Mighty Naturalist Program Series

Mighty Naturalist Programs

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 attending with an adult caregiver

Fee per Program: $8 per child ($5 Dahlem member); free for adult and infants. Additional older children are charged the same fee.

When: Friday morning 9:30 – 10:45 am on December 8, 15; January 5, 12, 19, 26; February 2, 9, 16; and March 1, 22.

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

Limit per Program: 20 children

December 2023- March 2024 Schedule

Click HERE to advance to the registration page. Sign up for as many as you would like.

1) December 8 — All About Turtles (live turtles!)
2) December 15 — Tree-ific Seasons
3) January 5 (Winter Break) — Nature’s Textures Art Class (SOLD OUT)
4) January 12 — When Winter Comes
5) January 19 —  In a Nutshell
6) January 26 — The Living Tree House
7) February 2 – Super Squirrely and cousin Groundhog
8) February 9 — Feathered Friends with Beaks (SOLD OUT)
9) February 16 — Winter Survival (SOLD OUT)
10) March 1 — Maple Sugaring in the Forest
11) March 22 (Spring Break) — The Reason for a Flower (SOLD OUT)


Program Descriptions

December 8; Live Turtle program; All About Turtles (meet live turtles!)  Have you ever wondered about turtles? How many kinds there are, why they have shells, where they live and what they eat?  Let’s find out together as we meet our live turtles! Afterwards, make ‘n take a turtle craft.

December 15; Tree-ific Seasons. Tree-ific seasons wheel, a short walk to look for signs of winter. What are the trees doing? What else is different this season? Where are the insects and flowers? Then, we’ll head indoors to craft seasonal tree art.

January 5; Nature Textures Art Class. The morning starts with a story about textures and seeing-feeling different items followed by a short hike to collect natural items to use back in the classroom for experimenting with paints and crayons to discover the simple and fascinating designs. This class offers time for creativity and exploration. (SOLD OUT)

 January 12; When Winter Comes.  Huddle close for a fun winter-themed story, take a short outdoor walk on the snow covered trail to look for animal tracks and their winter homes, and make little snow sculptures. Then we’ll head indoors to craft our own winter art projects.

January 19; In a Nutshell. Together we’ll have story time and a walk about the grounds to look for assorted nuts. Tree Nuts; where do they come from? What kind of nuts grow on trees? Is a nut a seed or fruit? Do they look, smell, feel different? Animals, birds, insects and people eat nuts!  After story time and short outdoor walk we’ll get crafty.

January 26; The Living Tree House. 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.

February 2; Super Squirrely and cousin Groundhog. If you followed a squirrel for a day, what would you see?  Discover different kinds of squirrels as they scamper, eat, and―finally―sleep.  We will see an assortment of squirrel ‘family’ furs, go on a squirrely outing to look for clues squirrels are actively busy in winter, head indoors to make ‘n take groundhog and squirrel crafts.

February 9; Feathered Friends with Beaks.  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 walk to observe our local birds in action, then return indoors for hands-on ‘bird beak’ activities, and a make ‘n take craft.   (SOLD OUT)

February 16; Winter Survival.  What are some actions nature takes and why to survive winter?  After story time, we’ll explore and learn about hibernation, migration and adaptation.  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 a short time outdoors seeking clues before heading into the classroom for hands-on activities and craft time.

March 1; Maple Sugaring in the Forest.  The maple sugaring season is a sign winter is ending and Spring is near. Hooray! After a story about maple sugaring, we will take a short walk through the sugar bush to see different methods to collect maple tree sap, look closely at baby leaves (buds), measure trees, try on a yoke, and deliver sap to our historic sugar shack. We’ll taste test maple sap and real maple syrup, too. Then, we’ll head indoors for a quick craft. This is the only time of year maple sugaring occurs. Don’t miss out!

March 22; The Reason for a Flower. After story time, we’ll take a short walk to find an assortment of seeds. Where do they come from and how do they get dispersed? Seeds and plants are food, and seeds are also next year’s plants. Today you will plant some seeds in a small pot and grow them at home.   (SOLD OUT)