Outdoor School Programs

An Environmental Education Event

Ever give a high-five to a duck? How about see the world from a bug’s eye view using a magnifying glass? Use a microscope to investigate who lives in the soil? Our outdoor environmental education programs for classrooms are a fun way to incorporate science skills and outdoor fun into your class’s day!

Choose from a variety of programs tailored to meet your classroom objectives and interests! We offer environmental education experiences including live animal presentations, hands-on learning with naturalist tools, prairie ecology studies, and so much more. All class materials are provided by SELC, and brought to your school for your class!

All school-based environmental education programs run at a special discounted rate of $6.00/student for 3 hours of programming or less, and $8.00/student for 3 hours of programming or over, plus mileage to and from your school. Call or email our Environmental Education Director, Katie Chapman, at 507-763-3567; katie@shetek.org for more information!  (Different rates for snowshoeing/cross country skiing.  See below.)

Bookings run throughout the school year, until Memorial Day Weekend. Holidays and other observed days off will not be available for booking.

All appropriate procedures for mitigating the risk of COVID-19 will be followed according to school policies.

Please see our options below for programs currently offered for schools. All school-oriented programs are one hour in length but you may do more than one program. Our outdoor environmental education programs are designed with Covid-related restrictions in mind. All class materials used are single-use, or easily sanitized between users, and will be provided by Shetek Environmental Learning Center. Classes are aligned to a variety of Minnesota state standards and are available upon request. We will practice safety measures such as physical distancing and sanitizing hygiene during classes. If we are unable to come to your school due to illness or other conflict, rescheduling is easy and flexible!

From Trees to Pancakes – Making Maple Syrup – (Grades K-12)  (Available March 6th-April 14th, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 10am-1pm)
Maple Field Trip Fees are $5/student
Making delicious maple syrup is a favorite pastime at Shetek! Students will learn to identify maple trees and how to tap them. Students will also learn about the process of making maple syrup and current tapping operations at Shetek. If you have maple trees that you would like tapped at your site, we can work on that together – contact Katie at Katie@shetek.org to learn more! Stories, songs, crafts, and other activities will also engage students in this multidisciplinary adventure.
Maple Field Trip Schedule:
10:00-10:15am: Welcome and Introductions
10:15-11:00am: Maple Tree Science
11:00am-12:00pm: Lunch and Free Play
12:00-1:00pm: Maple Syrup Making
Minnesota Water Birds – Live Animal Program* (Grades PreK-12)
Learn about birds who make their homes in the diverse aquatic habitats Minnesota has to offer! You’ll meet the camp ducks and study their many adaptations for survival, create a fun waterfowl craft, and much more. Minnesota water bird handouts will be provided.
Aquatic Invasives (Grades 3-6)
Focusing on zebra mussels, this activity will help students discover freshwater ecosystems and what happens when an invasive species is introduced. Students will play a game highlighting the competitive relationship between native mussels and zebra mussels. Handouts on Minnesota aquatic invasive species will be provided.
Shetek Water Quality (Available May, September and October only) (Grades 3-12)
Students will use testing kits and other methods to study the water quality of Lake Shetek. Students will also discuss freshwater ecosystems and how macroinvertebrates contribute to understanding the many influences that affect Shetek’s waters.
Tree Studies (Grades PreK-12)
Shetek is home to more than 25 species of trees! Students will learn how to properly identify several local tree species (including an invasive!) and study the different layers and parts of trees. Students will discuss the role of trees in Minnesota ecosystems and our statewide economy. Handouts on MN tree species are provided.
Prairie Creepy Crawlies – Live Animal Program* (Grades PreK-12)
Students will learn about a variety of prairie insects and arachnids, and their roles in a healthy ecosystem. Students will practice observation and identification using naturalist tools and guidebooks. This program also includes a fun insect craft!
Prairie Animal Rescue! – (Grades 3-6)
Minnesota’s endangered, threatened, and special concern species are protected in many ways. Laws prevent the harvest and sale of these species, as well as protect the habitats in which these species reside. However, threats such as poaching and other illegal endeavors can greatly affect the populations of these species. In this game, your Prairie Animal Rescue team will identify the identity and habitat of the species, and unlock a series of clues to reveal the poachers’ secret location! This game is for ages 4th grade and older. Be prepared for a fun brain challenge as you race to save the creatures (and avoid the poachers)!
Snow Science – (Grades PreK-12)
Snow is so cool! Use microscopes and hand lenses to explore delicate snow crystals, use spray bottles to create rainbow snow murals, and even create snow volcanoes! Snow science handouts provided. 
Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing – (Grades 3-12)
Get out of the classroom and stretch your legs on cross country skis or snowshoes in the new fallen snow! All equipment provided, from poles to snowshoes/skis, along with instruction. Snow depth requirement of 3″ or more, and no more than 25 students per class time in order to ensure gear availability for all students. 
$25/session for instruction, plus $2.50 per pair of snowshoes/skis. Ski rentals also include boots and poles. Snowshoe rentals do not generally include poles — please note in your inquiry if you’d like poles to be included with any snowshoe rental. 
* If You Choose a Live Animal Program:
Shetek Environmental Learning Center is home to several native and domesticated species, all experienced and comfortable with meeting kids!  Our live animal programs are very exciting for all participants. Several guidelines must be followed to ensure the safety of both participants and SELC animals. If these guidelines cannot be followed, SELC reserves the right to end the live animal program in order to keep both the participants and animals safe. Any participant animal allergies must be reported to the Director prior to your visit.
SELC provides live animals visits to all venues. Our animal friends travel well and are very accustomed to gentle interactions with participants. Participants must abide by these guidelines in order to ensure a productive and educational experience: 1) Participants may not touch animals or their enclosures without permission. 2) Participants must remain quiet and respectful of the animals and instructors. 3) Any touches must be gentle, and as directed by the instructors. SELC animals include birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians! 


Environmental Education Events

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