Riveredge School Programs
379 ACRES OF HANDS-ON LEARNING
This school year, we invite you to take your students beyond their textbooks, into the hands-on, inquiry-based, outdoor experience that is Riveredge Nature Center.
Nestled in 379 acres of diverse terrain at the intersection of Ozaukee, Washington, and Sheboygan Counties, Riveredge invites exploration and investigation. Our age-specific programs reach students from preschool through high school and help promote real-world examples and interest in your classroom curriculum.
SMALL GROUP SIZES
We keep student/teacher ratios small so that opportunities for learning and participation can be HUGE.
ALIGNED WITH STANDARDS
Our programs align with both WSS and NGSS so your trip can be an extension of what your students are already learning.
DIVERSE 379 ACRES
With ponds, prairies, rivers, wetlands, and everything in between, we can help bring any subject to life.
Because all students should have access to the health, happiness, and academic benefits of learning outside.
$5-10 PER STUDENT
We know budgets are tight. That's why we work to subsidize programs so they are both effective and affordable.
50 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Celebrating 50 years in 2018, we bring five decades of environmental education leadership to all our programs.
Already coming to Riveredge?
PREPARE FOR A PROGRAM
An important question! We believe environmental education should be affordable and accessible to all, as do our generous sponsors and donors, who help us underwrite a significant portion of the costs of these programs.
Fees are $5 per student for a 1.5 hour program, $7 per student for an 2-3 hour (half day) program, $10 per student for 5-hour programs and $12 per student for two different half-day programs ($50 minimum).
One chaperone for each group of 10-12 students is required. A max of 10 chaperones may attend at no additional cost. The program fee will be applied for additional chaperones.
Payment must be received at least two weeks prior to the scheduled class date.
We try to do our very best to work with you to find a date that works on both ends. Scheduling is handled on a first-come, first-served basis subject to program availability. Applications must be submitted by the end of April to receive a program confirmation by the end of May for fall programs. Confirmations for Winter programs will be mailed in November, Maple Sugarin’ programs in January, and Spring programs at the end of January.
Riveredge staff will schedule your program around the conflicting dates you provide and when conditions at Riveredge are best suited for the program requested.
We hate to see you go, but understand situations come up. If a school cancels a program, or the class size is reduced by 20 or more students less than 6 weeks before the date of the trip, the school will be charged a $50 fee per program. If weather causes a program to be canceled, Riveredge will attempt to find an alternate date or will refund the entire program. Please let us know as soon as you can. (262) 375-2715
Yes! We want everyone to enjoy Riveredge. We have an all-terrain wheelchair available for use with a parent's permission slip, a sensory-friendly tub (headphones, fidgets, etc.) and can provide alternative activities for students within the visitor's center geared towards their ability. Please let us know when you fill out your application or call 262-416-1503 to arrange for accommodations.
Already applied for a program and were accepted? We're so happy to have you! To prepare for your program, access our handy-dandy What to Know Before You Go checklist, which includes suggestions as well as our discipline and chaperone information. Inside you'll find a link to our Teacher Guides with excellent pre and post activities that you can take back to class. All of this reading is highly recommended to help ensure your Riveredge day goes off without a hitch!
Still have questions? We'd love to answer them!
Contact Kacey Tait, Inquiry-Based Curriculum and Instruction Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-416-1503 or call our general office at 262-375-2715
Here you can find descriptions for our wonderful variety of school programs for all grades. Scroll down or click below to find more details on the specific programs you might have interest in! Apply here!
Exploring the Vernal Pond
A vernal pond presents an amazing and extraordinary ecosystem teeming with life! An adventure-filled hike leads to a vernal pond brimming with aquatic organisms. From a floating boardwalk, students collect those animals and learn about the unique watery world they call home. 1.5 - 2 hours. Spring.
Vernal Pond Life
A vernal pond presents an amazing and extraordinary ecosystem teeming with life. Collect organisms from a floating boardwalk and explore interrelationships that maintain life in this temporary pond. 3 hours. Spring.
Uncover biotic and abiotic connections in the pond that are reflections of larger ecosystems. Collect macroinvertebrates, examine them under a microscope and create a pond interactions mural to take back to school. 3 hours. Fall/Spring.
River Reflections: Adaptations
A river beckons to be explored. Put on a pair of hip boots and step into the river community. Use a kick-net to collect macroinvertebrates hidden beneath the water’s surface. Discover how aquatic macroinvertebrates are adapted to find food, breathe oxygen, protect themselves and move against the current in a river ecosystem. 3 hours. Fall/Spring.
River Reflections: Abiotic/Biotic Interactions
Ready for a river investigation? A river is full of interactions between living and non-living things. Strap on a pair of waders, step into the Milwaukee River and use real scientific tests to explore how biotic and abiotic components interact and influence one another within the river ecosystem. 3 hours. Fall/Spring.
Energy Flow in the Pond
With the pond as a model, explore how energy that originates from the sun keeps changing shape and form as it moves through an aquatic ecosystem. Collect macroinvertebrates, examine them under a microscope and discover the intricate food web of the pond. 3 hours. Fall/Spring.
Determining Water Quality
Using the river as a lab, learn about water quality by conducting chemical and physical tests. Collect aquatic invertebrates and use a biotic index to see how these organisms are indicators of water quality. The three-hour program takes place entirely outdoors at the river. The five-hour program includes microscopes to identify organisms in the classroom. 3 or 5 hours. Fall/Spring.
Wisconsin's Glacial Landscape
In this student-led quest, travel back in time 10,000 years to when the glaciers of Wisconsin retreated. Use scientific tools such as wind meters, soil probes and thermometers to explore the clues the glaciers left behind—incredible kettle, moraine, kame and esker landforms! At each destination, visit a sandbox to enact how the landform was created. 3 or 5 hours. Fall/Spring.
The Dirt on Soils
Almost everything on earth can be called by another name-“temporarily not soil.” Explore the wonders of soil while participating in an inquiry to uncover soil’s role as the foundation of all life. Unearth the secret soil ingredients that interact to give us healthy food. 3 or 5 hours. Fall/Spring.
With sweep nets and bug boxes in hand, set off to discover the many amazing insects that inhabit the Riveredge prairies in autumn. During our exploration, we will get a close-up look at these fascinating creatures and learn how they eat, fly, jump and enrich our world. An art activity may be added to this program upon request. 1.5 - 2 hours. Fall.
A Log's Life
After a tree falls in the forest, it has another life as home to a variety of creatures. Learn about the life cycle of trees and discover the many creatures that depend on forests. A variety of exploratory and sensory experiences allow students to follow their curiosity and get an up-close experience in this unique habitat. 1.5 - 2 hours. Fall/Spring.
Maple Sugarin' Magic
When the days grow warmer and longer, the forest comes alive with the rhythm of flowing sap. Join us in the sugar bush during this special time of year and learn first-hand how to tap a sugar maple tree. Enjoy a seasonal treat produced by this old friend! 1.5 - 2 hours. Spring.
Become a nature detective and use all five senses to explore the winter world! Smell, taste and touch different colors, sizes and shapes. Listen like a deer, search for tracks left behind by animals and follow your nose to discover nature’s clues. With sufficient snow cover, snowshoes may be worn. 1.5 - 2 hours. Winter.
Dig into dirt in the Riveredge Children’s Organic Garden. Experiment with soil, water and seeds to discover how plants grow and provide food for humans. The program concludes with harvesting and a stop in the kitchen to enjoy a fresh, seasonal snack! 1.5 - 2 hours. Fall/Spring.
Natural things come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, odors, tastes and sounds. Learn about the diversity of nature through a unique variety of sensory experiences. Depending on the season, students may find themselves collecting an array of leaves in the autumn woods, taste-testing herbs and vegetables in the garden or snowshoeing through a winter wonderland! 2 hours. All Seasons.
Art in Nature
Practice observation skills through outdoor art-making activities. Create a reflective art project that connects students with their experiences in nature. Explore an ecosystem through drawing, find nature's patterns, or design mini-environments for animals. 2-2.5 hours. All seasons.
Fruits of Fall
Enjoy an exploration of seed dispersal strategies and the concept that fruit is a seed container. Visit the Riveredge Children’s Organic Garden and sample what’s in season (weather permitting). The program includes a surprise meeting with Johnny Appleseed and discovering how apple cider is made! 2 hours. Fall.
Looking at Life Cycles
Living things change in fascinating ways throughout their lives. Collect pond animals such as dragonfly larvae and diving beetles, and discover what they look like at different stages of their life cycles. Become a scientist at Riveredge and learn how to classify things to discover more about them. Go on a hunt for forest objects, notice their different shapes, sizes, smells, and textures, and group them based on their characteristics. 2 hours. Fall/Spring.
Communities and the plants and animals that depend on them are both unique and interconnected. A variety of exploratory and sensory experiences allow students to follow their curiosity and get an up-close experience of two very different habitats. 2.5 hours. Fall/Spring.
The sweetness of spring, the miracle of photosynthesis and the magic of Maple Sugarin’ are presented in a fast-paced tour of the largest educational sugarbush in southeastern Wisconsin. Experience Wisconsin’s history with special emphasis placed on Native American traditions. To top it off, students tap a tree and enjoy the “fruits of their labor” on a pancake. 2.5 hours. Spring (March).
Life in Winter
With a treasure map and a set of wintry clues, set off to discover the relationship between animals and their habitats. By examining animal tracks and other signs, discover the skills of observing and making inferences. By this frosty adventure’s end, the puzzle is complete and the mysteries of winter survival are solved! With sufficient snow cover, snowshoes may be worn. 2.5 hours. Winter.
Experience the prairies or forests of Riveredge and see how plants and insects adapt to survive in their niches. With scientific tools and exploration activities, discover the importance of structural, functional and behavioral adaptations that make the natural world so interesting and diverse! 2.5 hours. Fall/Spring.
Exploring with a Microscope
Explore the world of the very small—it’s far more fascinating than students could ever envision using their eyes alone. Using a microscope, students work at their own pace to examine non-living and living things. 2.5 hours. Winter.
Follow the clues on a search to discover the mysteries of Wisconsin birds! Their intriguing behavior, special adaptations and surprising survival strategies are sure to amaze students and get them hooked on birds wherever they find them. 2.5 hours. All seasons.
Communities and Ecosystems
Diverse ecosystems that provide for the needs of countless organisms are around every corner. Dive into two vastly different communities and discover the interdependent layers of life within each. Discover similarities and differences between these communities using scientific tools and hands-on activities. 3 or 5 hours. Fall/Spring.
Winter Wildlife Habitat
Discover the relationship between animals and their habitats. Hands-on activities and experiments allow students to explore the impact of winter’s limiting factors such as animals’ heat loss, cover and food availability. With sufficient snow cover, snowshoes may be worn. 2.5 hours. Winter.
Explore and Restore
Adapted from Protecting Wisconsin's Ecosystems. Team up with professionals to participate in service-learning projects that protect Riveredge's biodiversity. Work together as a team to pull invasive buckthorn, plant trees, or monitor wildlife while exploring forests, prairies, and ponds. Learn how varying techniques like controlled burning, invasive removal, and erosion control help protect unique ecosystems. Activities will vary by season. 3 hours. Fall/Spring.
All outreach programs are led by Riveredge Environmental Educators and take place outdoors at the school or a nearby park. Programs last 1-2 hours. More than one program can be scheduled on the same day to accommodate multiple classes.
Insects & Their Kin
Plants and Seeds: Five Senses Discovery
Oh Deer, It's Cold Out Hare
Water Cycle Adventure
Secret Lives of Plants
Life in Winter
Looking for a unique experience perfect for a team building initiative or class reward? Riveredge’s adventure programs offer a unique blend of experience and innovation that no one else can match. Our dedicated facilitators all have a few things in common: extensive training, a personal love of the outdoors, and the Riveredge passion for making adventure and exploration something that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone. If interested in applying for one or more of these programs, please call Steff Merten, Adventure Education Manager, at 262-375-2715.
Recreational Tree Climbing
Kayaking Or Canoeing At Yahr Park
Extend your experience
Partnerships between local schools or school districts and Riveredge Nature Center provide ongoing, recurring exposure to nature-based learning throughout all grades. The repeated exposure to inquiry-based learning outdoors allows students to build knowledge throughout grade levels while also inspiring and supporting teachers along the way. Partnering schools commit to a combination of at least one learning experience at Riveredge or one school based outreach program each year for each grade level. Deeper relationships are developed between Riveredge educators and teachers, while also providing priority scheduling and tailored programs for the schools.
Riveredge Nature Center is a Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin Provider. Schools who engage in a formal partnership with Riveredge may choose to receive assistance in becoming a Green & Healthy School.
Looking for a unique professional development opportunity to help better incorporate environmental education into your students' day? At Riveredge Nature Center, our Environmental Educators are certified facilitators of Project WET (Water Focus), Project WILD (Wildlife Focus), Project Learning Tree (Tree and resource management focus), and Flying WILD (Bird Focus). If you are interested in a teacher training of any one or more of these materials at your school, please call Riveredge at 262-375-2715 for more details.
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?
Contact Kacey Tait at email@example.com or 262-416-1503