Browse all of our virtual resources to bring Dodge into the classroom and home!
Tune in to Dodge Nature Center on YouTube for educational videos brought to you by Dodge naturalists!
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.
It’s a rhyming Storytime with a Naturalist! Settle in with Siri as she reads “How to Hide a Butterfly & Other Insects” by author-illustrator Ruth Heller. Are you curious about camouflage? Learn how butterflies and bugs can disappear!
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!
Naturalist Mick shows you the ropes on how to make cordage by hand. This primitive technology has helped humans for tens of thousands of years—and it’s still useful today! Mick will loop you in on the skill of twisting long, thin fibers into a much stronger string.
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!
Join naturalist Pam Welisevich for a virtual tour of the Dodge Farm. She takes you behind the scenes to greet goats, sheep and chickens—plus piglets, cows and horses! While Dodge’s doors are closed, we’ll bring you inside to experience the busyness of the barn.
Naturalist Pam introduces you to the newest residents of the farm: Spring chicks! Pam will give you the bird’s eye view of baby chicken beginnings. How do hens build nests and incubate their clutch? How do chicks develop inside the egg—and how do they get out?
Hear ye, hear ye! This video will be music to your ears. Tune in to naturalist Mary as she teaches you about the world of sounds around you, like bird calls, frog songs and coyote yips. What can you hear near to you? Go seek out nature’s noises in your neighborhood!
In a fiery new video, naturalist Mick will build your self-sufficient skills in the outdoors. Mick shares the historical secrets to fire making without matches. With an adult’s help, kids can use twine and tools to light a backyard fire tonight!
Why do some soils erode? Get the dirt on how water washes soils away and what qualities help hold it together! Naturalist Fellow Julia talks rainfall and runoff.
Did you know Dodge’s Main Property has an orienteering course? Neighbors, come build your navigational skills in nature! Naturalist Mary walks you through how to complete the course. Pack your smartphone and get set to stride post to post!
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!
Fluffy, insulating feathers keep this raptor warm in winter.
Lunar or later, we all need a break! Color this serene scene featuring a Barred Owl and a Coyote.
Enjoy these baby bunnies burrowed in the dandelions. Hop to it and color some cottontails today!
Decorate it any which way you want. Don’t worry, you walnut fail!
Brighten your day with blossoms! Why not watercolor these wildflowers? Or oil pastels for these perennials?
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.
Why not spend an afternoon with a raccoon? These masked bandits are highly adaptable and thrive in cities, forests and prairies. Get out the gray, black and white crayons—cover your trash can—and color the day away!
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!
Bring out the big box of crayons for these three little birds that sing sweet songs. Shade this colorful trio of Indigo Bunting, Goldfinch and Oriole.
Gray and Red Squirrels store food in many places around their habitat, ensuring they’ll have a food source in winter.
Let’s take a dip in the pond! The beautiful White Water Lily is rooted in the silty bottom of the Farm Pond, with the round leaves and many-petaled blossoms floating on the water’s surface. Dragonflies and Damselflies can be found perched and flying all around Dodge.
Color in these feathery friends!
Deer often herd together near food sources to conserve energy in the winter.
Go in-depth and explore these topics in a series of videos! Discover the air around you and dig into dirt.
For 1st — 3rd Graders. From a gentle breeze to a windstorm, air is always around us. Learn how you know air is here, how it behaves in different temperatures, and how to measure the wind!
For 1st — 4th Graders. Get the "scoop" on soils! Join the Dirt Detectives to investigate all the different components of soil: collect samples, find out what's inside, and learn how to classify rocks.
Complete the alphabet as you hike!
Using the alphabet as your guide, see what you can find outside.
How many farm-related words can you find?
Study the pictures, what changed?
Make as many words as you can from one!
Get outside and challenge yourself to find all the nature items!
Unscramble the words to learn all about the animals at Dodge.
Can you spot signs of squirrels in your area?
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.”
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.