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Nature Awaits: Michigan's fourth grade state park field trip

A couple of students sitting outside and writing in a notebook

Nature Awaits: Michigan's fourth grade state park field trip

Nature Awaits graphic with white text, a leaf, a tree, and a paw print

Calling all fourth grade classrooms!

Nature Awaits offers a new opportunity for children to experience Michigan's outdoors. All fourth grade classrooms are eligible for a FREE experiential field trip to select state parks to support their classroom learning!

Each environmental education experience will be facilitated by trained  educators focused on meeting 4th grade curriculum standards including science, social studies, physical fitness and language arts through experiential learning outdoors.

Guided by environmental literacy best practices, the program aims to make sure Michigan’s kids learn that our state parks are for everyone,  and that a lifetime of spending time outdoors is good for our physical and mental health.

Register for a field trip

  • Follow these steps to register:

    1. Select your park on the map below. 
    2. Registration is through CivicRec and you will need to set up a free account with your school email and cell phone. (Do not use the Organization option).
    3. Read the directions on the page to select and checkout for the sessions you would like to attend. 1 “participant” = 1 classroom.
    4. Sessions state 8:30-11 or 11:30-3. These just block out staff time. You will tell us when you can actually arrive, start your program and leave. You do not have to stay the full session time, you pick your 90-minute window that works for you.
    5. If you are registering for more than two classrooms, add the first 2 sessions to your cart. Then, when the checkout window pops up, click the word “close” instead, and go back and add more class sessions.
    6. Following checkout, you will get an email with two important attachments. 
      1. Your form to complete for your bus reimbursement (if you are a public school).
      2. Your receipt with important details for your field trip day – instructor contact info, where to park, picnic area info, bathrooms, etc. 

    Having trouble registering? Call 1-833-660-6300.

    1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 5 Western UP Region McLain Porcupine Mountains Central UP Region Van Riper Wells Eastern UP Region Tahquamenon Nothern Lower Region Cheboygan State Park Ludington State Park Mitchell State Park North Higgins Young Bay Region Bay City Tawas Point Grand Region Duck Lake Hoffmaster Holland Muskegon  Southwest Region Van Buren Warren Dunes Wolf Lake Central Region Brighton Hayes Sleepy Hollow Waterloo Metro Region Bald Mountain Recreation Area Belle Isle Flint Maybury State Park Proud Lake Seven Lakes Sterling 1. 2. 3.   4. 5.   6.   7. 8. 9. Young State Park Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery and Visitor Center Wells State Park Waterloo State Recreation Area Warren Dunes State Park Van Riper State Park Van Buren State Park Tawas Point State Park Tahquamenon Falls State Park William C. Sterling State Park Sleepy Hollow State Park Seven Lakes State Park Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park Proud Lake State Park Muskegon State Park Mitchell State Park McClain State Park Maybury State Park Holland State Park P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Interlochen State Park North Higgins Lake State Park Hayes State Park Fort Custer State Park Flint State Park Duck Lake State Park Cheboygan State Park Brighton Recreation Area Belle Isle State Park Bay City State Park Bald Mountain State Recreation Area
  • Follow these steps to register:

    1. Select your region on the map below. 
    2. Registration is through CivicRec and you will need to set up a free account with your school email and cell phone. (Do not use the Organization option).
    3. Use the filters on the left to narrow down your options. Under "activity tags" you can select a single park.
    4. Read the directions on the page to select and checkout for the sessions you would like to attend. 1 “participant” = 1 classroom.
    5. Sessions state 8:30-11 or 11:30-3. These just block out staff time. You will tell us when you can actually arrive, start your program and leave. You do not have to stay the full session time, you pick your 90-minute window that works for you.
    6. If you are registering for more than two classrooms, add the first 2 sessions to your cart. Then, when the checkout window pops up, click the word “close” instead, and go back and add more class sessions.
    7. Following checkout, you will get an email with two important attachments. 
      1. Your form to complete for your bus reimbursement.
      2. Your receipt with important details for your field trip day – instructor contact info, where to park, picnic area info, bathrooms, etc. 
       
      Having trouble registering? Call 1-833-660-6300.
    Metro Region Central Region Southwest Regions Grand Region Eastern UP Region Central UP Region Western UP Regions Northern Lower Region Bay Region Western UPRegion Central UPRegion Eastern UPRegion NorthernLowerRegion GrandRegion SouthwestRegion CentralRegion MetroRegion BayRegion

Who

Michigan fourth grade teachers who answer yes to these questions:

  • My students are fourth graders (fourth/fifth and third/fourth split classrooms also welcome).
  • My class has more than 15 students. 

What

All fourth grade classrooms will have the opportunity to visit a state park FREE OF CHARGE for a 90 minute experiential education program.

In addition to free park entry, transportation grants will be available to cover the costs of bussing to state parks for public schools.

At the park, students will participate in an educational program with activities aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. Learning activities are focused on making observations, applying what they have learned, and providing evidence through student-centered explorations.

During their visit, students will learn about:

  • How humans impact natural landscapes.
  • The native and invasive plants and animals of the park.
  • How Michigan's state parks belong to everyone in the state.
  • Observation skills, discussion scenarios and inquiry based learning.
  • And much more!

This educational field trip aligns with state education standards and includes science, social studies, physical education and language arts components. We have pre- and post-field trip activities and standards correlations available as a PDF. 

After attending the program, students will leave with a junior ranger badge and guidebook, including a free pass to bring their families back to a state park for another visit.

Why

Time in nature enhances education outcomes by improving children's academic performances, focus, behavior, and love of learning. A large body of research substantiates the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of spending time outdoors. In short, research suggests that kids who spend time outdoors are happier, healthier and smarter.

We’re so excited to welcome you and your classroom to Michigan’s state parks!

Additional information

State education standards

    • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
    • 4-ESS3-2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
    • 4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants, and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
    • 4-LS1-2 Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
    • 4-H3.0.7 Describe past and current threats to Michigan’s natural resources and describe how state government, tribal and local governments, schools, organizations, and individuals worked in the past and continue to work today to protect its natural resources.
    • 4-G5.0.1 Assess the positive and negative consequences of human activities on the physical environment of the United States and identify the causes of those activities.
    • 4-P3.1.1 Identify public issues in the United States that influence the daily lives of its citizens.
    • Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, timelines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
    • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, following agreed upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles. Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
    • Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
    • S5.1.4 Examines the health benefits of participating in physical activity.
    • S5.3.4 Rank the enjoyment of participating in different physical activities.