For Educators

Oak Savanna Learning Center

"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

Teacher Resources 

Refuge Brochures and Maps:

*If you desire printed copies of the refuge brochures listed above, they are available at Refuge Headquarters during open hours (Monday-Friday, 8 am - 4 pm) and some are available at refuge kiosks*

Standards-based Lessons

Refuge staff have designed a curriculum that supports classroom study topics, the science FOSS Kits, and state curriculum standards for Science (as well as Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts, where possible). Please check back often for updates. Activities are in the state of development and will be added to this website as they are field-tested and incorporated into the curriculum.

K – 2nd Grade:

Any Season



4th Grade:





Resources from partnering refuges and agencies:


Nature Education Field Trip Options

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 a variety of different field trip options, described below.

Self-Led Groups 

Self-led groups, such as school groups, summer camps, youth groups 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 visits, habitat restoration, or other projects underway in the area to be visited.

For more information: Visiting the Refuge and Using the Oak Savanna Learning Center Frequently Asked Questions

To schedule a self-led program call or email Alaina Larkin at 763/389-3323 ext. 113 or

Partner Schools Program 

The Partner Schools program is currently full due to staffing and volunteer capacity

The Partner Schools 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.

Sherburne Refuge takes a community approach to education and uses a model called the "Expedition Model". Like Lewis and Clark, we need to plan carefully, select skilled people from the community to join our team, and expect a long-term commitment from our partners to reach our goal of connecting kids to nature.

Here's how the Expedition Model works:

- Train and support teachers to lead the way
- Refuge staff and volunteers serves as "guides on the side"
- The community helps support through advocacy and bus funding. Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit partner of the refuge, provides major funding to defray transportation expenses for the schools in their own communities.
- Gather support and commitment from decision-makers at all levels.

Our guiding tool is the "Compass"; it is how we navigate nature education.
The Compass has five main components:
1. Nature Journaling (writing, illustrations, numbers)
2. Phenology (study of seasonal variations)
3. Place-Based (real-world, hands-on, experiential learning)
4. Model Naturalist (historic naturalists provide examples for how we can learn)
5. A Sense of Wonder (emotional connection and fascination with nature)

For more information: Partner Schools Program Frequently Asked Questions