Together with our partners, the Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens advocates for good stewardship of our lands and natural resources through restoration and education. We are pleased to host the following programs:

River City Wild Ones

River City Wild Ones programs are held here at the preserve. Newcomers with an interest in native plants are always welcome to attend. No RSVPs needed.

Trends in Native Plant Production: Reflections on the past, present and future use of native plants in the landscape

When: Monday, February 18, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: River City Wild Ones
Speaker: Bill Schneider, Wild Type Native Plant Nursery

Join us for this special backstage pass into the dynamic world of native plant nursery production from an expert changing the landscaping culture here in Michigan. Part nursery-man, part philosopher, you won’t want to miss Bill Schneider’s unique perspective and observations collected from over two decades of growing the right plants, the right way.

What is the Michigan Natural Features Inventory?

When: Monday, March 18, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: River City Wild Ones
Speaker: Jesse Lincoln, Ecologist, MNFI

We often think of community as social groups of friends and family, but have you heard of natural communities? What rare plants, animals and habitat were found in your neighborhood 100 years ago? Learn how the expert team at the Michigan Natural Features Inventory answer and explore these questions, and what you can do as a steward of the land to conserve biodiversity in your backyard. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory has been generating and disseminating the highest quality scientific information on the location and condition of Michigan’s rare species and habitats for more than 35 years; the last 15 years as a program of Michigan State University Extension.

Restoring Soil Communities

When: Monday, April 15, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: River City Wild Ones
Speaker: Mike Klug, Wild Ones Kalamazoo Chapter

This month’s presentation from fellow Kalamazoo Wild Ones member, Mike Klug, is all about soils and stewardship. We’ll hear about their current condition, causes of degradation, and impacts of current soil management on the soil microbial and animal communities. He will also discuss potential solutions that include reduction of soil erosion, increasing soil organic matter, and alternatives to our food production system.

Workshops that breathe new life into your classroom

Are you a science or environmental educator looking for professional development training? Whether you are a teacher choosing an in-service day program, homeschool teacher, naturalist, or manage outdoor recreation programs, you can breathe new life into your curriculum by participating in an environmental education workshop! These workshops will introduce you to national, award-winning, environmental curriculum. The curriculum guides are used by formal teachers and other educators working with students in pre-K through 12th grade. They are designed to be hands-on, instructionally sound, easy to use, interdisciplinary, and fun. The workshops are exciting, engaging, and powerful learning experiences, where you will receive the latest materials, learn to teach science education activities both indoors and outdoors, and walk away inspired and more knowledgeable about the natural world around you.

Workshop topics

Project Learning Tree (PLT)

Instruction focuses on students in grades: Kindergarten through eighth grade
Time requirement for certification: Six hours
Cost: $35 per participant
A program of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, sponsored in Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources.

Project Learning Tree is a source of interdisciplinary instructional activities that uses trees and forests as a window on the world. The program is designed for educators working with youth from pre-K to 12th grade. PLT's curriculum and activities help to increase students' awareness and knowledge of the world around them, as well as their place within it. Students learn to use critical and creative thinking skills, develop informed decisions on environmental issues, and gain confidence to take responsible action on behalf of the environment. Find out more information about PLT and the curriculum guides.

Growing Up WILD

Instruction focuses on students in grades: Pre-K through fifth grade
Time requirement for certification: Four to six hours
Cost: $45 per participant
A program of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, sponsored in Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources.

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program for 3–7 year olds that builds on children's sense of wonder about nature, and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, this program provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature, along with lifelong social and academic skills. Learn more about Growing Up WILD and the curriculum.

Aquatic WILD

Instruction focuses on students in grades: Pre-K through 12th grade
Time requirement for certification: Six hours
Cost: $45 per participant
A program of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, sponsored in Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources.

Aquatic WILD is a curriculum and activity guide featuring more than 50 lesson plans about aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecology. Designed to be used with grades kindergarten through 12th grade, many of the activities contain field investigations enabling students to learn methods and protocol for conducting scientific investigations, as well as STEM activity extensions, which make use of a variety of tools and instruments. The curriculum is proven to be effective, scientifically sound, based on current standards, and helps to prepare highly qualified educators. Discover more information about Aquatic WILD and the curriculum guides.

Flying WILD

Instruction focuses on students in grades: Third through 12th grade
Time requirement for certification: Four hours
Cost: $35 per participant
A program of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, sponsored in Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources.

Flying WILD offers a whole-school approach to environmental education, using birds as the focus. This award-winning program is targeted for the middle school audience, but is widely adaptable. Students will learn about and celebrate migratory birds, through activities involving language arts, social science and math experiences, coupled with community outreach and service learning applications. Flying WILD offers practical, hands-on classroom and outdoor field investigation experiences, connecting real-world experiences in bird biology, conservation and natural history. It provides activities that demonstrate how to help birds and their habitats, and even how to implement a bird festival at your school. Find out more about Flying WILD and the curriculum.

Planning your workshop

All workshops are facilitated by Jeanette Henderson, program manager of the Ecosystem Preserve and certified facilitator of PLT and WILD Workshops. They can be held at your location, or at the Bunker Interpretive Center. Fees for each workshop are listed below, and include instruction, workshop materials, curriculum book, and certification. Additional fees may apply to cover mileage if outside of Kent County. A minimum number of 12 participants is required to run a workshop. If you have questions, or would like to schedule a workshop, please contact Jeanette Henderson.

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