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:

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.

Bring Back the Pollinators: Strategies to Promote Pollinators in Your Yard

When: Monday, February 17, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Wild Ones River City Chapter
Speaker: Dr. Rufus Isaacs, Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist at MSU

Dr. Isaacs will update the group on our ongoing research at MSU to understand the identity, status, and trends of wild bees in Michigan. This will be partnered with a discussion of the benefit of small local actions that can magnify to support pollinators at the county and state levels.

CANCELED! Birds, Bugs, Native Plants and Much More: Inviting the Web of Life into Your Yard

When: Monday, March 16, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Wild Ones River City Chapter
Speaker: Education Committee of Wild Ones River City Chapter

This informative program will contain wonderful nuggets for beginners, veterans, and everyone in between!

Monarch Butterflies, Migration and Human Impact

When: Monday, April 20, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bunker Interpretive Center
Cost: Free
Sponsor: Wild Ones River City Chapter
Speaker: Dr. Stephen B. Malcolm, Chemical Ecologist and Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, WMU

The monarch butterfly is a familiar, milkweed-feeding insect. It has a complex migratory life history that enables them to exploit a high diversity of approximately 130 species of native Asclepias milkweeds over the entire distribution of these plants in North America. These annual movements bring the insects into contact with a series of human technologies that pose both threats and solutions to their viability. Dr. Malcolm explores how and why monarchs migrate to find these larval host plants and the impact of the threats they face as they negotiate ecosystems dominated by human activities.

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: Flying WILD - March 7, 2020


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 Flying WILD? Flying WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program that focuses on birds. This standards-aligned resource contains 40+ integrated nature-based lessons that help educators build a bridge between the classroom and the outdoors for their students. Learn about and celebrate migratory birds through activities involving science, 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.

During the workshop: You will be introduced to the Flying WILD curriculum to become more familiar with the materials so that you will feel comfortable using it after the workshop to educate your future students. Learn how to teach others to identify birds and use binoculars along with tips and tricks for leading birding field trips. Discover more about great web based tools, apps, and citizen science projects that you can participate in and use. You will also meet and share ideas with other college students and professional educators with similar interests and learn more about the environment while expanding your teaching skills.

Read more about Flying WILD and the curriculum.

When: Saturday, March 7, 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 March 4, as space is limited.

Flying WILD® is a program of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and sponsored in Michigan by the Department of Natural Resources.

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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