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Mighty Naturalist

Mighty Naturalist Programs 2020

Share your love of nature with your young child(ren). We will explore and play with nature while developing critical early childhood skills and growing self-confidence. The Mighty Naturalist Programs are geared toward children 5 years and younger with an adult caregiver to learn about animals, winter survival, birds, tracks, and more.  Each program offers a different theme and activities to give you and your mighty naturalist many program opportunities. Invite your friends to sign up, too.

Ages: 1-5 years old with a caregiver

Fee: $8 per child ($5 Dahlem member); free for adult and children under 1 year old

When: Friday morning 9:30 – 10:45 am on Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, and Feb. 7, 14, and May 1 (rescheduled from April 3)

>> May 1 program cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak worldwide <<

Advance Registration Required: Please call 517-782-3453 or click on the individual events below to register online at to reserve your spot for you and your mighty naturalist(s).  Payment due upon registration. Registered participants who did not attend program and/or give minimum 24 hour cancellation notice will not be refunded.


January 3; Nature Painting and Textures Art Class  Nature comes in different forms, and the one we will experiment with is texture using simple natural items, Play-doh, paint, and crayons. Let’s look around to see what textures we can find in the natural world, then we’ll collect a variety of items to take back to the classroom to experiment and discover the fascinating unique impressions and designs with nature’s stampers.  It’s so much fun playing and creating colorful nature art!

January 10; Snow Much Fun  We will read a fun winter-themed story, go for an outdoor walk on the snow covered trail and look at snowflake designs, blow bubbles to see if they freeze, and make snow angels, then we’ll head indoors to craft our own winter art at tables.

January 17; How Animals Survive in Winter Time  What are some actions nature takes and why to survive winter?  We will explore and learn about hibernation, migration and adaption.  Monarchs fly to Mexico, Groundhog goes to bed, and Weasel changes his wardrobe!  Find out how other animals cope with winter’s worst weather.  We will spend time outdoors seeking clues before heading into the classroom for stories, hands-on activities and craft time.

January 24; Our Feathered Friends  What is unique about birds, and what do their characteristics (feathers, feet, beak, color, etc.) tell us about their life?  We will read a bird-themed story, look at bird feathers, take a short birding hike to observe our local birds in action, then return indoors for hands-on ‘beak’ activities, and make a small bird feeder to take home. Join us, and help feed the birds!

January 31; Winter Animal Tracks  How animals make tracks can tell us what they are, what they’re doing and where they’re headed.  We’ll read a story go on a hunt to see where animal tracks take us; across a trail and up a tree, along the stream, or maybe to a protected home hidden under trees?  Indoors we will use rubber tracks to create our own tracks and stories.  One step at a time and you’ll learn the common tracks we see this time of year.

February 7; Super Squirrely  If you followed a squirrel for a day, what would you see?  Climbing branches, storing seeds, making homes in tree holes, and maybe even flying!  Discover different kinds of squirrels as they scamper, eat, and―finally―sleep.  We will go on a squirrely outing to look for clues squirrels are actively busy in winter, head indoors to make ‘n take squirrel craft, and read a cute story about squirrels.

February 14; Tree House – Who Lives There?  Nature is full of hidden clues about the animals that live there. You may not know where to look or what to look for but animal clues are everywhere. You’ll learn how to spot and identify common clues that animals live in or near forest trees. We’ll read a story, go on a short outdoor adventure, then head into the classroom to see an assortment of animal furs and homes, and make a craft.

May 1st (rescheduled from April 3) April 3; Life Under A Log Some people might see just a mushy, rotten log. We see a fascinating habitat for all kinds of organisms. We see a very important step in the life cycle of nature and a fascinating science lesson. Look for yourself!  Our time will be spent outdoors starting with a story, A Log’s Life followed by a walk  in the forest to investigate life in and under logs, among leaf litter, under rocks, and down into the soil.  You’ll be amazed at what we find hiding in dark places!