The Compass to Nature

Anna bridge

Thanks to our Prairie Science Class partnership with the Fergus Falls Public Schools, the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center has developed an innovative approach to teaching in the outdoor classroom.  We call it The Compass to Nature, and we want to share it with you!


The Compass to Nature is free for anyone to use.  It works for children.  It works for adults.  It works anywhere, any time of year.  

Just as a navigational compass enables us to guide our way outside, the four points of the Compass to Nature provide unfailing direction for all who seek to lead others in the development of a connected, caring relationship with the world we live in.  The four cardinal Compass points are Place, Phenology, Naturalists, and Journals, unified by the magnetic Sense of Wonder.

To find out more, you can view and/or print our Compass to Nature booklet.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in lieu of face-to-face opportunities, we are offering annual Compass to Nature professional development through a 7-week webinar series hosted by the National Conservation Training Center. 

Prior to the pandemic, Compass to Nature training has been available, face-to-face, at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center twice per year in April and August. For example:

  • Saturday, April 18, 2020, introductory workshop -- this workshop has been re-designed into a weekly webinar series.  
  • Monday, June 22 through Thursday, June 25, 2020, Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom Workshop, a more in-depth professional development training with the golden opportunity to immediately apply workshop concepts and skills with youth attending the Summer Explorers Biology Camp (held concurrently).  For more info and to register, visit the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.  This flyer also has more info.  
  • Thursday, August 6, 2020, introductory workshop -- check back for details or email us or call 218-998-4489 (will be the same as April 18 workshop, though)

Also pre-pandemic, we have limited availability to bring the Compass to Nature to your location.  To inquire about Compass to Nature training at your school, district, refuge, conference, course, or other site, please email us or call 218-998-4489. 

  • Past workshops have been held at the Lakes Country Service Cooperative in Fergus Falls, Minnesota; Moorhead, MN, school district; University of MN-Morris; North American Association for Environmental Education Conference in Madison, Wisconsin; Communications, Outreach, and Visitor Services Workshop at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, as well as NCTC's Environmental Education Update webinar; and at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.