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Program offerings

School field trip reservations

To make a group reservation please call us at 269-668-2876. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Please make your reservations according to the schedule below.

Please have the following information available when you call:

  • Name of contact(s).
  • School name, address, phone number and email address of contact(s).
  • Total group size.
  • Name of program requested.
  • Earliest arrival time.
  • Latest departure time.

Hatchery tour - 1 hour

Students will tour the hatchery and learn how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources raises millions of fish every year to stock into Michigan’s lakes and streams. Students will learn how fish hatcheries help manage and conserve aquatic natural resources for current and future generations. The guided program through the hatchery facility offers students a firsthand look at a variety of fish at different life stages. Fish species viewed on the program vary seasonally. Groups must complete this program to add on other programs.

Optional add-ons (with an interpretive guide)

Nature hike, *our most popular add-on program option!* - 1 hour

Students will take a guided nature walk on trails around the hatchery’s ponds. They will explore the history of the ponds, learn about the importance of wetlands and the threat of invasive species while having the opportunity to see a variety of plants and wildlife. Possible species include birds, frogs, snakes, turtles and more. For extended version, add ½ hour to program.

Conservation careers - ½ hour

Students will explore the various conservation careers within the DNR and beyond in this program best suited for high school level students.

Pond study - 1 hour

The goal of this program is to expose students to the world of macroinvertebrates. Students will have the chance to work with their hands to identify and catalog macroinvertebrates from a pond located on the property. In addition to classification of the macroinvertebrates, students will learn the roles they play not only in the food chain but also in predicting water quality and how human activity can alter the types of macroinvertebrates present in aquatic habitats. This program is designed to teach to the Next Generation Science Standards, LS2.A. “Interdependent Relationships in ecosystems” and LS2.C. “Ecosystem dynamics, functioning and resilience.” 

Sea lamprey: Vampires of the Great Lakes - 1 hour

Students will learn about the invasive sea lamprey! They will discover the history, ecological impacts and various control methods of these invasive fish in the Great Lakes. Students will see a sea lamprey to learn how they attach themselves to fish and will also participate in a hands-on activity.

Self-guided options

Groups will not have an interpretive guide for these programs. These programs are intended for groups that would like a less structured visit. Although groups will not have a specific time slot reserved, we require all self-guided groups to reserve a morning or afternoon slot to prevent overcrowding at the visitor center. Self-guided groups will receive a packet of information to better prepare them in providing students with a memorable and educational experience at the visitor center. These programs do not include a tour of the hatchery.

Self-guided nature hike

Groups will be provided with a self-guided program packet of information including a trail map and a backpack filled with a variety of materials to aid them, including field guides, furs and more. Stops along the route will educate students on native prairie ecosystems, the history of Wolf Lake, Wolf Lake wildlife and invasive species. Built-in activities provided include suggested information for each stop.

Self-guided nature hike scavenger hunt

Groups will be given the choice of three different hike topics: wetlands, forests and Wolf Lake. Each pack contains a variety of tools, ranging from bird calls to identification books, that will aid the group in learning about the different habitats.

Wild About Water

Students will conduct water quality tests to determine the overall health of our show pond. Tests may include measuring pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity and nitrate levels.