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.

Due to the high level of COVID numbers in Kalamazoo County, KNC staff will wear masks during indoor programs, both at KNC and offsite with community partners, and request participant masking during indoor programs at KNC and at offsite programs. Thank you for working together to keep our community healthy.

See the programs and details on planning your trip below. Please call the Registrar with any questions. We look forward to seeing you!

Up in the Air

Registration is now open for a special program to coincide with KNC’s exhibit, Up in the Air: Birds Navigating the Anthropocene:

Turkey VultureUp in the Air: Birds in our Changing World Special Edition Field Trip

Explore birds and their wonders through outdoor exploration and hands-on learning in the Up in the Air: Birds Navigating the Anthropocene exhibit at the KNC Visitor Center. Search for signs of birds and all of the things they need to survive, build a nest or bird feeder, plus meet a KNC Ambassador bird. Together, we will develop a better understanding of the needs and importance of birds in our world. 

This experience runs for 2 hours and is $265.00 per group of up to 30 students.  Learn more about the exhibit here >

 

 

Year-round Programs

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 

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: 

Snakes
Salamanders
Turtles
Eastern Screech Owl*
Barred Owl*
Red-Tailed Hawk*

Bugs (Insects and Non insects)
Opossum

*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 

 

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:  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 

 

Seasonal Programs

Fall Programs

Grade:  Upper elementary – middle school

When: September – November

Learn about how nature around us makes its autumnal transition through exploration, observation and hiking. Topics include bird migration, leaves changing colors, and decomposers 101!  

 

Grade: All Ages

Where: KNC’s DeLano Homestead

Activities vary based on both season and grade level, but this program is broken down into seasonal themes: Preparing for Winter (November-December) and Spring’s First Crop: Maple Sugaring (Feb-April). 

Special 2 hour program; cost is $265.

 

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.
 

Grade: 1st – 8th grades

When: Winter at your site 

Learn a little about all the wonderful ways animals survive winter. Topics include migration, hibernation, animal tracks, and winter far and fur. Animal included (turtle for brumation) 

 

Spring Programs

Grade: All Ages

Where: KNC’s DeLano Homestead

Activities vary based on both season and grade level, but this program is broken down into seasonal themes: Preparing for Winter (November-December) and Spring’s First Crop: Maple Sugaring (Feb-April). 

Special 2 hour program; cost is $265.

 

 

Grade: Upper Elementary and Middle School

When: Spring at KNC or at your site 

Investigate nature as it comes back to life after winter through exploration, experimentation, and hiking if at KNC. Topics include soil searching, wildflower and lifecycle, and animals in spring!  

 

Grade: All Ages

Where: at KNC

Walking tour on the Beech Maple trail ending at the Sugar Shack with syrup tasting.

Grade: All Ages

Where: KNC’s DeLano Homestead

Activities vary based on both season and grade level, but this program is broken down into seasonal themes: Preparing for Winter (November-December) and Spring’s First Crop: Maple Sugaring (Feb-April). 

Special 2 hour program; cost is $265.

 

 

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 

  • $200 fee per trip, with a maximum of 30 students in a class/group  
  • $60 non-refundable deposit required to hold date
  • Trips are 90 minutes unless otherwise noted.
  • Extended length trips are $265.00
  • One chaperone for every 5 students is recommended (teacher included) maximum of 10 chaperones per group
  • Teacher and recommended chaperones are free.   
  • Additional adults (beyond recommended number) 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 can be held indoors or 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 Kaitlyn Chilson at for more information. 

Off-site program fees:                                                                       

  • Within a 20-mile radius:  
    • $200.00 for up to 30 students (includes mileage)  
  • 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  (suitable for schoolyard environment)
  • 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 currently in training. Only certain birds of prey are available for various programs. Please check in with us regarding which ambassadors can program with your group.

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 Groups

Registration is required to qualify for the self-guided group rate. Please call (269) 381-1574 x 24 to register two weeks in advance of your visit, or register online here. 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.

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 + $40 program fee

For more information and to schedule your self-guided group, please call (269) 381-1574 x 24 or register for a self-guided group trip here >