Palmyra, WI 53156
Map to get there
(For Grades K5
- 8; September - June)
Trek through the "wilderness" of
the Kettle Moraine State Forest (KMSF) near Palmyra, Wisconsin,
approximately 40 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Travel time
is about one hour. Explore nature at her best: deciduous
forests, pine plantations, marshlands, prairie and pond
life, climb moraines and look into kettles. You can see
some of the finest examples of glacial topography on the
Palmyra Environmental Learning Center may be scheduled for 4 hours
or less between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Teachers may choose
to bring bag lunches or cook hot dogs and sausages over
the fire. A fire ring and wood are provided upon request.
Please provide your own cooking utensils. There is no extra
charge for winter tobogganing (snow conditions permitting).
Students must wear appropriate clothing. All programs can
be selected any time of the year (except Pond Study). If
you do not see what you would like from our program choices,
please contact us. We will try to accommodate your educational
Glacial Geology - A guided hike will show the effects of the most recent ice age. Imagine what a glacier standing a mile high (not wide) could due to the land and see how the land changed in response! The hike transverses moraines allowing students to learn what makes a kettle,and in some areas of the forest view glacial erratics. We will discover how the last continental glacier still affects our daily lives.
Typifying Trees - Learn different methods of identifying trees; by using their leaves, leaf buds, bark, overall branching patterns, flowers and/or fruit. Students will explore the different uses of the wood and other "products" made from trees. Hike topics include the importance of trees worldwide, how to age trees and tree diseases.
Finding Feathered Friends - Different birds call Wisconsin “home” at different times of the year. Many Wisconsin birds are migratory and will not always be present in late fall, winter, and early spring. Students will learn about the habits of birds and their habitats. There is a feeding station at camp to explore how to attract birds.
Edible and Non-edible Plants - Students will be introduced to many native and exotic plants growing in the state forest. Learn how to categorize plants as edible, medicinal, non-edible, or poisonous, while emphasizing the importance of NOT eating unfamiliar plants.
Pond Study - Water is a vital natural resource and we emphasize the importance of respecting aquatic habitats. ALL participants will be expected to enter an ephemeral kettle pond filled with many wonderful & exciting species. This habitat can be very easily damaged and is available only in spring: if there is sufficient water in the pond; and, only to a small number of groups - first come, first served. Come learn the old fashioned way - get wet and muddy! THIS PROGRAM IS ONLY FOR THIRD GRADE AND ABOVE.
Native American Lore - This program presents an overview of Native American life. Topics include clothing, food gathering, medicine, and respect of Mother Earth. Programs can be tailored to concentrate on specific areas such as food preparation - “How are you going to cook that?” “How do you save the leftovers?” “Where do you get fresh fruits and vegetables in the middle of winter?”
I Want to Discover - For K, 1st & 2nd Graders: A gently guided, fun, journey through the meadows and/or forests of the KMSF. Inspired by the interests of the young child to promote & nurture a desire for a continuing love, care and further exploration of the natural world and the child’s place in it.
Animal Tracking - Identifying and/or recognizing animal movement, often referred to as tracking, incorporates much more than just looking for footprints. If conditions are not good for animals to make tracks (dry ground, frozen ground/no snow), tracks will be hard to find. There are other means of tracking animals; through signs of habitation, food and scat.
Instrument Study - During a hike in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, students will be introduced to several scientific instruments and the field measurements taken by natural scientists: degree of slope, DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) of trees, tree height, air and soil temperatures, wind speed, and find cardinal points with a compass. For Grades 5-8 only. Basic math skills are also a prerequisite.
Camouflage - This program concentrates on seeing the surrounding forests and fields of the KMSF like many animals do: with limited color vision. We will also introduce different methods of concealment which will help produce camouflage.
Prairie - Much of this part of Wisconsin was once covered by several types of prairie. We will view the various stages in the “life” of a prairie. Various plants and their uses will be discussed including the importance of this ecosystem in our everyday life. Fall and late spring are best to see plants.
Naturalist’s Choice - Combining material from any of the above mentioned programs, this program highlights the beauty found in the KMSF by discussing anything that the students, teachers or naturalists find of interest along our hike. If advised before the program, our naturalists will relate the hike to current or upcoming curriculum. This program is never the same!
15 additional programs include: Animal Homes, Biologically Inspired Inventions, Communities, Discovery, Fall in the Forest, Forest Succession, Insects, Reading the Landscape, Senses, Spring in the Forest, Touch Much Trust Walk, Wetland Study, Why Conservation?, Winter in the Forest, and Winter Survival.
Field Trip Listing (PDF)
For more information please call the
Outdoor Education office at 647-6050.