For Educators

For Educators

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder...he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in."
- Rachel Carson

Have you discovered the joys of teaching in the outdoors? Are you looking for an outdoor classroom that offers standards-based curriculum and diverse habitats to enhance your classroom learning? We offer three field trip options, described below. 

Partner Schools Program 

The Partner School program is currently full, we will be accepting applications for new partner schools in spring 2019.

The Partner School Program provides teachers and students with multidisciplinary, standard-based curriculum that includes hands-on, real-life experiences with plants and wildlife, as well as recreational opportunities to immerse students in nature throughout the seasons. The program is taught by Refuge staff and reaches a wide audience of students with an emphasis on the communities surrounding the efuge. Field trip busing expenses are reimbursed through the Blue Goose Bus Fund, administered by the Refuge, Friends Inc.

Partner Teacher Program 

Please read the new bus policy from Refuge Friends Inc. on cost sharing based on Free and Reduced Price Lunch percentages.  This policy was effective September 2016. 

The Partner Teacher Program is a mirror image of the Partner School program and curriculum. This education program places the teaching emphasis on trained teachers to self-lead environmental education experiences on the refuge. Teachers are provided with natural resources and curriculum training, field trip planning support, and priority scheduling. Partner Teachers are eligible for 100% bus reimbursement if their school has 50% and above of students in the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program and 50% bus reimbursement if their school has below 50% of students in the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program.

Self-Led Groups 

Self-led groups such as YMCA, school groups, summer camps, or scouts are welcome to visit and explore the refuge. Each self-led group has the freedom to develop their own programs to suit individual needs or use one developed by refuge staff. We encourage you to call at least two weeks before you plan to visit the refuge to avoid conflicts with other environmental education programs. 

To schedule a self-led program at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center or Rapids Lake Education Center call Joel Vos at 952-858-0714.

Both of our refuge Education and Visitor Centers have explorer backpacks available free of charge for use by self-led groups and the general public. Backpacks vary in content at each center to coordinate with the habitat and wildlife found on that particular area of the Refuge.