LEARN ABOUT WHERE YOU LIVE.
What’s better than exploring nature? Learning about it. No, seriously. Understanding the region’s natural and cultural history helps us live in greater harmony with the world around us. Welcome to our 25,000 acre classroom: The Huron-Clinton Metroparks. With an array of educational programs and interpretive staff to do the teaching. They’re your Metroparks. Come for the fun; stay for the learning. Or the other way around.
Here at the Metroparks, our Interpretive Services Department brings the story of Southeast Michigan alive with a variety of on-site, off-site and school programs. We’re known as one of the country’s leading – and largest – interpretive programs, with ten interpretive facilities and three mobile learning centers.
Our programs support the Common Core Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math (STREAM) and Michigan Science Standards curriculum. Every year, we reach thousands of Southeast Michigan children, families, groups and schools through field trips, summer camps, scout, homeschool, educational and holiday programs.
Where do you go when you want to do some learning at the Metroparks? Start with our Interpretive Centers. We’ve got 10 of them across our parks, staffed by members of the Metroparks Interpretive Department. Our Interpretive Centers include:
At our Interpretive Centers, you’ll find plenty of information about local wildlife and their habitats, flora, cultural history, farm life, nature trails and other park amenities, as well as a full schedule of Metroparks educational programs. You can also book field trips for your class or school.
The Metroparks Interpretive Centers also make great locations for hosting your events, from birthday parties to family reunions to corporate offsite events. We have a wide range of facilities and an experienced team to help make your event a success. Click here to learn more about booking your event.
SCHOOL PROGRAMS & FIELD TRIPS
When it comes to school time in Southeast Michigan, there are two rules to remember: Everyone loves a field trip to the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. And everyone loves an in-school program hosted by the Metroparks Interpretive Department.
What topics do we cover? Wildlife, natural science, environment, ecology, climate, farm life, regional history. And that’s just to start. Most Metroparks programs support the Common Core Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math (STREAM) and Michigan Science Standards curriculum in content, methodology and technology use.
Homeschool isn’t just for home. Not when you can take your lessons out to the Metroparks. It’s the best place to learn about science, nature, the environment … and more. At the Interpretive Centers, homeschool groups are welcome to register for any of the topics covered in our educational program guide. We can also customize programs for your specific needs; just talk to our Interpretive staff to work with your group on scheduling a program.
MOBILE LEARNING CENTERS
Supporting our in-school programs and community outreach are the three Metroparks Mobile Learning Centers. These vehicles – and the Interpreters who accompany them – are equipped to provide a wide variety of educational programs, including specialized programming for preschool students and our unique schoolyard ecosystem exploration for upper elementary through high school. Our teams enhance any event with live animal demonstrations, hands-on activities, arts and crafts and more.
Whether you’re responsible for a school that’s looking for a program for your class, a library looking to host a community program, a senior center looking to entertain your residents, or even a community festival/event, we can bring the learning – and fun – to you. Click here to explore mobile learning center programs, in our Educational Program Guide. For more information, simply complete the form below and a Community Outreach Interpreter will be in touch.
As part of our commitment to supporting education in Southeast Michigan, the Metroparks offer a variety of educational grant opportunities.
Free Field Trips - Four County Community Foundation
Funded through a grant from the Four County Community Foundation, we are offering free experiential field trips to public schools in:
- Lapeer County – Almont, Attica, Dryden, Metamora, and Imlay Townships
- Macomb County – Armada, Bruce, Ray, Richmond, Shelby, and Washington Townships
- Oakland County – Addison, Brandon, Oakland, and Oxford Townships
- St. Clair County – Berlin, Emmett, Mussey, and Riley Townships
Classes will receive FREE field trips, including program and transportation to either Stony Creek or Wolcott Mill Metropark. Hands-on, enrichment experiences that provide real-world context and give new meaning to concepts related to agriculture, history, nature and science will be offered. For schools that are unable to take field trips due to pandemic restrictions, new outreach programs to the schools will be made available. The project will run the duration of the 2022 – 2023 school year or until all funds have been designated for use.
Stony Creek Metropark grant funded field trips are full. Please apply for a grant at Wolcott Mill Metropark by calling the Farm Center at (586) 752-5932 or email Jason Smith at email@example.com.
Free Master Rain Gardener Classes - EPA-GLRI Grant
Funded through a grant from EPA – Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant: Protecting Lake Erie Marsh and Waters, individuals or businesses in qualifying zip codes can apply for a scholarship to cover the costs of the Becoming a Master Rain Gardener Class.
In this five-week class, you will learn how to design your own rain garden! Rain Gardens filter and cool stormwater so that our streams and rivers run clean. Receive step-by-step instruction to create your garden, protecting your home against flooding and helping the birds and butterflies. And in the process, you will become a neighborhood expert!
Participants must attend all five classes and plant or adopt a rain garden to earn their Master Rain Gardener certificate, sign and t-shirt. Classes are held virtually, along with one rain garden in-person tour date for a more hands-on learning experience (tours are optional). Classes will be held Thursdays beginning February 23 and running through March 23.
This class is held in partnership with the Metro Detroit Master Rain Gardeners Group.
Full scholarships funded by the EPA-GLRI Grant are available for residents in the following zip codes: Detroit (48209, 48217), Ecorse (48229), Inkster (48141), Lincoln Park (48146), Melvindale (48122), River Rouge (48218), Riverview (48193), Romulus (48174), Taylor (48180). Email Jill Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org for scholarship details.
Get Out And Learn
Get Out And Learn offers scholarships to cover transportation for in-person field trips or outreach programs at your school. All program fees are included in the scholarship in addition to the cost of transportation to and from a Metropark. Qualifying schools must have at least 50% of their students eligible to receive the federal free and reduced lunch program.
Grants are currently open for the 2022-2023 school year.
For questions please contact Jennifer Jaworski at (810) 494-6030, or email Jennifer.Jaworski@metroparks.com. Please reference Get Out and Learn when calling or emailing.
Nature Conservancy and Oak Openings Grant at Oakwoods Metropark
Your Metroparks have teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to provide field trips to Oakwoods Metropark highlighting the Oak Openings Region; a unique habitat the extends from the Maumee River in Ohio into southeast Michigan. Give your students an up-close and personal look at some of the amazing ecosystems that The Nature Conservancy has placed on their list of the Top 200 Last Great Places on Earth list, including Oakwoods Metropark.
Grants includes program fees and transportation costs to and from Oakwoods Metropark. Programs offered through this grant include:
- Animals of Oakwoods (Pre-K – 6th): Students will be introduced to some of the animals that live within the Oak Openings Region; including threatened species such as the Eastern Fox Snake and the Eastern Box Turtle, through the use of live animals, mounts, study skins, and other items. Learn why these animals thrive in these habitats and what special adaptations they have to help them survive.
- Prairie Walk (7th – 12th): Become immersed in an actual tallgrass prairie. Discover the plants and animals that can be found within the prairie; and explore the adaptations possess. Through hands-on activities, we will learn what it takes to thrive in this unique habitat.
To apply for a grant, please contact the Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center at (734) 782-3956 or email Kevin Arnold at email@example.com.
Wheels To Woods
Wheels To Woods provides funding to PreK-12 schools and other youth groups to cover transportation costs for educational field trips to nearby forests or forest products companies. Any PreK-12 school in Michigan is eligible to apply. Wheels To Woods reimburses actual transportation costs up to $350 per bus and $1,000 per school. Click here to learn more and to apply.
You’ll also find a wealth of educational information right here at Metroparks.com. From our library of videos to worksheets, DIY crafts, science experiments and much more, we provide teachers and parents plenty of opportunities to share the love of nature, animals and science with kids of all ages.
Bird Of The Week
The Huron-Clinton Metroparks are a haven for birders because of the variety of our habitats. And because we provide waypoints for literally hundreds of bird species. Follow us on social media (#HCMetroparks) or read our Bird Of The Week Blog to learn more about the birds you’ll find in Southeast Michigan. Or go on a bird search at any of the Metroparks and share your sightings by tagging us and using #BirdOfTheWeek.
Got a question about wildlife, nature or the Metroparks? Be sure to ask “Dear Kevin.” Who’s Kevin? He’s Kevin Arnold, our Southern District Interpretive Service Supervisor. And he’s here to answer your questions about regional habitats, animals, native plant species, science, agriculture and regional history. Just send your questions to DearKevin@metroparks.com. Kevin posts questions and answers on our Facebook and Instagram stories, so be sure to follow us.
Educational Activities To Do At Home With Kids
- All About Trees
- Animals of Oakwoods Metropark Word Search
- Find and Count Pond Creatures
- Frog Identifier/Caller (From Froggyvoice.com)
- Hibernation Songs and Activities
- How Do Animals Spend the Winter
- Make a Mokuk
- Make A Leaf Man
- Melt-An-Ice Cube Game
- Plant Life Cycles
- Predator/Prey Adventure Crossword | Answers
- Tree Rings
- Turtle Puppet and Play
- Wildflowers of Oakwoods Metropark Word Search
- Winter Walk: Animal Tracks
- Word Scramble
Preschool Pre-program Packets
Educational Programming Video Series
- Beavers Along The Trail – Take a virtual trip with us and learn about the beavers that live in Oakwoods Metropark!
- Deer Along The Trail – Take a virtual trip with us and learn about the deer that live in your Metroparks.
- Egg Anatomy – Let’s take a closer look at what makes up an egg!
- Eggs and Chicks – Watch baby chicks hatch from their eggs!
- Feeding Helga The Tiger Salamander – It’s feeding time for Helga the tiger salamander!
- Feeding Snappy The Snapping Turtle – It’s feeding time for Snappy the snapping turtle!
- Foxes of Michigan – Join your Metroparks to learn about the two fox species we have here in Michigan!
- Get To Know Michigan Turtles – Learn all about MI Turtles and see how you can help a turtle cross the road safely!
- Meet Bud and Buster The Belgian Draft Horses – Watch with us as you learn about Belgian Draft Horses!
- Meet Felix The American Toad – Learn about this toad species, its characteristics, their call and more!
- Meet Lucky The Blanding’s Turtle – Join us in learning all about blanding’s turtles!
- Meet Radar the Great Horned Owl – Join us to learn about Oakwood’s resident Great Horned Owl, Radar.
- Meet Severus The Corn Snake – Watch with us as you learn about corn snakes!
- Meet The Awesome Opossum – Watch with us and learn about these fascinating marsupials!
- Meet The Eastern Box Turtle – Join your Metroparks and meet the eastern box turtle!
- Meet The Eastern Fox Snake – Join your Metoparks in learning about the eastern fox snake!
- Meet Woody The Wood Turtle – Join your Metroparks in learning about wood turtles!
- Preschool Turtle Time – Join your Metroparks as we have fun learning about turtles!
- Wolf vs Coyote – Join your Metroparks in learning about Michigan’s Wolf and Coyote!
- Bird Feeding with Karen: Intro
- Bird Feeding with Karen: Sunflower Feeders
- Bird Feeding with Karen: Suet Feeders
- Bird Feeding with Karen: Peanut Feeders
- Bird Feeding with Karen: Baffles
- Bird Feeding with Karen: Mealworms
- Basics of Bird Identification – Learn the basics of how to identify different birds you might see or hear.
- Birding & eBird – Join your Metroparks in learning more about birding and how to use eBird!
- Learn All About Ranger the Red Tailed Hawk – See why Ranger’s home is at your Metroparks.
- Look at the “Purdy” Eggs: Part 1 – Look at our extensive egg collection from Michigan ornithologist William Purdy.
- Look at the “Purdy” Eggs: Part 2 – Learn more about ornithologist William Purdy’s egg collection!
- Momma Bird Raising Her Babies – Preschool – Hear a story, sing a song and watch a puppet show!
- Skunks Along The Trail – Take a virtual trip with us and learn all about skunks!
- Stevie Squirrel And His Cousins – Preschool – Sing a song and watch a puppet show that’s all about squirrels!
- What Is Bone? – Join your Metroparks in taking a look at what makes bones so unique!
- DIY Bird Feeder Using Plastic Recyclables – Learn how to make your own bird feeder out of plastic recyclables!
- DIY “Hand”made Flowers – This is an easy do it yourself craft that the whole family can be a part of!
- DIY Homemade Magnifier – Learn how to make your own magnifier that you can use on a micro hike outside.
- Fingerprint Art: Bug Edition – Let’s draw together and get a bit messy with this easy fingerprint art project! [Jar.jpg]
- Hand Print Art – Learn how to make an owl using your hand print!
- Learn How to be an Earth Day Steward with Stellantis – Join your Metroparks while we team up with Stellantis to educate and inspire visitors about Earth Day.
- 50 Years of Earth Day – Learn how Earth Day has evolved to be the world’s largest environmental movement.
- Binoculars 101 – Join your Metroparks as we learn all about binoculars!
- Maple’s Sweet Story at Kensington Metropark – Take a virtual tour of the farm’s Sugar Bush.
- Museum Moment: I See A Saw – Learn about the saws in Lake Erie Metropark’s Marshland Museum’s collection!
- Removing Invasive Species: Garlic Mustard – Learn how to identify garlic mustard and its proper removal.
- What’s That Smell? – Learn about skunk cabbage that can be found in your Metroparks.
- Virtual Soil Series Part 1 – Learn about the 5 ingredients that make up soil through interactive activities.
- Virtual Soil Series Part 2 – Join us as we investigate where the abiotic (non-living) ingredients in our soil come from.
- Virtual Soil Series Part 3 – This video focuses on the biotic (living or previously-alive) components of soil.
- Virtual Soil Series Part 4 – Learn why soil is such an important resource.
Science with the Metroparks
- Science with your Metroparks: Blow Up A Balloon with Science – Blow up a balloon with household items! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Fossil Making – Learn how to make your own fossils with your Metroparks! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Make A Model Comet – Learn how to make your very own comet! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Make An Edible Mineral Model – Make a model of minerals and then eat it! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Make Your Own Crystals – Make crystals with items found in your home! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Make Your Own Lava Lamp – Make a lava lamp with household items! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Make Your Own Rock Cycle – Make a rock cycle from items around home! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Make Your Own Tie–dye Paper – Make tie–dye paper with household items! [PDF]
- Science with the Metroparks: Two Ways To Make Your Own Slime – Make slime in two different ways! [PDF]
- Observations & Questions Part 1: Making Observations
- Observations & Questions Part 2: Asking Scientific Questions
- Observations & Questions Part 3: Types of Scientific Questions
- Bike Safety At The Metroparks – Make your bike ride more enjoyable with these bike safety and courtesy trail tips!
- Exploring The Marsh In Spring At Lake St. Clair Metropark – See different plants and animals around the marsh!
- Micro Hike With Your Metroparks! – Take a micro hike with us and get up close to nature. After, try it out at home!
- Relaxing Canoe Trip In Stony Creek Metropark – Come take a virtual canoe trip with us!
- Relaxing Walk In Stony Creek Metropark – Take a virtual walk with us. Take in the views and sounds of nature!
- Spring Hike To Explore Ecosystems At Indian Springs Metropark – See what is going on in the spring time!
- Sounds Of The Marsh – Listen with us to hear nature calling.
Get to know nature – and the Metroparks – through the eyes of our Interpreters on our Nature Blog, where we share trail experiences, identify interesting plants and take journeys through time to learn about how our local ecology has adapted and evolved.
Nature Discovery App
Seek by iNaturalist
Take your nature knowledge up a notch with Seek! Use the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants, and fungi and participate in monthly observation challenges. Download the app onto your phone or tablet. Click here to learn more.
How long have the Huron-Clinton Metroparks hosted programs or events for Southeast Michigan’s Scouting community? As long as we’ve been around. We’re proud to keep that tradition alive with a number of programs crafted for Boy and Girl Scouts. Whether it’s the perfect setting for a jamboree, an overnight camping excursion or a facility to host a merit badge class, we can help!
We can work with your troop or pack to offer badge or merit badge classes. We work with scouting officials, including Merit Badge Counselors, to help your scouts advance in the ranks. Call one of Farm or Nature Centers to learn about our regularly scheduled badge courses or ask us if we’re able to accommodate the badge requirements you need.
Bring your scouting group out to one of our group campsites for a day in the sun or a night under the stars. Our campsites are also perfect for hosting jamborees or other ceremonies. Advance registration is required.
Group camp is available at the following parks, click on the park below to learn more about their group camp:
Are you a teacher interested in providing more hands-on outdoor learning opportunities for your students? Well, the Metroparks are here to help.
In addition to offering a wide variety of field trips and in-school programs, we are now offering teacher workshops. These workshops are created to teach you projects you can do with your students throughout the year regardless of the size of your outdoor learning space. We’ll focus on projects that relate to topics of the outdoor world around us; how they tie to the standards, and how to use student engagement with the natural world to build learning across the content areas.
The best part is you can also earn State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) by attending our workshops.
Teacher Workshop: Project Wild | April 16
Have you ever wanted to provide more outdoor learning opportunities for your students but are not sure how to incorporate it into your curriculum? Join us for a day of learning as we explore the Project WILD Activity Guide and provide you with tips and tricks to make sure your students are engaged while outdoors. You’ll get a chance to participate in activities you can bring into your classroom, how they are tied to the standards and how these activities build student learning across the content areas. Project WILD is a conservation education program that emphasizes awareness, appreciation and understanding of wildlife and natural resources. This workshop is aimed at teachers that work with students in grades K – 5. You will receive a Project Wild Activity Guide included in the cost of the program. Participants will receive up to 5 SCECHs through Macomb Intermediate School District upon completion of the workshop!
Ages: 21 and up
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $35 per adult, includes 5 SCECHs
Location: Stony Creek Metropark, Nature Center
Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. three days before the program.
Teacher Workshop: Milkweed Project | June 29
Calling all teachers from elementary through college instructors! Are you looking for unique ways to connect your students to science concepts and the natural world? The Milkweed Project is the perfect suite of hands-on, student-led, community-science-based learning experiences for you and your students. Come learn about identifying, growing, and using common milkweed to explore the science of phenology, pollinator preferences, and more. Students can make observations, ask questions, and explore the world of milkweed. Teachers will receive a binder of milkweed project protocols, milkweed seeds to use with students, and 4.5 SCHECHs through Macomb Intermediate School District! Dress to be outdoors in tall grasses and bring water and a sack lunch; snacks and coffee provided. Student teachers and informal educators welcome!
Ages: Adults 21 and up
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Free! includes 4.5 SCECHs
Location: Lake St. Clair Metropark, Nature Center
Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. the day before the program.
Teacher Workshop: Outdoor Science | June 30
Let’s go outside! Learn to use your schoolyard, playground, or other outdoor space to engage your students with science, math, literacy, and more. This session will focus on activities for teachers of students in grades K-6 at developmentally appropriate levels and that help you meet learning targets for your classroom. Get inspired to get outside with your students as we focus on birds, bugs, and blooms- all things that excite and engage students (and teachers!). Teachers will receive a binder of projects and resources as well as 4.5 SCHECHs through Macomb Intermediate School District! Dress to be outdoors and bring water and a sack lunch; snacks and coffee provided. Student teachers and informal educators welcome!
Ages: Adults 21 and up
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: $30 per adult, includes 4.5 SCECHs
Location: Lake St. Clair Metropark, Nature Center
Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. the day before the program.
Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Supports (MEECS) Workshops
Coming soon! Check back for more!