School and group programs are currently at capacity for the 2022 school year. Check back in June for summer program availability.

Interested summer or fall field trips? Fill out a Program Inquiry Form here and we’ll be in touch to help you plan your trip!

School & Group Programs are back!

Give your classroom or community group a one-of-a-kind experience with KNC. Check out the programs below to learn more about KNC’s educational offerings. Bring your group for a field trip to KNC, or we’ll come to your location.

Program Descriptions

Grade:  All ages, but specifically well-suited for PreK-First grade 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or anytime at your site  

Investigate many of nature’s wonders using your five senses and gain a new perspective. Observe the colors, shapes, patterns and textures of natural objects and get curious about the world around you! 

Topics: Living & non-living, observations, questions & patterns, senses 

Grade: Kindergarten-3rd grade 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or anytime at your site 

Explore the natural space around you by focusing on birds. Search for signs of birds and all of the things they need to survive, build a bird nest, and play a migration game. Develop a better understanding of the needs and importance of birds in our world.
Topics: Animal needs and characteristics, survival challenges, adaptation and diversity  

When: Winter at KNC or Anytime at Your Site 

They’re green and all around us, but often overlooked. Take a closer look at plants with KNC, learning about what plants need to grow, how they grow, their different parts and why they’re so important.
Topics: Earth materials, living and non-living, plant parts, seeds, seed transportation 

Grade:  1st-3rd grade 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or Anytime at Your Site 

Insects may be small, but they can be found thriving in diverse and amazing habitats. Learn what sets insects apart from other bugs by learning about their different characteristics and the life cycle of an insect. Catch your own bug and compare it to what you’ve learned about insects.  Meet a live bug brought by the educator.  

Topics: insects, insect body parts, life cycle, adaptations, metamorphosis  

Grade: All ages 

When: Anytime at KNC or Anytime at Your Site 

Indoors portion in cold weather 

Learn about the habitats, diets, and adaptations of our animal ambassadors. Get an up-close look at different bio facts and meet a live animal(s) handled by one of our trained educators. Programs include a related story and craft you will get to take home with you.  

Ambassadors to choose from: 

Eastern Screech Owl*
Barred Owl*
Red-Tailed Hawk*

Bugs (Insects and Non insects)

*currently onsite only 


Grade: 1st-3rd grade 

When: Fall/Spring at KNC or Anytime at Your Site 

Learn about parts of a tree and their function.  In the woods, we will examine each stage of a tree’s life.  As we move through the tree’s life cycle, learn how each stage is important in its growth and how each stage contributes to the forest habitat in which it lives.  Discuss why and how we should preserve a healthy and well balanced forest. 

Topics: form and function, energy flow, photosynthesis, ecosystem 

Grade: 1st–3rd grade 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or anytime at your site 

We are on a search for seed travelers! Discover the secrets of the plant life cycle, how they grow and reproduce, and why a plant’s flowers and seeds are so different. 

Topics: Animal and plant needs, life cycle, plant characteristics, plant parts and importance of sunlight (photosynthesis) 



Grade:  All ages 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or Anytime at Your Site 

Learn how the practice of paying attention to the present moment can train your brain to focus. Learn how nature can help you be mindful.  Practice breathing and noticing outdoors. Practice a mindfulness art technique called Zentangle that helps promote mindfulness, calm and focus.  

Topics:  Mindfulness, brain function/focus, calming techniques, benefits of nature on nervous system, Zentangle introduction 


Grade: 1st – 5th grade 

When:  Fall/Spring at KNC * 

Travel back in time to a historic 1850’s homestead to learn how settlers used domesticated animals and natural resources to make a life. From cabin to farmhouse, help with seasonal chores, use 19th-century tools, and take part in living history!  

* Activities vary based on both season and grade level. Program is broken down into four main seasonal themes: Fall Harvest (Sept-October), Preparing for Winter (November-December), Spring’s First Crop: Maple Sugaring (Feb-March tentative for 2022), Spring/Summer Farming (April-June). 

*Currently running with very limited availability, as the program is adjusted to smaller group sizes to accommodate COVID precautions. Thanks for your patience as we strive to provide the best programs possible. 

Topics: Chronological thinking, family life in the past, historical narrative, use of environment, Natural Resources, Lifestyles over time, environmental impact, Culture, Michigan and US History 

Grade: All 

When:  March at KNC 

Hike to the sugar bush and learn how a maple forest helps us make liquid gold! Visit the sugar house, smell the sap boiling and taste real Michigan maple syrup. Activities vary based on age. 

Topics: Plant needs, parts and life cycle, solar energy & seasons, biotic/abiotic components, Michigan history and natural resources. 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or Anytime at Your Site 

Learn about carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores using actual animal artifacts.  Students will have the opportunity to observe and feel various animal furs and skulls to identify and differentiate various mammals in Michigan.
Topics: carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, animal adaptations, animal tracks 

Grade: 4th-6th grade
When: Fall/Spring at KNC or Anytime at Your Site
Discover some of our most important natural resources from water and timber to rocks and minerals. Learn where they come from and how we depend on them. Onsite, focus on how our landscape was formed long ago by glaciers, and what clues to our past we can find in the very rocks around us!
Topics: Local geography, maps, identification of natural resources, human use of natural resources, renewable vs nonrenewable resources, Michigan history 

Grade: All Ages 

When: Anytime at KNC*  

Experience the living stories of Michigan raptors in our Bird of Prey special. Our animal handler/educator will take the audience into the minds and habits of these unique birds, and explore how their stories are not so separate from our own.  

Topics: animal needs, adaptations, habitats, human impact
* currently onsite only. Please check back soon for a time when we begin bringing the birds to offsite programs. 


Grade:  4th–5th grade or 1st–3rd grade (2 versions) 

When: Fall/Winter/Spring at KNC or anytime at your site 

Build a food chain from the ground up and follow the flow of energy from producers to consumers and from sunlight into soil. Get active, meet a live animal and discover who eats whom in the forest.  

Topics: Flow of energy, trophic levels, food chain components, habitat characteristics, environmental changes, animal traits & survival 


Kids at Farm
Broad Winged Hawk
Heronwood Field Station

On-site Program Fees

Financial assistance may be available for schools/programs with a high percentage of free and reduced lunch students. Please contact Jen Rice for more information. 

On-site programs last for approximately 1 ½ hours and include a guided hike or outdoor movement activity. Groups are welcome to stay on KNC’s campus after their program to take a self-guided hike, play or eat lunch. Please let us know your plans. 

Program Fees 

  • $6/student with a maximum of 30 students in a class/group  
  • $60 minimum fee  
  • One chaperone for every 5 students is required (teacher is included) 
  • Teacher and required Chaperones are free.   
  • Additional adults or non-infant siblings are $5/person  

On-site Program Add-ons  

  • Self-guided Scavenger Hunt materials: $10/program  
  • Animal Ambassadors
    • Primary animals include: amphibians, reptiles, insects, and mammals 
      • 1-2 primary animals or mammals: $30/program  
    • Birds of Prey include: Raptors and Owls 
      • 1 Bird of Prey: $50/program  

10% discount will be applied if you book 2 or more class/programs for the same day. A maximum of 4 classes/programs can be accommodated in one day.  

Programs are held outside so please come prepared for the weather!  

Off-site Program Fees

Off-site programs are approximately 1 hour and are held outdoors. Please dress for the weather.

Financial assistance may be available for schools/programs with a high percentage of free and reduced lunch students. Please contact Jen Rice for more information. 

Off-site program fees:                                                                       

  • Within a 20-mile radius:  
    • $200.00 for up to 30 students   
  • Outside 20-mile radius:  
    • Add $15 for each additional 10 miles outside the radius  

Off-site Program Add-ons 

  • Self-guided Scavenger Hunt materials: $10/program  
  • Animal Ambassadors:
    • Primary animals: amphibians, reptiles and insects
      • 1-2 primary animals: $40/program  
    • Mammals (off-site): Opossums
      • 1 Mammal: $60/program  
    • Birds of Prey: Raptors and Owls*

      • 1 Bird of Prey: $75/program

*Our Birds of Prey Animal Ambassadors are not currently available for off-site travel. Please check back soon.

Our Pop-up Programs are also available at a lower price on your site with groups of 10 or less.  These programs are great for birthday parties or small daycare groups. Learn more here >

Self-Guided Group Rates

  • Youth Self-Guided Group Tour (daycare groups, etc): $3.50 per child (paid staff and members are free)
  • Adults Self-Guided Group Tour: $5.00 per person
  • Guided Group Tour (up to 25 people): $4.00 per person + $30 program fee

To qualify for the group rate there must be a minimum of 10 people who are part of an organized group. The minimum fee is charged if fewer than 10 people come. ($35 for a children’s group and $50 for an adult group). Group rates are NOT available for festivals or special events. Please call (269) 381-1574 x24 to register two weeks in advance of your visit.

Special Winter Programs

Grade:  All ages

When: Winter at KNC or anytime at your site  

Animal prints can be found moist and wet places throughout the year, but winter is the best time to learn about how animal paws help them survive during cold temperatures. Learn about different types of animal paws, how animals adapt for winter, and what types of walking patterns animals create. We will also go on an animal tracks exploration to see what we can find and even leave our own tracks (with shoes on, of course).


Grade: 1st – 8th grades

When: Winter at KNC or anytime at your site 

Fat and fur? These are adaptions animal use to survive winter.Animals stock up on food during the fall to add extra layers off at as insulation for the coming winter. Their fur acts as a coat to help add another barrier to the cold. Explorers will learn about how animals utilize their fat and fur to help them survive during winter. Examine animal pelts and other biofacts to see how these adaptations help animals hunt and camouflage during snowy months. Lessons at KNC include a guided hike.

Grade: 1st – 8th grades

When: Winter at KNC or anytime at your site 

Hibernation is a term used to describe when animals conserve energy and rely on stored fat by sleeping during the winter months. But hibernation is much more complex than that! Bring your students, or allow us to come to you, for a lesson on the different types of hibernation—true hibernators, torpor, and brumation. Lessons at KNC include a guided hike.

Grade: 1st – 8th grades

When: Winter at KNC or anytime at your site 

Many trees drop their leaves during the fall, but what happens when winter comes? Come to KNC for a tour of trees during the winter. Learn about evergreen trees and what happens to trees when they don’t have leaves. Our lesson will focus on winter tree Identification and anatomy. This lesson includes a guided hike with tree ID materials.

Safety Guidelines

When registering for and/or attending a public program, please keep KNC’s expectations in mind:

  • Staff and visitors are recommended to practice social distancing at all times, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Masks are recommended, but not required, inside the Visitor Center.
  • Masks are required in the KNC Camp Barn during youth programs for ages 3 and over.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in all buildings and at all programs, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Prior to arriving at KNC, participants should monitor their health for signs of COVID-19. If you show any signs of illness, please stay home.
  • In the case of inclement weather, outdoor programs may be cancelled.


Red squirrel