Outdoor field trips can now be scheduled for groups of 60 or less. Please check back for updates.
Field Trips are designed to engage youth in hands-on learning about the natural world. The programs offer a focus on wetlands, local wildlife and plants, stewardship, and conservation.
Scholarships are available for field trips, outreach, and busing fees. Please indicate in the comment box if you need a scholarship.
This is a general study on adaptations. Students will learn the definition of adaptations and how animals have different adaptations to help them survive in their respective environments.
Animals leave many signs that they have been in an area including tracks, scat, and food leftovers. Learn how to tell which animal leaves which sign. Tracking replicas, scat replicas, and a few other objects will show what to look for in the wild.
Bird beaks are adapted to the type of food a bird eats. Students will learn about different kinds of beaks and participate in an activity to show which kind of beaks help birds eat different kinds of food.
Students will follow along as Carmen travels downstream to explore her world. Through this story, students will learn about different water pollutants and how they affect aquatic plants and animals.
Cattails are known for their versatility. Students learn about the importance of cattails in a wetland and about the historical uses of the plant. Students will be able to make toy ducks and/or mats out of cattails.
Students will learn about edible and medicinal plants found in our local area. They will learn about the historical uses of these plants (medicine, dyes, food, and shelter) and how they are still used today.
Students will learn about the functions of a GPS and then participate in a scavenger hunt.
Students will learn about insects and the role they play. They will learn about their habitats, food sources, and adaptations. Students will then use nets to catch insects found in Nahant’s prairie.
Mammals are one of the most popular groups of animals. Students will be introduced to the habitats, food sources, and adaptations of mammals found in Iowa. They will also learn about the history of the fur trade. Students will be able to see and touch some of the skins and skulls of these animals.
There is always something interesting to find at Nahant Marsh. Students will be given a scavenger hunt based on the season and see how many items they can find. This engaging program covers ecological diversity and habitats.
Students will know how birds survive long migrations by learning what migration is, the hazards that affect birds, and how to identify ways to reduce negative impacts on bird populations by navigating through an obstacle course.
Students will learn about these amazing insects including their lifecycle, adaptations, migration pattern, and importance. In the fall, students may be able to use our nets to help catch and tag these butterflies. Live caterpillars and Monarch butterflies may be used if season allows.
Game playing was called “the little brother of war” by Native Americans because the games taught many skills the youngsters needed to master for their future adult roles. Students will play games that were common to Native American children.
Native Americans hunted many types of animals like buffalo, elk, and deer. Learn their hunting techniques and how they used all parts of the animal for shelter, tools, food, art, and more. Specimens of animal parts and furs will be shown. If time allows, the students will practice using an atlatl.
Pollinators play a very important role in the habitats in which they are found and in people’s lives. They are responsible for the flowers that grow and the food we eat. Students will learn about pollination and the pollinators found in Iowa and Illinois.
Students will play various games that teach about general nature concepts. Some common games include bat vs. moth and stream jump.
Students will learn to explore the trails and learn about the importance of wetlands and discover the creatures that live at the marsh.
Students will learn how to use a compass and map to navigate a course around the Nahant Marsh.
Students will catch and identify macroinvertebrates from the Marsh. They will learn how these macroinvertebrates are indicators of water quality and what that means for Nahant Marsh.
Students will learn what a predator and prey are and how they affect each other. Students will also participate in a game to help them understand the relationship between predator and prey.
How can you tell the difference between a reptile and an amphibian? Students will be introduced to the cold-blooded creatures of Iowa and how they differ. They will learn about their characteristics, habitats, and food sources, and will be able to touch or hold some live reptiles that we house at the education center.
Students will investigate organisms found in a rotten log. They will learn about decomposition and microhabitats.
Students will examine animal skulls and investigate the structure and function of a variety of skull replicas. Students will learn to identify the part of a skull and make determinations about what animal the skull belongs to based on the number and shape of teeth, skull size, and other features.
Students will learn about the many factors that contribute to the formation of soil. Students will use test soil for pH, nutrients, and light; and use soil sieves to separate out soils by size.
Students will learn about the geological history of Iowa and the history and changes that have been made to the Mississippi River. They will participate in a hands-on activity to show them how streams and levees work.
This program includes various activities that promote teamwork, communication, creativity, and leadership.
Students will learn the basics about trees and how to identify leaves. This program will also cover the many benefits of trees.
Twigs from different trees all have variations in buds, leaf scars, shape, and size. Students will learn how to identify a tree solely based on studying the anatomy of a twig. Based on observations, students will have to determine what tree species each twig belongs to.
Students will use water testing kits to sample the water in the Marsh. They will learn what each test is and how it is used to determine the water quality for Nahant Marsh.
Students will learn about the plants, animals, and functions of wetland ecosystems. They will also hear the story of how Nahant Marsh became a protected wetland.
Students will learn important tips and skills to help them survive in the wild.
Many bird species stay here in winter. Discover which species you can find at your bird feeders, how to attract them, and the sound of their calls. Participants will make a bird feeder to take home.
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