School Field Trips

All academic groups are welcome to take part in the many Environmental Education offerings at Bethel Horizons. The world of nature can serve as a learning environment for students and teachers involved in many different aspects of education. Whether science, art, physical education, photography, math, or history, educational uses of the site are only limited by our imaginations! We would love to coordinate a field trip that will fit your needs. Look through the following popular programs and call soon to make a reservation or for more information.

Curriculum

Half day, full day, and overnight programs are offered throughout the year. All activities presented are selected or adapted to be appropriate for the age of the group we are working with and correspond with suggested Wisconsin academic standards. A typical field trip consists of rotating through 3-5 different sessions which often include, but are not limited to, an introduction to live native animals, a discovery hike, environmental games, and nature center exploration utilizing our exhibits. We can design activities related to a specific subject or concept that is being studied in the classroom to incorporate into the field trip. Please let us know if you have needs not covered by our present programming. 

Costs

Field trip costs for academic groups utilizing Bethel Horizons’ environmental education program are $8.00/student for a full day and $5.00/student for a half day (less than 3 hours) with a minimum fee of $75. If possible, please bring a check payable to Bethel Horizons on the day of your field trip. Overnight facilities and meals are available at an additional cost.

Staff

Trained naturalist staff provide the programs and activities which are designed to stimulate interest and respect for the natural world while providing a meaningful and enjoyable outdoor experience. The environmental education staff is led by our environmental education director who has more than 25 years of experience teaching students and the public about all aspects of nature. Trained teacher-naturalists from the area assist with the programs.

Teacher/Student Ratio

Many aspects of nature are best experienced in smaller groups. For that reason, we try to split larger groups into groups ranging in size from 12-16 students per instructor and rotate each group through all the activities.

Combination Programs

Combine the Nature Center’s Environmental Education offerings with the Adventure Center’s team building, caving, or ropes course offerings, or the Art Ventures’ art and pottery offerings. Give your students a well-rounded experience. Call for more information.

 

Program Descriptions 

Discovery Hike — A naturalist will lead students on a hike through our woodlands and prairies to observe and learn about the plants and animals of southern Wisconsin. Life histories and ecological concepts are emphasized for older students and sensory activities are stressed with younger students.

Sensory Walk  A special trail will be set up where students can participate in a series of sensory activities designed to encourage the use all of their senses when exploring nature. Some of the trail activities may include listening to pre-recorded sounds from nature, an un-nature trail, a feely box, a blindfold rope walk, a toothpick camouflage hunt, and scent canisters.

Environmental Games  Learn about the environment by playing games that teach ecological principals such as predator prey relationships, territory and habitat concepts, and carrying capacity simulations. Experience being a wild animal fighting for survival.  Learn how animals use camouflage, experience what causes deer population fluctuations, and develop a personal land ethic through active games.

Live Animals  This program will acquaint students with a variety of native living creatures, emphasizing adaptations and classification – what makes each different from all other creatures on earth. View turtles, frogs, snakes, birds, insects and mammals.

Nature Center Exhibits  Take time to explore our hands-on exhibit room. Try a scavenger hunt, learn about area wildlife and their habitats, identify objects in the feely box, or get a birds-eye view of the center from the top of our man-made tree. 

Pond Study — Discover which wetland animals live in and around Horizons’ Question Mark Pond.  Students will use dip nets to catch and study aquatic creatures living in the pond as well as searching for tracks and signs of the animals who visit there. 

Cliff Exploration  (4th Grade and Older) We’ll hike to our main cliff where we’ll look at rock formations and learn about the geology and uniqueness of Wisconsin’s “Driftless Area” before climbing to the top of the rocky cliff. We emphasize responsibility, safety, and team work during the climb and offer alternate routes for those who are uncomfort- able with the climb. (This activity is often paired with Pond study because of location)

Prairie Heritage  Students will be led on a hike through Bethel’s restored prairie to observe and learn about Wisconsin prairies and their importance to both man and nature. What are the plants and animals of the Prairie? How do they survive in this area now dominated by forest? What caused the decline of this once vast grassland that covered over 1/3 of our country? 

Forest Study  Hike through one or more of our forest types here at Horizons (coniferous or deciduous forest) looking at the plant types, animal signs, and general ecology. Learn why trees are so important to us.

Birds  Learn about bird anatomy and ecology through hands-on activities. Hear and learn bird calls. Meet a live bird up-close and observe birds at our feeders or on a hike. 

Mammals of Wisconsin  Learn about Wisconsin mammals through pelts, skulls, and study mounts. Go for a hike to view live mammals, look for tracks and signs, and attempt to find their homes. 

Wisconsin Pioneers  Learn how pioneers would have lived as they settled Wisconsin. Tools, food, cooking, family life, children’s games, wildlife, clothing, fire-making, hunting, and rope-making are some of the subjects that will be explored . This is an excellent winter program.

Tracking  Wildlife are often hiding or sleeping during the daylight hours and students may not get an opportunity to observe many of the animals that live at Bethel Horizons.  However, the animals often leave signs of their presence and with a little detective work, we can identify who left their mark.  Learn about tracks and their makers through activities, observation, and investigation. 

Other subjects sometimes requested:

  • Incredible Insects

  • Night Sky Astronomy 

  • Classification of Living Things

  • Caring for God’s Creation

  • Butterflies of Wisconsin 

  • Nature of a Holiday (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas programs)

  • Environmental Jeopardy

  • Fossils and Prehistoric Life

  • Speaking for the Trees – The Lorax

  • Math in Nature

  • There’s No Place Like Home – Earth Study

  • Here Today, Gone Tomorrow – Extinction