Nature-based programs for middle school groups include:
Ecosystem Cycles and Connections
The Bernheim ecosystem includes many different plants, animals, and places. Students will explore three habitats – forest, pond, and prairie – and consider the organisms unique to each. Key concepts include structure and function, interdependent relationships in ecosystems, and ecosystem dynamics, functioning, and resilience.
Sustainable Thinking and Design
Based at Bernheim’s award winning LEED Platinum Visitor Center, this program introduces the concept of sustainability and demonstrates how nature can inspire good design. Students will also make connections between sustainability and key concepts of energy transformations, the water cycle, and human-nature interactions.
Weaving Art and Science through Nature
Experience Earth Measure, our massive sculpture that merges art and science! Students will explore sights and sounds of the piece, take a walk to compare the designs of other artwork, and use natural materials to construct their own sculpture. Key concepts include elements of design, structure and properties, and engineering practice.
Edible Garden Discovery
In addition to growing plants and food, our Edible Garden cultivates curiosity and learning! Students will rotate between hands-on activity stations as they discover how the garden can teach us exciting lessons in math, science, art, writing, and more.
Wilson Creek Ecology and Restoration
The Wilson Creek stream restoration site provides students the unique opportunity for hands-on study of stream ecology. In the past, humans straightened the creek to allow for farming; but in 2003, the channel was restored to its natural condition, creating a prime location for research, education, and natural management opportunities.
In addition to exploring the history and ecology of Wilson Creek (crawfish catching included!), students will also determine which factors contribute to stream health and investigate the ecological results of the initial restoration project. This field trip is perfect for groups who want to explore the heart of Bernheim by wearing their muck shoes, getting in the water, and digging up fascinating creatures.
Due to the remote location of Wilson Creek and the unique nature of this program, the following requirements must be considered:
- Time: Two hours
- Cost: $15 per student
- Group maximum: 60
- Other considerations: Following your arrival at the Visitor Center, additional transportation is required; school buses must be able to stay with school groups.
New Program: Hike to the Giants
Bernheim has been visited by a family of giants! Students will visit all three and discover both sides to their story: the magical fairytale and the history of their creation. The 2 mile hike to the giants winds through many habitats, providing opportunities to see a variety of plants and wildlife. Key concepts include sustainability, design, recycling, art, and nature. 1.5-2 hours; $15/student.
Self-guided trips are an option, but still need to be scheduled. Interested parties should contact Dan Pascucci for more information.
Time and Fee Considerations
- Most programs last one hour and can be scheduled year-round (exceptions noted)
- Program fees are $10 per student, with a group minimum of $100 (exceptions noted)
- There is no charge for teachers or chaperones, but a minimum of one adult is required for every 10 students
- Concerned about fees? Contact Nature-based Educator Dan Pascucci for assistance
Field Trip Planning
To learn more about Bernheim field trips, including how to schedule a visit, please see the Teacher Resources section of our website.