics and behaviors. Live animals, investigative activities, and games highlight the adaptations that different vertebrates use for protection, warmth, and food gathering.

Standards: 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.D

Ecosystem Energy
September October / April – May, 1.5 hrs
Follow the circular flow of energy through our environment, from the sun to the soil, into plants, animals, fungi and back to the earth. Students will explore this cycle through the lens of producers, consumers and decomposers.

Standards: 4-PS3-2, 5-PS3-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1
Core Ideas: PS3.B, PS3.D, LS1.C, LS2.A, LS2.B

Farming Comes Naturally
September October / April – May, 1.5 hrs
Investigate the interrelationships between a farm and the environment and discover how farmers use their understanding of the environment to maximize production. Students will visit our greenhouse, play games, learn about edible plant parts, and greet the resident farm animals!

Standards: 3-5-ETS1-1, 4-LS1-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ETS1.A, LS1.A, LS1.C, LS2.A, LS2.B, ESS2.A, ESS3.C

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

Standards: 3-5-ETS1-2, 4-ESS3-2, 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-2, 5-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.A, ESS2.C, ESS3.B, ESS3.C, ETS1.B

Anishinabek Lifeways
September May (except March), 1.5 hrs
The cultural heritage of West Michigan comes alive through hands‐on experiences with traditional tools and artifacts. Investigate how the seasons and resources of this area influenced the lives of Anishinaabe people over 400 years ago.

Booking Notes: Programs start at 90 minutes which includes an introduction and the four standard stations listed below. Additional 20-minute stations can be added for an additional fee per station.

Standard Stations:

  • Home Life (outdoor)
  • Hunting (indoor/outdoor)
  • Foraging & Tracking Hike (outdoor)
  • Agriculture (indoor)

Additional Stations:

  • Cordage (indoor)
  • Pine Dancers or Bowl Dice (indoor game)
  • Lacrosse or Snow Snakes (outdoor game)
  • Fishing (indoor/outdoor)

Social Studies Standards: K-G5.0.1, 1-H2.0.3, 1-H2.0.4, 1-G5.0.1, 3-H3.0.5, 3-H3.0.6, 3-G5.0.2, 5-U1.1.3

Pioneer Life
September May (except March), 1.5 hrs
Daily life in rural Michigan in the 1870s comes alive as we explore Blandford’s Historic Village. Students will hop back in time to visit an historic log cabin, one-room schoolhouse and blacksmith shop as they explore the tools, machines and toys of the era.

Booking Notes: Programs start at 90 minutes. A 20-minute games/recess station can be added for an additional fee.

Social Studies Standards: K-G5.0.1, 1-H2.0.3, 1-H2.0.4, 1-G5.0.1, 2-H2.0.4, 2-H2.0.6, 3-H3.0.5, 3-G5.0.2

Sugarbush
March Only, 1.5 hrs
Experience the science of maple syrup production in the heart of Blandford’s sugarbush! Identify maple trees and learn the history of maple syrup production through the centuries. Students will experience various methods of tapping, collecting, and boiling using real tools and will taste the sweet results of all of this hard work!

Standards: K-LS-1K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1
Social Studies Standards: K-G5.0.1, 1-G5.0.1, 3-H3.0.5, 3-G5.0.2

Contact us directly if you are interested in a specialized program for Middle or High School students. Some of our standard programs can be scaled up for older students, or we may be able to work with you to develop a customized program that fits the current curriculum and interests of your classroom. We also have 264 acres of biodiversity just waiting for your classroom research projects! For more information and to discuss ideas, please email our Program Manager, Heather Lewis, at heather@blandfordnaturecenter.org.

Virtual Programs

Can’t come to Blandford? We can bring a Blandford experience to you virtually! A Blandford Educator will present a 45-minute live virtual session with your classroom, using key “show and tell” items related to your program topic and will include time for questions and answers from your students.  Your virtual program package will also include pre- and post-program materials, which may include activities, worksheets, games, and links to virtual storybooks and videos. Virtual programs are available for $120. To book a virtual field trip, please choose a topic below and use the following form to submit a request:

Virtual lesson content and any supplemental activities shared with teachers are not to be copied, recorded, or distributed in any way after or before the program.

Virtual Program Options:

Michigan Wildlife, Habitats, and Adaptations
This is a customizable, virtual learning experience designed for Grades K-3. This program will focus on Michigan wildlife, their habitats, and the adaptations that make them particularly suited to life in Michigan. A Blandford Educator will present several of Blandford’s resident Wildlife Ambassadors as real-life examples of biodiversity and adaptations. Blandford staff will communicate with the teacher to plan and facilitate an experience that suits the science objectives and interests for that class. 

Anishinabek Lifeways
This is a customizable, virtual learning experience designed for Grades 3-5. This program focuses on the lives of the Indigenous Peoples of Michigan 400-500 years ago. The primary focus is how the Anishinabek used natural resources for daily survival and how they interacted with, adapted to, and modified the environment around them. A Blandford Educator will present various tools and artifacts of Anishinaabe culture, including the foods, plants, animals, and other natural resources that were commonly used in daily life.



GRPS 1st & 3rd Grade Field Trips

GRPS 1st & 3rd Grade Field Trips

Blandford Nature Center is pleased to partner with Grand Rapids Public Schools to ensure that every first and third grade student has a hands-on learning experience in nature. This program is made possible with generous funding from the Grand Rapids Public Schools Foundation. Our nature-based field trip programs are designed to meet Next Generation Science Standards. Using the 264 acres at Blandford, we seek to engage and empower students through hands-on educational experiences that can positively affect student outcomes and heighten their natural sense of inquiry.

To book a field trip, please choose a topic below and use the following form to submit a request:

GRPS 1st and 3rd Grade program options:

Animal Adaptations
September May (except March), 1.5 hrs
How do organisms survive and thrive in their environment? Students will learn about the special adaptations that help Michigan animals survive and interact with the world around them.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.D, LS4.C, LS4.D, PS1.A

Seeds & Plants
September November / April – May, 1.5 hrs
A focus on seed movement has students exploring woods and meadows and uncovering the secrets of plant and animal interdependence.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS1-1, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS2.A, LS4.C, LS4.D

Focusing on the Farm Five
September – October / April May, 1.5 hrs
Investigate the Blandford Farm using your five senses! Learn what a seed needs to grow into a plant as you explore the sights, sounds and smells of the farm. You’ll meet Blandford’s resident farm animals and visit the Children’s Garden to see a working farm in action!

Standards: K-LS1-1K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: LS1.C, ESS2.E, ESS3.A

Birds of a Feather
April May, 1.5 hrs
Explore the amazing worlds of birds and the ways in which they call for mates, build nests, and raise their young. Students will identify distinguishing characteristics of birds, take a hike with binoculars, and meet one of our resident birds of prey.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS1.D, LS4.C, LS4.D

Sugarbush
March Only, 1.5 hrs
Experience the science of maple syrup production in the heart of Blandford’s sugarbush! Identify maple trees and learn the history of maple syrup production through the centuries. Students will experience various methods of tapping, collecting, and boiling using real tools and will taste the sweet results of all of this hard work!

Standards: K-LS-1K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1
Social Studies Standards: K-G5.0.1, 1-G5.0.1, 3-H3.0.5, 3-G5.0.2

Michigan Ecosystems
September November / April May, 1.5 hrs
Young biologists explore different Michigan ecosystems, searching for evidence of biodiverse food chains within these unique habitats. Program includes a close-up view of Blandford’s wildlife.

Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS2-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
Core Ideas: LS2.C, LS2.D, LS3.B, LS4.B, LS4.C, LS4.D

Snowy Survivors
December February, 1.5 or 2 hrs
Discover the secrets of winter animal survival and investigate how special characteristics help animals thrive during this cold and snowy season. Add snowshoes for a special 2-hour experience! Program is 1.5 hours without snowshoes; 2 hours with optional snowshoeing add-on.

Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.D, LS2.C, LS3.B, LS4.C, LS4.D

Wildlife with a Backbone
September May (except March), 1.5 hrs
Learn about the five vertebrate groups, including their unique physical characteristics and behaviors. Live animals, investigative activities, and games highlight adaptations the different vertebrates use for protection, warmth, and food gathering.

Standards: 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1
Core Ideas: LS1.A, LS1.D

Sugarbush
March Only, 1.5 hrs
Experience the science of maple syrup production in the heart of Blandford’s sugarbush! Identify maple trees and learn the history of maple syrup production through the centuries. Students will experience various methods of tapping, collecting, and boiling using real tools and will taste the sweet results of all of this hard work!

Standards: K-LS-1K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1
Social Studies Standards: K-G5.0.1, 1-G5.0.1, 3-H3.0.5, 3-G5.0.2

Anishinabek Lifeways
September May (except March), 2 hrs
The cultural heritage of West Michigan comes alive through hands‐on experiences with traditional tools and artifacts. Investigate how the seasons and resources of this area influenced the lives of Anishinaabe people over 400 years ago. Students will explore the following stations during this 2-hour program:

  • Home Life (outdoor)
  • Hunting (indoor/outdoor)
  • Foraging & Tracking Hike (outdoor)
  • Agriculture (indoor)
  • Lacrosse/Snow Snakes (outdoor)

Social Studies Standards: K-G5.0.1, 1-H2.0.3, 1-H2.0.4, 1-G5.0.1, 3-H3.0.5, 3-H3.0.6, 3-G5.0.2, 5-U1.1.3

Homeschool Programs

Fall 2022 Homeschool Series

Homeschool field trips at Blandford immerse students in nature while engaging their curiosity and connection to the natural world. All of our programs are taught by our highly experienced and educated staff and are designed with modern science education standards in mind.

Programs are available for children ages 5-12, divided into three groups for age-appropriate content. We welcome up to five parent chaperones per group, especially for our youngest students who may need some extra assistance. Chaperones will be admitted on a first come, first served basis. Registration for chaperones is required, but there is no additional fee. For parents with multiple children who wish to chaperone, we strongly suggest registering with your youngest child, if space allows.

Each registration is sold as a package of three programs on the dates and times below. Please note that we have a minimum number of participants required for each age group. If we do not meet this minimum, that age group may be canceled or merged with another age group.

Program Dates & Topics:

September 28th | Farm Explorers – Explore the Blandford Farm during harvest season! Students will meet the farm animals and explore what it takes to run a working farm. Younger students will discover what a seed needs to grow into a plant, while older students will play games to learn what strategies a farmer uses to maximize production. Students may even get to taste some of our farm’s own produce!

October 26th | Predators & Prey – What does it take for an animal to survive in the wild? How does what an animal eats affect its behavior in the wild? We will discuss the typical physical and behavioral characteristics of predators vs. prey. Then we’ll head out into the woods to play games to understand the complex relationships between animals with different food strategies. 

November 16th | Pioneer Life – Daily life in rural Michigan in the 1870s comes alive as we explore Blandford’s Historic Village. Students will hop back in time to visit an historic log cabin, one-room schoolhouse, and blacksmith shop as they explore the tools, machines and toys of the era.

All programs are 1-2:30pm. Check-in takes place 10 minutes before the program starts in the Environmental Education Center on the main campus at 1715 Hillburn Ave NW, except the Farm Explorers (September 28th) program which will check in at the Blandford Farm located at 3145 Milo St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534.

Pricing & Registration:

Registration cost is $25/student for Members and $30/student for Non-Members and includes all three programs for the dates listed. A complete health form must be submitted during registration. Missed sessions will not be refunded. Sessions cancelled due to weather will be rescheduled if possible or a partial refund will be issued. Chaperones who register are required to attend all three session dates. Registration for Homeschool begins August 24, 2022 for both Members and Non-Members and will close on September 27, 2022. A minimum capacity must be reached for Homeschool programs to proceed. Follow the links below to register for this year’s homeschool series.

If you have any questions, please contact our Program Manager at 616-735-6240 or email registrar@blandfordnaturecenter.org.

Please check back in late winter 2023 for Spring Homeschool information!

School Partnerships

We are excited to offer partnerships with local schools to give all students at least one experience in nature every school year! These schools have all made a commitment to bring environmental learning into the classroom and to get students out to Blandford for experiential learning on our trails. In addition to field trips and Blandford on the Road programs, these schools benefit from early scheduling and discounted family memberships.

Northwest Co-op Preschool

West Side Christian School

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School

Great Start Readiness Program at CA Frost Elementary School

If you are interested in partnering with us to provide environmental learning opportunities to multiple classrooms at your school, please contact our Program Manager, Heather Lewis, at 616-735-6240 ext. 115 or email heather@blandfordnaturecenter.org.

Blandford on the Road

Blandford on the Road

If you are unable to bring your class to Blandford but still prefer an in-person program, let us bring the excitement to you! Check out our Blandford on the Road program options by visiting our Wildlife Experiences page.