Nature Express bus funding works in one of two ways:

Nature Connections: Schedule two thematically-related field trips to any Nature Net site/s and receive funds towards your second bus trip (see below).

Nature Mentor: recruit a fellow teacher to join your class for their first Nature Net field trip, and share a bus fee!

Complete an on-line application to receive up to $80/bus to offset the bus expense for your second trip (or your shared mentor trip). Funds are limited, so apply now!

Nature Connections

Nature Connections encourages thematically-related field trips to Nature Net sites. This program offers transportation assistance and helps make students’ field trips more meaningful through experiences which build upon each other. Connected field trip topics and experiences can support and enrich in-class curricula, creating a continuous learning experience.

Below are some suggestions for topically-related field trip sequences. These suggestions, however, are only a beginning.  Let your imagination and classroom needs dictate your Nature Connection.  Call or e-mail your unique ideas and we will be happy to discuss them with you.

Plus, Nature Connections power Nature Express, which provides bus transportation reimbursement for qualified teachers.


A partial list of examples of Nature Connections field trips:

  • Study tropical plants at Olbrich Gardens, then discover the similarities and differences in native plants at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center
  • See and learn about threatened exotic animal species at Vilas Zoo, then see and learn about threatened native animal species at MacKenzie Environmental Center.
  • Study geology at the UW Geology Museum, then compare natural geology and habitats at School Forest or Bethel Horizons Nature Center (non-glaciated area), with those at Owen Park or UW Arboretum (glaciated area).
  • Learn about water quality during a visit to the Madison Children’s Museum, then conduct water quality experiments in the wetlands of the Madison Conservation Parks or of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.
  • Explore Wisconsin native habitats at UW Arboretum, then study their animal inhabitants at Vilas Zoo or MacKenzie Environmental Center.
  • Compare the various prairie and wetlands restoration techniques and land management efforts at the UW Arboretum, Dane County Parks, Madison Conservation Parks, and School Forest.
  • Identify birds and their sounds at the UW Arboretum or Cherokee Marsh, then identify cranes at the International Crane Foundation.
  • Learn about the rainforest at the Madison Children’s Museum, then explore the tropical conservatory at Olbrich Gardens.
  • Study different gardening techniques at Olbrich Gardens, UW Arboretum, and Madison Children’s Museum.
  • Listen to night sounds and observe the night sky during an overnight trip to MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, then compare the day and night sounds and sights in Dane County Parks, Madison Conservation Parks, UW Arboretum, or Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

See our full list of partners here

It is recommended that these sequences of two or more field trips be scheduled on separate days or at different times of the school year; this allows time to integrate the experiences into your curriculum.