Create a Connection with nature at aelc

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center strives to combine the best of nature study, conservation education, outdoor recreation, and environmental education.  We have the ability to provide your group with a fun and interactive presentation at your site or at AELC.  Each program uses a variety of sensory aids, including live plants, animals or other fun interactive components to enhance the learning experience.  

Our school programs are hands-on experiences that take place in the unique outdoor environment of the Fertile Sand Hills.  This outdoor "classroom" offers learning opportunities related to its diverse ecosystems including oak savanna, dry sand prairie, sand dunes, riverine communities, and lowland forests.


Register For A Program Today!

To sign up for a program call 218-945-3136 or email

Onsite Programs/Field Trips



Ahoy, mates....let the treasure hunting begin!  Join the international game called Geocaching.  Learn to use GPS technology to find treasures, or geocaches, which have been hidden in the Sand Hills.  Jot your experiences in a log book, then check out the loot.  But remember, if you take something from the geocache, you have to replace it with something for the next person to find...or walk the plank!

Winter Survival Competition


If your students live in Minnesota, chances are good that they will be faced with some degree of a winter survival situation in their lifetime.  During this activity students will learn about the effects of cold on the human body, the body's basic needs for survival, and the art of fire building.  They will be divided into teams and given a "survival pack".  As a team they will work together to build a shelter and survive in the northern Minnesota wilderness!

*This program is available during other seasons, contingent upon fire bans*

Campfire Cooking


Many groups who visit AELC choose to cook their meals over an open camp fire!  Teams of students can plan various aspects of the meal, from the beverage to the appetizer, and from the main dish to the dessert.  Just remember, whatever you choose to cook must be done without the use of a stove or microwave!  Or instead, what is better than a simple meal of hot dogs, s'mores, and hot chocolate over an open campfire?!

Diggin' in the Dunes


How did the sand dunes get here, and what kind of creatures can live in this sandy place?  We will explore the answers to these questions and moe as we go on an exciting hike out to this endangered ecosystem.  Students will discover both active and inactive sand dunes, along with an exciting study of what critters live in this unique habitat.

Birding at Lookout Point


The Fertile Sand Hills is home to a variety of bird species.  Students will learn about the fine art of birding, so bring along your binoculars and join us on this quest as we search for some of Minnesota's most beautiful birds.

Cross Country Skiing


Cross country skiing is a great way to enjoy the breath taking views of AELC and enjoy the trails.  Students will learn how to use the skis and then embark on a scavenger hunt to discover all that winter in Minnesota has to offer.

Searching for Animal Signs


Students will experience their senses in a whole new way, just as Helen Keller did when she lost her ability to see and hear.  They will interact with the natural world through touch, smell, and sounds when they walk blindfolded along the Helen Keller rope trail.

Sand Hill River Stream Survey


Use this amazing natural resource to explore and study the Sand Hill River watershed.  Students will help each other use their science discovery sills to determine whether the Sand Hill River is a healthy river ecosystem.  Your students will be able to "get their feet wet" while taking samples of macroinvertebrates right from the stream.  Students will use chemistry and animal identification to solve the mystery of the Sand Hill River.

Natural Communities Study


Students will go on an exciting adventure to discover the plants and animals adapted to live in the Fertile Sand Hills  by performing their very own field survey.  After trekking through a variety of habitats, students will even get the opportunity to create their very own perfectly adapted animal.  

Winter Ecology


have you ever wondered where animals go in winter, or what lives in the snow?  Bundled up, kids venture into the AELC "wild" to discover the wonders of the winter environment.  Follow mouse trails, discover tracks left behind by a mysterious animal, or simply enjoy a hike through the winter wilderness.

Outreach Programs

Reptiles and Amphibians: PreK-6th grade

Are snakes slimy?  What is the difference between a reptile and an amphibian?  Find out the answers to these questions and more during this fun exploration into the lives of these cool and cold-blooded animals.  We will meet live animal ambassadors and discover their amazing adaptations.

Animal Diversity: PreK-1st grade

Animals come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.  During this interactive program learners will meet some of Minnesota's unique animals and all the fun coats, skins, and coverings they come in.  Always wondered what an eagle's feather feels like?  Well join us and find out during this fun program!

Stream Survey: 1st-3rd & 4th-6th grade

What kind of life can live underneath the watery depths of a Minnesota stream?  To investigate this question and more we will bring aquatic life right to your classroom.  Students will be scientists for the day and help us here at AELC perform a stream survey of the Sand Hill River.  Your students will get to dive deep into the aquatic world while learning about chemistry, aquatic invertebrates, and fish!

Bugs: PreK-1st grade

During this exciting program we are going to get out magnifying glasses and discover the BIG world of bugs.  These animals are far from gross and scary!  You will be amazed as we learn all about this diverse group of animals.  From spiders to butterflies each of these unique animals has a purpose in nature, some even provide medicine and food to people around the world.

Groovin' and Groovy Animals: Infant-PreK

Every animal moves in their own special way.  After a fun and sill story time, students will meet live animals and learn to move like they do!  Do snakes hop, swim, crawl, or slither?  This special program for students up to four years old is full of games, animals, moving, and fun!

Medicinal and Edible Plants: 1st-3rd & 4th-6th grade

We all know that plants give us delicious food and make our gardens look pretty, but did you know that lavender can help you sleep, peppermint relieves headaches, and periwinkle can save lives!  Students will learn about the different ways that plants help to take care of us, and even make their own "healing" plant product.

Engineering in Nature: 4th-6th grade

Animals and plants use special adaptations to survive and thrive in the world around them.  Not only are these adaptations amazing, but they have helped scientists invent many things that we use in our everyday life.  Have you ever wondered how velcro was invented, or where airplanes design came from?  During this program you will discover the amazing world of animal adaptations and how we, as scientists, can learn from those adaptations!

Save our Species: 4th-6th & 6th-12th grade

What does a piping plover, massasuga, and indian rice grass have in common?  They are all endangered species found right here in Minnesota.  Students will meet some of AELC's endangered and threatened ambassador species right in their own classroom while learning how to care for these species from their own backyard!

Natural Resource Careers: 6th-8th & 9th-12th grade

A career working in natural resources can be both rewarding and demanding.  During this class learn about different careers in the field of natural resources.  What kind of degree do I need, what about internships, how much money will I make?  These are all questions we will address while learning about all the opportunities available in this fascinating career field.