Field Trips are offered in Fall, Winter, and Spring!
Learning occurs naturally during our environmental education programs! Most programs fit well into a 90-minute program, but some can be adjusted to allow for longer exploration, additional activities, or more in-depth investigation. Click here for Field Trip program fees and logistics.
Animal and Plant Adaptations
Plants and animals end up with new and ultimately successful ways of solving problems brought about by the shifting conditions where they live. Solving problems by creating new ways of meeting change is the essence of adaptation. Explorations, observations, and discussions will center around adaptations of Wisconsin plants and animals and the necessary interconnectedness for survival.
Climate Patterns and Change
The rhythms of nature are shifting. Students will have the opportunity to record weather data, plant and animal observations, and compare their records with historical seasonal patterns recorded by the Leopold family. Through a hands-on activity, students will role play the carbon cycle to help recognize the cycle’s imbalance and causes that researchers have attributed to the rapid change in climate. We will work together to innovate and create solutions to mitigate climate change.
Food Chains and Food Webs
Worms recycle, groundhogs conserve energy, and plants convert sunlight into sugar! Students will observe the principles of energy at work all around them as we turn over logs, dig into the soil, and dip nets in the pond. A hike through ALNC’s habitats will give students up close observations of the interconnectedness of Wisconsin’s plants and animals.
Glaciers: Past, Present, and Future
Wisconsin is one of the best places to witness many of the landforms created by continental glaciation. The last Ice Age, known as Wisconsin Glaciation, ended approximately 10,000 years ago and is responsible for much of Wisconsin’s landscape today. Students will hike a glacial drumlin to experience the local result of glaciation. Students will get their hands on a “model” glacier to closely observe the influence glacial meltwaters have on the land. Students and Educators will discuss how the earth’s glaciers are currently changing and the mitigating efforts to adapt to those changes.
When available, a NOAA database will be viewed on ALNC’s Science on the Sphere to witness the effect climate change has on glaciers and the ramifications of melting ice.
Students learn about the Leopold family’s legacy and how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic has influenced conservation efforts today. Students will explore the interconnected ecosystems of the ALNC woods, wetlands, and prairie, journal their observations, and then compare those observations to phenological records. Discussions will include present day environmentalists inspiring today’s youth and tomorrow’s generation.
Maple Syruping in Wisconsin
Early Spring in Wisconsin! Students will experience the magic of maple syruping and why Wisconsin has the perfect climate “recipe” for sugaring! Students will learn basic tree identification, the science of sap flow, try tools to “tap a tree” and learn the history of maple syruping in Wisconsin. Students will watch sap cook down to gain a greater understanding of why the Sugar Maple is the top tree to tap!
The North Star, moss on the north side of a tree, the sun rises in the east, all manners of finding our way. ALNC has two program options to match the skill levels of students:
Introduction to Mapping This program introduces students to a variety of maps, use of the compass rose and legend. Students will use these skills on an ALNC map scavenger hunt to find “nature treasures”. Introduction of compass is included.
Orienteering This program has students learning the basic skills of orienteering. Students will learn the parts of a compass, how to use it properly, and then practice on ALNC’s course. Students will also learn techniques necessary to build their own orienteering course.
Anyone could find themselves in a situation where they need to use survival skills. Not only must we respect natural forces but also learn what nature provides to help us survive. Students will learn how to dress appropriately, pack a survival kit, and work cooperatively to develop a strategy when faced with a crisis situation. Outdoors, the students work in teams to build a fire, boil water, and make a debris shelter.
Seasonal Science and Discovery
Wisconsin is geographically located to experience the dynamic changes of four seasons. Through phenological records the Leopold family tracked those changes. Scientists refer to those records to compare current occurrences in nature. During this field trip students will be the scientists recording their observations as they explore the ALNC landscape.
Snowshoeing is a great way to experience the sights and sounds of nature in Winter. After introducing the history of snowshoeing and learning about various styles, each student will have the opportunity to hike the ALNC grounds in snowshoes! We’ll head out across the snow-covered landscape and practice basic snowshoeing skills and techniques. Along the hike, we’ll search for animal tracks and discuss the science and nature of snowshoeing.
Sit ski available for students with physical disabilities, giving them an opportunity to get outside and explore the snow packed trails alongside their classmates!
ALNC is located on land with a rich cultural history of people living in concert with nature. Students will learn about life before modern conveniences; challenges faced, problems solved, and lessons learned. Hands-on activities will include seasonal harvest, food preparation, household chores, and games.
This program provides an opportunity for discussion on the importance of staying in touch with the natural world as each generation faces their own challenges, solves problems, and learns lessons.
Aquatic nymphs, calling frogs, silent turtles, nesting birds and plants with wet feet are all possible discoveries in this wetland adventure. Students will be introduced to ALNC’s interconnected-wetland community through hands-on activities as they explore and learn why wetlands are referred to as one of the most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems in the world.