Environmental Education

Bethel Horizons Nature Center provides hands-on environmental education programs that focus on increased knowledge, appreciation, and respect for ourselves, others and the natural world. Its 548 acres of prairie, forest, cliff and wetland habitats located in Wisconsin’s un-glaciated “driftless area” provide a unique opportunity for exploring God’s creation.

We offer over 20 programs annually which are open to the general public and persons staying at our retreat centers. Join us for Breakfast with the Birds, Exploring the Heavens astronomy programs, Butterfly Gardening Workshop, WI River Canoe Trip, Fall Foliage Tour, Haunted Night Hike and many others! Prices and times are listed in the program descriptions. Click to view upcoming Environmental Education programs.

Nature Center

Nature Center The center provides hands-on environmental experiences through the use of its exhibits, live animals, classrooms, greenhouse, and hiking trails. Inside the building you can climb a tree to get a bird’s-eye view of things, view exhibits relating to the wetland, woodland, prairie and cliff habitats of the area, watch birds at the feeding station, put your hand into a feely box if you dare, wrap yourself up in an animal hide, compare your wing-span to a bird’s, go on a scavenger hunt, or touch a 300 million year-old fossil. In addition there are ever-changing seasonal exhibits on subjects such as wildflowers, butterflies, birds and invasive plants. A bird-feeding station and sound monitor allow close inspection of area bird-life. Trained naturalist staff provide programs and activities designed to stimulate an interest and respect for the natural world while providing a meaningful and enjoyable outdoor experience. Bethel Horizons has been providing quality environmental education programs for young and old alike for over 40 years.

Classroom

Our carpeted classroom can accommodate about 45 students at a time and has both television and video projection available for use along with tablets and chairs.

Greenhouse

Greenhouse In 2005 a group of students assisted in building a green-house on the south-east corner of the Nature Center using sustainable practices. The greenhouse was built using straw and stucco from local resources, as well as round cut wood from nearby trees. Besides growing plants for our summer garden, butterfly garden and prairie restoration, and growing flowers for Bethel Lutheran Church, the new greenhouse can be used to demonstrate sustainable building and growing practices. The greenhouse at Bethel Horizons is used as an ongoing learning exhibit for summer campers and environmental education groups throughout the year. The greenhouse will be a self sustaining structure, with fans and vents run by solar energy. In the spring, flowers and plants will be grown to be used in the Bethel Horizons’ garden. In the fall, flowers will be grown that can be used at Bethel Lutheran Church.

Trails 

Trail in the summer More than 6 miles of marked hiking trails allow visitors to experience the cliffs, forests, prairies and wetlands within Bethel Horizons’ 548 acres. A trail map allows you to discover the earth’s wonders on your own or you can join one of our naturalist-led hikes. Bring the family and see which wildflowers are blooming or which birds are migrating through the area. Come and explore God’s creation!

For more information, please call Environmental Director Eric Volden at (608) 574-1992 or email eric@bethelhorizons.org