Nature Connections: Schedule two thematically-related field trips to any Nature Net site/s and receive funds towards your second bus trip (see examples below).
Nature Mentor: recruit a fellow teacher to join your class for their first Nature Net field trip (find out why this is important below).
Grant recipients 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!
What is Nature Connections
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.
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.
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.
What is Nature Mentor
A Nature Mentor is a teacher or administrator who leads the path to future Nature Net field trips. If a new teacher joins the profession, is new to the Nature Net area, your school, or your grade level team, they may not be familiar with Nature Net sites and all that they offer.
You are a Nature Mentor if you invite this new teacher on your field trip experience and help them learn the value of your trip – and just how easy it is to get outdoors and learn! Nature Mentors must visit a Nature Net site, bring a new teacher along, and submit a written statement of how new teachers will benefit from the experience.
Our hope is to foster in new teachers a tradition of visiting Nature Net sites and an understanding of how field experiences can easily tie into existing curricula and school-year calendars.
See our full list where you can go with Nature Express