Field Trips & Homeschool

At Blandford Nature Center, we strive to have every child experience nature and wildlife in a fun, safe 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.

School Field Trips

Bring the wonder of Blandford Nature Center to your students by choosing from our in-person and virtual field options to fit your needs for students in preschool through sixth grade. We offer a traditional on-site field trip, where you and your students will join us at our 264-acres of forest, wetland, and meadow. Or, we can offer virtual lessons 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. To book a field trip, please use the form below:

Covid-19 Information: Beginning Monday, March 14th, masks will no longer be required while participating in programs indoors or outdoors. We will continue to monitor local COVID rates and may reinstate masking requirements for staff, general visitors, and program participants of all ages, regardless of vaccination status, when community health concerns arise. Please refer to our Covid-19 Policies & Procedures for more information.

See below for program options:

The changing seasons inspire sensory investigation and outdoor exploration that will help students answer the big questions: WHERE do plants and 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.

Standards: K-ESS2-2K-ESS3-1, K-PS3-1, K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A, ESS3.C

Other Pre-K & Kindergarten Programs

Whooo is an Owl?
September – June (except March), 1.5 hrs
Meet Blandford’s owls and learn about these amazing birds of prey and what makes the 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 / May – June, 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-ESS2-2K-LS1-1K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.D, LS1.C, ESS2.2, ESS3.C

Seeds & Plants
September – November / April – June, 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
October – November / April – June, 1.5 hrs
Young biologists explore different Michigan ecosystems, searching for evidence of biodiverse food chains within these unique habitats. Program includes an up-close view of Blandford’s wildlife.

Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS1-1, 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 – June, 1.5 hrs
What does it take for and 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 animal survival during the winter and how animal characteristics and adaptations help them thrive during this cold and snowy season. Program is 1.5 hours without snowshoes; 2 hours with snowshoes.

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 – June, 1.5 hrs
Discover the amazing worlds 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.

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

Animal Adaptations
September – June (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

Farming Comes Naturally
April – June, 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 greenhouses, 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

Ecosystem Energy
September – October / April – June, 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

Watershed Guardians
April – June, 1.5 hrs
Discover essential elements of a watershed and investigate key indicators of healthy waterways by evaluating biotic and abiotic factors. Students 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: ESS3.B, ESS2.A, ESS2.C, ESS3.C, ETS1.B

Wildlife with a Backbone
September – June (except March), 1.5 hrs
Learn about vertebrate groups, including their unique characteristics and habits. Live animals and hands-on props highlight adaptations the different vertebrates use for protection, warmth, and food gathering.

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

Anishinabek Lifeways
September-June, 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 and includes a 10 minute intro and four 20 minute stations which will introduce home life in a wigwam, hunting techniques, agriculture, and foraging.

Booking Notes: Programs start at 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.

Standard Stations:

  • Wigwam (outdoor sheltered)
  • Hunting (indoor/outdoor)
  • Forage & Tracking Hike (outdoor)
  • Agriculture (indoor)

Additional Stations:

  • Cordage (indoor)
  • Pine Dancers (indoor game)
  • Lacrosse (outdoor game)
  • Fishing (indoor)

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 – June (except March), 1.5 hrs
Students will be immersed in the rural life of a pioneer child in Michigan while visiting historic buildings and getting hands-on experience with machines and artifacts of pioneer times. Visit a log cabin, schoolhouse, and blacksmith shop as daily life in the late 1870s comes alive in Blandford’s Heritage Village.

Booking Notes: Programs start at 90 minutes. A 20 minute recess station can be added for a flat fee of $50.

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! Identify maple trees, collect data on forest health, and smell the sweet syrup cooking in the Sugarhouse. Practice modern methods of tapping, collecting, and boiling using real tools, then taste the sweet results.

Standards: K-ESS2-2K-LS-1K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A & ESS3.C

Virtual Programs

Our Virtual Programs are available for $120. Educators will come equipped with key “show and tell” items for students to explore virtually (via Zoom, Google Meet, etc.). The 45-minute live lesson will allow time for Q & A and any unanswered questions can be submitted alongside a teacher survey. In addition to the live lesson, supplemental learning documents will be provided to teachers and may include games, activity ideas, worksheets, and links to virtual storybooks and videos. Most materials will be able to be utilized by a teacher who may have children in class or given to students who may be learning from home. To book a virtual field trip, please use the form below:

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.

Michigan Wildlife, Habitat, and Adaptations
This is a customizable virtual learning experience geared (and scalable) for grades K-3. This program will focus on Michigan Wildlife, their habitats and life cycles, and the adaptations that make them particularly suited to life in Michigan. Blandford Nature Center’s Educators will serve as virtual guest speakers helping classroom teachers engage students with enriching environmental education learning. Blandford staff will collaborate with teachers individually to coordinate, plan, and facilitate an experience that suits the science objectives and interests for that class.

Anishinabek Lifeways
This is a customizable virtual learning experience 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. Blandford Educators will virtually present aspects of Anishinaabe life including the foods, plants, animals, and other natural resources that were commonly used.



Blandford on the Road

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

GRPS 1st & 3rd Grade Field Trips

GRPS 1st & 3rd Grade Partnership

Blandford Nature Center is pleased to partner with GRPS to ensure 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 state and Next Generation Science Standards. Using the 264 acres at BNC, we seek to engage and empower students through hands-on education experiences that can positively affect student outcomes and heighten their natural sense of inquiry. To book a field trip, please use one of the booking forms below:

Covid-19 Information: Beginning Monday, March 14th, masks will no longer be required while participating in programs indoors or outdoors. We will continue to monitor local COVID rates and may reinstate masking requirements for staff, general visitors, and program participants of all ages, regardless of vaccination status, when community health concerns arise. Please refer to our Covid-19 Policies & Procedures for more information.

See program options below:

Birds of a Feather
April – June, 1.5 hrs
Discover the amazing worlds 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.

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

Animal Adaptations
September – June (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 – June, 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 / May – June, 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-ESS2-2K-LS1-1K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.D, LS1.C, ESS2.2, ESS3.C

Sugarbush
March Only, 1.5 hrs
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, collecting, and boiling using real tools, then taste the sweet results.

Standards: K-ESS2-2K-LS-1K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A & ESS3.C

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

Standards: 2-LS4-1, 3-LS1-1, 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 animal survival during the winter and how animal characteristics and adaptations help them thrive during this cold and snowy season. Program is 1.5 hours without snowshoes; 2 hours with snowshoes.

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 – June (except March), 1.5 hrs
Learn about vertebrate groups, including their unique characteristics and habits. Live animals and hands-on props highlight adaptations the different vertebrates use for protection, warmth, and food gathering.

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

Sugarbush
March Only, 1.5 hrs
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, collecting, and boiling using real tools, then taste the sweet results.

Standards: K-ESS2-2K-LS-1K-ESS3-1
Core Ideas: ESS2.E, LS1.C, LS4.D, ESS3.A & ESS3.C

Anishinabek Lifeways
September – June, 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 and includes a 10 minute intro and four 20 minute stations which will introduce home life in a wigwam, hunting techniques, agriculture, and foraging.

Booking Notes: Programs start at 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.

Standard Stations:

  • Wigwam (outdoor sheltered)
  • Hunting (indoor/outdoor)
  • Forage & Tracking Hike (outdoor)
  • Agriculture (indoor)

Additional Stations:

  • Cordage (indoor)
  • Pine Dancers (indoor game)
  • Lacrosse (outdoor game)
  • Fishing (indoor)

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

Boy in Creek
HOMESCHOOL PROGRAMS

Registration is now open for 2022 Spring 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:

March 30 – Sugarbush
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, collecting, and boiling using real tools, then taste the sweet results.

April 27 – Wildlife with a Backbone
Learn about vertebrate groups, including their unique characteristics and habits! Live animals and hands-on props highlight adaptations the different vertebrates use for protection, warmth, and food gathering.

May 25 – Aquatic Explorers
Explore Blandford’s aquatic habitats and the insects and animals that make their homes in the water! We will visit the creek and ponds, meet some of Blandford’s water-dwelling ambassador animals, and check out the tiny creatures who inhabit our waters as we discuss healthy waterways and what we can do to keep them clean.

All programs are 1-2:30pm. Check-in takes place 10 minutes before the program starts in the Environmental Education Center.


Registration Information:

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 March 1, 2022 for both Members and Non-Members and will close on March 28, 2022. A minimum capacity must be reached for Homeschool programs to proceed.

Covid-19 Information:

Beginning Monday, March 14th, masks will no longer be required while participating in programs indoors or outdoors. We will continue to monitor local COVID rates and may reinstate masking requirements for staff, general visitors, and program participants of all ages, regardless of vaccination status, when community health concerns arise. Please refer to our Covid-19 Policies & Procedures for more information.

For any remaining questions about our Spring Homeschool Series, please contact our Program Manager at registrar@blandfordnaturecenter.org or call (616) 735-6240 .

Please check back in late summer 2022 for Fall Homeschool information!