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:

Advent in the Woods

Advent will soon be here—a season of dark, cold, busy days that push many of us to feel distracted or dispirited. Animals model deeper ways to live in the season, ways that Christian practices mirror and that lead us through the dark to a new beginning. Join author Gayle Boss and Jeanette Henderson on a walk in Calvin’s Ecosystem Preserve. Gayle will read from her book "All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings," which reflects on preserve animals and their life-affirming adaptations to the dark and cold.

When: Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 4-5 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free; no registration required

Dress for outdoor walking. Cookies and cider will be available in the BIC afterward. This event is free; no registration is required. It is recommended for adults and families with children in 7th grade or older. Gayle will be available for book signings. Calvin's Campus Store will offer the book at a 20% discount the week of Nov.18-22. For store location and hours: www.bkstr.com/calvinstore/store-hours

Wild Ones River City Chapter

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

Soil Amendments – Beyond Compost

When: Monday, September 16, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Wild Ones River City Chapter
Speaker: Tom Wilkinson, Author of Beyond Compost

How can we plant smarter and become better global citizens with compost? Author Tom Wilkinson will share ways you can reduce food waste, and improve the building blocks of your garden through the many benefits of vermicomposting, and applying the ancient but newly discovered soil amendment called biochar.

Native Plants to Attract Winter Birds

When: Monday, October 21, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Wild Ones River City Chapter
Speaker: Melanie Manion, Ottawa County Natural Resources Management Supervisor

Think beyond the bird feeder! We’ll learn from Melanie Manion about what you can plant for more diversity among the winged winter visitors to your garden.

Annual Meeting – Sweet & Savory Potluck

When: Monday, November 18, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Wild Ones River City Chapter

Join Wild Ones River City Chapter for an eventful evening of great food, friendly conversation and a sneak peak at 2020. We’ll share in a potluck, elect officers, learn what’s in store next year, plus introduce some brand new projects. Please bring an appetizer or a dessert to share and your own table service. Beverages will be provided.

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.

Upcoming public workshop: Project WILD - November 9, 2019


Who should attend? Formal and non-formal educators, homeschool educators, youth leaders, and natural resource professionals who are interested in environmental education, sustainability issues, and natural resource management.

What is Project WILD? Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program that focuses on wildlife and habitats. This standards-aligned resource contains 124 integrated nature-based lessons that help educators build a bridge between the classroom and the outdoors for their students. The progam is designed for educators working with youth from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Read more about Project WILD and the curriculum.

When: Saturday, November 9, at 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Facilitator: Jeanette Henderson, Ecosystem Preserve Program Manager
Cost: $60 for the public (fee includes award winning activity guide, certification, instruction, lunch, snacks, and workshop materials)
Bring: Enthusiasm, warm clothes/boots (we will go outside!), exact cash or check made payable to Calvin University
Registration: Pre-registration is required by November 7, as space is limited.

Workshop topics

Project Learning Tree (PLT)

Instruction focuses on students in grades: K-8
Time requirement for certification: Six hours
Cost: $35 per participant (registering with a group)
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.

Project WILD

Instruction focuses on students in grades: K-12
Time requirement for certification: Six hours
Cost: $45 per participant (registering with a group)
A program of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, sponsored in Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources.

Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program that focuses on wildlife and habitats. This standards-aligned resource contains 124 integrated nature-based lessons, that help educators build a bridge between the classroom and the outdoors for their students. Learn more about Project WILD and the curriculum.

Growing Up WILD

Instruction focuses on students in grades: Pre-K through 5th
Time requirement for certification: 4-6 hours
Cost: $45 per participant (registering with a group)
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, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature, and lifelong social and academic skills. Read more about Growing Up WILD and the curriculum.

Aquatic WILD

Instruction focuses on students in grades: Pre-K through 12th
Time requirement for certification: Six hours
Cost: $45 per participant (registering with a group)
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: 3-12
Time requirement for certification: Four hours
Cost: $35 per participant (registering with a group)
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 group 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, 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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