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Eastman Nature Center

Elm Creek Park Reserve
13351 Elm Creek Rd
Dayton, MN 55369

Homeschool classesField trips

Eastman Nature Center is nestled in the sugar maple floodplain forest of Rush Creek. It was named after Whitney H. Eastman, an avid birdwatcher and nature center fundraiser. Newly reconstructed, the 13,000-square-foot building features quiet reading and observation rooms, large classrooms, a professional exhibit area with wildlife watching, an open-air deck, a coffee service, and an after-hours restroom.

In addition, if you have any questions about science topics or projects you are studying at home, Brandon is happy to discuss them with you.

Phone: 763-694-7700

Hours of operation: 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday; 12pm-5pm Sunday


Homeschool Classes

Eastman Nature Center in Maple Grove offers homeschool programs based on natural history, cultural history, and science for elementary and middle-school aged children. All programs are developed and taught by Brandon Baker, a former homeschooler.

Science Explorers

The Science Explorers program follows a monthly curriculum from September to May and uses games and hands on experiences inside a 5,200 acre park to explore natural history, cultural history, and science. The curriculum is on a five-year rotation.

Target age range: While this program welcomes ages 6–10 years, it focuses on the 8–10 years age range. This age focus was developed with the idea that older siblings would help their younger siblings during the class, helping the older siblings to better grasp the concept. In addition, if parts of a program are advanced for a 6–7 year old, they will still learn something about the topic, and when they study the topic in the future it will be more familiar to them. Siblings under 6 are allowed to attend as non-paying observers. Older students may also attend.

Cost per child/student: $5

Junior Citizen Scientists

Junior Citizen Scientists students take part in a nine-month-long citizen science project. They learn what it is like to be a field biologist as they set up control and removal plots to determine the effects that the invasive species buckthorn has on Elm Creek Park Preserve. Students will learn different methods of performing surveys, and then help design surveys for mammals, birds, and frogs as part of a multi-year study to help determine if removing buckthorn benefits the park. At the end of the year they will pull buckthorn from their removal plots.

As each class builds on the previous class students should plan to attend all nine classes.

This is an optional drop–off program. A waiver signed by a parent or guardian is required. Adults who wish to volunteer to assist the naturalist during this program should contact Brandon at Eastman Nature Center at 763–694–7703 to make arrangements before the first class meeting.

Target age range: designed for ages 11 and up; students need to be mature enough to take accurate measurements while collecting data as the data collected is sent to Three Rivers Natural Resource Management staff.

Cost per child/student: $5

For more information, about the Science Explorers or Junior Citizen Scientists programs, please contact Brandon Baker at 763–694–7703 or bbaker [at] threeriversparkdistrict.org

Homeschool class listings and registration:


Field Trips

Homeschool groups can schedule classes with the professional naturalists at Eastman Nature Center. Aquatic studies, insect programs, birding, live amphibians and reptiles, animal tracks, snowshoeing and maple syruping are some of the most popular options. Naturalists can also customize a program to meet the specific needs and interests of a group.

Programs are generally two hours in length.

Cost depends on the number of participants.

For more information,, please contact Brandon Baker at 763–694–7703 or bbaker [at] threeriversparkdistrict.org or visit Eastman Nature Center Group Opportunities for more information about Outdoor Education Programs.

In addition, if you have any questions about science topics or projects you are studying at home, Brandon is happy to discuss them with you!


Information subject to change. Please check with Eastman Nature Center for the most current information. Last updated on Sun, Sep 3, 2017.

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