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DNR nature program already taking registration for fall classes

Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, Nature Awaits program

As school is getting out for the summer, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is setting up classes for the fall

Learning meets adventure – fall registration is now open for Nature Awaits, an education initiative that allows fourth graders to visit one of 30 state parks on a free classroom field trip with trained DNR educators.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to teach these kiddos about the environment, to help them care for our parks, and to encourage them to care for our planet in the future.”

Sophie Riley is the Grand Region Nature Awaits Park Interpreter, covering Muskegon, Duck Lake, Holland, and Hoffmaster State Parks, some of which offer Lake Michigan shoreline and dune views.

“The forests around here are absolutely gorgeous so for some of our parks that don’t reach the beach, they still get a full experience outside on the trails going really deep into our forests as well.”

Almost 8,000 students participated in spring 2024.

Riley says the program is especially important for children in areas without easy access to state parks so they get a chance to explore nature hands-on.

“We have them practice using their senses and it’s a great opportunity for them to move around and not be afraid of getting their hands dirty and touching nature and just being outside.”

Nature Awaits provides a free day pass to each participant to encourage them to return with their families.

Teachers can register for fall programs now on the DNR website. Visit Michigan.gov/NatureAwaits.

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