Long Lake Conservation Center boasts acres of bog and peatland. The bog at Long Lake is an unique place where discoveries are waiting to be made. Students participate as ecologists as they trek through a variety of ecosystems. The ecologists hike past the lake, through a coniferous forest, and hardwoods to reach the unique ecosystem of a raised bog. In the bog, students explore the living and nonliving factors that make the bog ecosystem unique. Then, students apply their scientific knowledge, tools, and power of observation to test different aspects of the bog. Students wonder how the bog came to be and discover its geological history. The Long Lake Bog Trek adventure is a sensory experience in a unique ecosystem.


Across Lava River, onto the Teeter-Totter, and over the Wall. . . . To achieve these and other challenges, students have to think creatively, communicate independently, and cooperate effectively. After discussing their successes and ways they might improve, students will want to do each station again. . . but they’ll be more eager to try the next station on the CCC trail.


Orienteering is one of Long Lake’s best-loved traditions. Using a compass to navigate and find directions is a basic survival skill all nature enthusiasts should know. To set out on this adventure, a Long Lake naturalist invites students to learn and use compass just as they would any other technology. Students take time to explore how a compass works. Then, they apply their newly acquired knowledge to hands on compass practice on Long Lake’s outdoor compass practice course. Students discover how to find degrees, locate bearings, and ultimately learn basic navigation skills.


5. . . 4. . . 3. . . 2. . .1. . .Go! With compasses in hand, a flight of students dash to the starting board. “Yellow course, 253 degrees!” The orienteers take off into the woods in pursuit of their next clue in one of LLCC’s most exciting activities. When they all return, we’ll compile the results and hold an awards ceremony, to see if anyone set a new World Record. Prerequisite: general orienteering class.


An array of active games will burn off energy, encourage teamwork, and strengthen group cohesiveness. Activities may take place indoors or out, and include goal-oriented games. You may request your own games, or suggest students’ favorites.

SNAKES (and more) ALIVE!

In this class students have the opportunity to become herpetologists by getting up close to Long Lake’s live reptiles and amphibians! Students will collaborate with peers to make observations and discover the similarities and differences between species of reptiles and amphibians found here in Minnesota, including snakes. Slithering and hissing, snakes carry a negative image that few other critters do. Yet few animals are so fascinating. Students learn about Minnesota’s native snakes and how they are adapted for life in their ecosystems.


Learning how to survive in the wilderness is key to outdoor adventure! In this activity students become engineers as they are invited to solve a survival problem from the Long Lake naturalists. A “storm” is coming and students must engineer a shelter to survive! They draw a design, explore the forest for resources, and create a solution. The shelters are put to the test as we model “extreme” weather conditions. They will then identify improvements to complete the engineering process as they practice survival skills!


The student slowly draws the bow, takes aim, and lets the arrow fly. Students quickly learn the challenge and the lure of archery, one of the oldest forms of hunting in the world. Our archery field is designed with safety as top priority. At their turn, students practice the coordination and concentration necessary to hit the target.


Wilderness Meal puts students to the engineering test. As engineers they must solve a problem: how to eat lunch in the wilderness. Students explore their resources and, with the guidance of a naturalist, design and create a small cooking fire. At this cooking fire they cook their lunch and enjoy time working together in nature. If their fire fails, they must improve it. Throughout their time problem solving, students practice wilderness ethics of leave no trace and do no harm. Throughout the adventure, students use resources responsibly, adopt survival skills, collaborate, problem solve, and spend quality time in nature.


Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean we can’t continue learning outdoors. Guided by our naturalists, students find that nighttime in the north woods isn’t scary, but instead a wonderful time to observe nature. You’ll learn about the lives of animals at night and listen for the call of owls and other nocturnal creatures to respond to our calls. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about how nighttime vision works for humans and other animals. This class is limited to groups of 100 or less students.


Let’s see what we can find living in Long Lake! In this adventure students are invited to learn as limnologists; scientists who study lakes. Students will explore the shallow waters and collect macroinvertebrates, also known as bugs! After collecting their samples students will team up and work with their macroinvertebrates to observe, compare, contrast, and categorize! After finding patterns and similar characteristics, students are introduced to a dichotomous key which they will use to identify macroinvertebrates!


Insects are everywhere and are the perfect specimen to explore as a scientist! To start this adventure, a Long Lake naturalist invites students to participate as entomologists as they venture into the forest in search of insects. In the forest, students explore and use various tools to collect their own insects to observe. Then, students apply their scientific knowledge, tools, and power of observation to discover different insect adaptations and identify species using keys. Before the adventure ends, students make connections between the insects, their adaptations, and habitats to figure out how they benefit the ecosystem. This Entomology Exploration adventure is a fun and engaging way to explore nature and dig deeper into our scientific skills!


Students will observe nature as they wind along the snow covered trails of Long Lake. Students identify the equipment needed for this Nordic skill and will get fitted with boots, poles, and skis provided by Long Lake. They will learn the basics of skiing, trail etiquette, and how to get back up if you fall down! Students then have the opportunity to explore two different trails that loop through the mixed forest along the shores of Long Lake. Along the way they learn a new skill and way to appreciate nature!


Students explore the wild and pristine Long Lake via canoe after learning basic paddling skills, and all while developing communication skills with their canoeing partners! Their canoeing adventure starts with a discussion about canoeing and conservation. After students learn the safety skills, they are allowed to explore the lake via canoe. Throughout the Canoeing Adventure, students focus making observations and relating conservation to canoeing. Students, reflect as conservationists, conveying their experience canoeing and the importance of conservation.


More than a hike - an opportunity to observe first-hand the northern MInnesota wilderness. Guided by LLCC staff in a stimulating, interpretive style, the students are encouraged to open their senses to feel, see, touch and understand the world around them. LLCC's 760 acres provides an outstanding setting of hardwood forests, pine stands, ponds, bogs, lakes and meadows. 1-2 hours.


A journal is a tool used for scientific investigations, where you can practice the skill of recording your observations and reflecting on your experiences! As a scientist on a Nature Journaling adventure, a journal will help students record observation, collect data, and remind them of their adventures in nature. On this adventure students will slow down, look around, and take time to appreciate nature. A naturalist will guide students through a series of nature journaling activities that will help enhance their skills of observation.


Foresters manage trees as a resource using scientific skills, careful calculations, and tools. On this adventure, students walk through the woods as foresters. A Long Lake naturalists invites students to learn about different tree characteristics as they go on a hike through Long Lake’s forest. The foresters explore the woods as they work in teams to identify tree species. Students discover how different trees are a resource to both humans and wildlife. Students then apply their new tree knowledge to connect the use of forest resources to the practice of forest management. Overall, students enjoy their time outdoors observing trees and also gain insight as to how humans play a role in forest conservation.


On this adventure, novice ornithologist observe owls, ask questions, and connections to learn more these engrossing animals. To start the adventure, a Long Lake naturalist invites students to observe real mounts of owl species native to Minnesota and examine the specimens as ornithologists. Students explore the mounts through observation as they discover the owls’ unique adaptations. Through an entertaining demonstration, students discover: adaptations owl possess to make them effective birds of prey; what an owl pellet is; the differences between nocturnal, diurnal, and crepuscular animals; and characteristics of common Minnesota owls. Students apply their ornithology skills by using a field guide to identify Minnesota species of owls; then apply their public speaking skills to present owl information to the large group; and, lastly, apply owl “hunting” skills in a fun simulation game. Overall, students use tools and make close observation to learn more about the natural world around them!


Test out wolf communication skills on this well loved adventure that is a Long Lake winter tradition! Alpha Wolf teaches students about wolf pack dynamics and their methods of verbal and nonverbal communication. After learning about how wolves interact we go out into the the woods to test our own wolf communication skills! This adventure takes you out into the night to follow sound as it travels through a quiet forest; something that many people never get to experience. Requires snow on the ground.


On the adventure into the Thicket, students explore the physical and behavioral adaptations animals use for survival in a Thicket. A Long Lake naturalist invites students to participate as ecologists on a hike through the woods to find a thicket. Students explore the woods and examine the habitat the forest provides , as well as, observe the wildlife found and living in the woods. Through inquiry based, and scientific discussion; students define the ecological concepts. Then, the ecologists apply their knowledge of adaptations used by prey species in an animal simulation activity of hide and seek using the thicket habitat. Furthermore, students work together in small groups to define concepts, make decisions, and participate in the thicket predator prey simulation. Overall, students explore the thicket habitat, learn about adaptations and predator prey relationships, apply their knowledge in the thicket, record information about the forest ecosystem all while working together and having fun in the woods!


NEW IN 2021-22! Students will learn the basics of astronomy, learn about the constellations and then explore the stars using 8- and 10-inch telescopes. Depending on the time of year, and moon cycle, students can expect to see Saturn, Venus and more!


Phenology is "the rhythmic biological nature of events as they relate to climate". Students are invited on a snowshoe hike on the frozen lake to learn more about phenology. A Long Lake naturalist will facilitate a variety of activities for students to make connections as they observe their surroundings. How does what we see relate to what is happening around us? Students collect phenological data, compare the data to Long Lake’s phenological record, and connect the natural occurrences of today with those of the past. On this adventure the students are prompted to not just look at what is around them, but make connections between the signs of wildlife, habitat, and the seasons. By making connections students will build on the basic skills needed for understanding and analyzing trends in climate events. Overall, this adventure allows students to connect with nature’s rhythm and reflect on how people influence nature.


This Social Studies-focused course explores how Ojibwe and Dakota tribes lived in harmony with nature for millenia before the arrival of European settlers. Students will learn about how tribes survived and thrived from one season to the next by taking advantage of the bounty of nature. The class focuses on the Ojibwe winter tradition of storytelling. Students will play a role and act out scenes from traditional Ojibwe stories.


New in 2021-22! This class will be developed by Long Lake Naturalist and professional artist Julia Kuhns. Details are pending, but it will be really cool.

Classes and activities are subject to change. Some classes are available based on season.

Contact Long Lake at 218-768-4653 for more information about classes.