New nature content posted every week
Tune in to Dodge Nature Center on YouTube for educational videos brought to you by Dodge naturalists!
Browse all of our virtual resources to bring Dodge into the classroom and home!
Learn how to make Campfire Stick Bread, take an inside tour of the farm, and much more. Follow us on YouTube above for new nature content every week!
Buddy up and go outside this summer! In this Nature Safety video, naturalist Pete is your guide to getting outdoors and going off trail. Meet bees, geese, frogs, toads, turtles and snakes—without anyone getting hurt. Learn how to spot pesky plants like stinging nettle and poison ivy. Take Pete’s prescription (wear long pants, boots, bug spray and sunscreen) and have a safe summer out in nature!
Toaday’s the day to talk toads! Here’s naturalist Jeff to tell you all about the American toad (Anaxyrus americanus). It’s a common species of toad at Dodge and throughout eastern North America. Learn about toads’ defenses against predators and listen to to the male’s melodic mating call.
How about a hike? Search for signs of Minnesota wildlife on a hike with Julia, one of our Naturalist Fellows. She’ll lead you to the prairie, forest and wetlands to look up, down, and all around for animals. Hit the trails to learn observational skills in nature and how you can protect wildlife habitat.
Feeling amphibious after some record-setting rainfall? Then hop right over as Siri reads “The Corner.” It’s one of five short stories in “Frog and Toad All Year,” a classic children’s book by author-illustrator Arnold Lobel. Save this story for a rainy day—or listen together in any kind of weather!
Settle in and snuggle up for our first Storytime with a Naturalist! Siri, one of our Naturalist Fellows, reads “Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Big Red Hen” by Swedish author-illustrator Maj Lindman. This book reminds Siri of teaching about hens and roosters on the Dodge farm. In the book, three young sisters learn to take care of their aunt’s chickens and collect eggs. Share it with the young farm fans in your life!
You can bake bread in your backyard—over a campfire! Naturalist Mick has all the tricks to mix dough, spiral it on a stick, and twirl ’til it’s toasted. Try making this tasty campfire snack! Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 5 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2/3 cup water.
Color it Wild with Dodge! Created by our very own Naturalist Fellow, Ashley Johnson. Stay inside the lines—or go wild!
Lunar or later, we all need a break! Color this serene scene featuring a Barred Owl and a Coyote.
In real life, their coats are dapple-gray. But you can always draw a horse of a different color!
It’s an awesome opossum! The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is found in forests and farmland in all parts of Minnesota, except the most northern, coldest areas. At Dodge, opossum have been spotted hanging out on the Main Property. Get out those gray, pink and white crayons and color away!
Happy Nat’l Pollinator Week! We’re celebrating the bees, butterflies and other pollinators that support healthy ecosystems everywhere. Visit the Dodge prairie to see bees buzzing on Gray-headed Coneflower and butterflies fluttering to Blazing Star.
Ready for a rockin’ robin coloring page? An American robin feeds a trio of needy nestlings. These hungry babies will reach their parents’ size within 2 weeks of hatching!
Gray and Red Squirrels store food in many places around their habitat, ensuring they’ll have a food source in winter.
Go in-depth and explore these topics in a series of videos! Discover the air around you and dig into dirt.
The last session of Outdoor Learning Days was one for the geologic record books. In the latest post on the Dodge Log, settle into your seats at the School of Rocks. Join juvenile geologists as they sweep for magnetic minerals, cement their understanding of sedimentation and unbottle volcanic activity.Read more
If you spend your childhood summers at Dodge, what could you grow up to be? Maryland arborist Meg Smolinski says her interest in horticulture stemmed from happy days hiking at the nature center. In the latest post on the Dodge Log, Meg reconnects with one of the naturalists that cultivated her love of trees, gardens and growing a greener world.Read more
Whooo would you say is the most excellent educational animal at Dodge? An owl? A fowl? A pig with big jowls? Some of our staff select their favorite resident animals in the latest Dodge Log post.Read more
“I love hearing the audible ‘wow!'” Every Dodge naturalist aims for those kinds of marvelous moments in their classes and camps. In this post, they talk about what they like to teach best and their standout memories in the outdoor classroom.Read more
What’s fiery, fun and foraged from the forest? Campfire cooking at Dodge! Outdoor cooking is a great way to bring a little Dodge into your yard, and naturalists Mick and Pete have the wild-style recipes to get you going.Read more
Dodge preschoolers may be staying home, but that doesn’t mean learning—or reading—stop! Our teachers have savvy selections for books to keep your preschooler laughing, lively and feeling loved. Picks range from fiction to nonfiction, fantasy to nature-based, animals to animation, and silly to serious. Snuggle up for some stories!Read more
Dodge naturalist Teresa Root developed the Signs of Spring contest to honor a feeling shared by many Minnesotans in early March: “You’re so tired of winter, and really looking forward to spring.”
This season, as our communities combat COVID-19, that stressed and restless feeling is amplified.
Though the contest’s entry deadline has passed, its activities—watching wildlife, identifying flowers, listening closely to bird calls—are available to all. On Dodge’s trails or closer to home, you can de-stress and deepen your observational abilities. Take advice from a naturalist: “Just sit in a chair in your backyard, slow down, take time, really notice.”Read more
Dodge doesn’t pause when temps drop. Horses prep to pull sleighs, Naturalist Fellows dig snow shelters (no, they don’t have to live in them), and bonfires bring some warmth to the most Siberian season.
In taking kids outside all winter, naturalists and preschool teachers ascribe to the motto, “There is no such thing as bad weather—only the wrong clothes.”Read more
Dodge’s yearlong Naturalist Fellowship trains college graduates as environmental educators, readying them to teach everything from Animal Tracks to Wilderness Survival.
What’s teacher training like at Dodge? It’s outside, it’s hands-on—and it’s crammed with questions.Read more