At the center of an ancient, glacial lake bed, LLCC is an ideal location to investigate the unique bog environment. Populated by remarkable plants such as the carnivorous pitcher plant, edible Labrador tea, various orchids, and tamarack trees, the bog has a illuminating history. Be prepared for a sloppy, gloppy trek into the peat itself on our Bog Trek.


Across Lava River, onto the Teeter-Totter, through the Blind Maze 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.


Minnesota’s history is closely tied to the land, and way of life for Minnesotans has changed dramatically over the years. Through an interactive character program, students explore the history of the local landscape during the fur trade. As students learn about the lives of voyageurs, they will get a chance to test their strength and skills and will gain a greater appreciation for years gone by.


Orienteering is one of Long Lake’s best-loved traditions. Students learn the basic navigation by shooting and finding bearings with a compass. They practice their new skills on our outdoor orienteering field.


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, non-competitive games. You may request your own games, or suggest students’ favorites.


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. We’ll bring out our resident reptiles, including garter, bull, fox, and hognose, snakes, to provide real life examples and thrill the kids. . . and the adults!


“I’m lost in the woods! Maybe I need food. I don’t know—what do I do?” First, it’s extremely important to be calm—panic is your worst enemy. Most survival situations don’t last very long. Shelter can be an extremely important factor in survival—let’s start there. In this class, students first learn about wilderness survival shelters. Then, they construct their own.


Archery 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, and has stands for eight archers at a time. At their turn, students practice the coordination and concentration necessary to hit the target.


Just one match? That’s the challenge: build an environmentally sound fire, cook your lunch and “leave no trace”. . . but be careful, because you only get one match! Along with environmental ethic and outdoor skills, Wilderness Meal is an exercise in the life skills of teamwork and cooperation as students work together to succeed.


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 and record their macroinvertebrates in their field study journal!


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!


Pierre and Pascal are voyageurs with the Northwest Company looking for new crew members to build their brigade and join them on their fur trade route. Students will participate in a series of challenges to see if they have what it take be a voyageur. They will explore the life and hardships of the fur trade while working with one another to demonstrate teamwork. Students discover that collaboration, problem solving, and idea sharing are the key characteristics needed to join Pierre and Pascal’s brigade. As a team, students apply their knowledge and sometimes to strength to achieve the challenges at hand. When the students demonstrate their adeptness for problem solving, cooperation, and voyageur life; they build their brigade , and are welcomed to the Northwest Company!


Birding is popular hobby, as well as, area of scientific study. Birds are intriguing and unique creatures that captivate people and encourage exploration in search of rare and interesting birds. In this adventure, students are invited to learn as ornithologists and start what very well could be a lifelong quest in nature. Students explore Long Lake’s birding trail with tools and guides for sighting MN birds. Students discover: what birds can be found in certain habitats at certain times of the year, methods for identification, and bird adaptations. Throughout the adventure, students apply skills of reasoning, identifying patterns, using tools, communicating information. By the end of the adventure, students reflect on people’s use of nature. And human effects of bird habitats and lifestyle. Overall, students understand that nature can be appreciated through observation and respect and set goals for their birding life list!


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!


Leap into the world of amphibians, and find out why frogs are considered an indicator species for environmental health. Our live frogs and toads, as well as tadpoles in the spring, help students understand frog biology and habitat requirements. An active outdoor game enlivens the students’ indoor learning.


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. By the end of their adventure, students create a plan to practice conservation for one of the living things they observed while on the lake. Students, reflect as conservationists, conveying their experience canoeing and the importance of conservation.


On this hiking adventure, students will hike and study lichen as lichenologists. Close to campus, students observe and explore this “weird organism” that grows on rocks and trees and wonder what it is. They discover what a lichen is, use a key to identify three types of lichen, and set out to survey lichen at Long Lake! The lichenologists set out on a steady paced, two-mile hike to identify lichen and record the type and occurrences of lichen they observe. Through inquiry based exploration, students endeavor to find evidence of lichen succession and explain the symbiotic relationship of fungi and algae that make a lichen a lichen. After this adventure, students will likely begin to notice lichens everywhere and can continue to use inquiry and observational skills any time they are in nature!


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.


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.


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.


Who Gives a Hoot?Ornithologists do!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 MN owls. Students apply their ornithology skills by using a field guide to identify MN 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.


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 and then explore the stars using telescopes. Depending on the time of year, and moon cycle, students can expect to see Saturn, Mars and more!

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.