Outdoor Classroom

The Environmental study area has been used for occasional outdoor teaching since the 1960s, and regular outdoor classroom activities took off in the 1970s under the first EIC director Orin Gelderloos.  Over the years thousands of students, both from the University and from the surrounding urban areas, have visited this natural environment to study ecology, natural succession, and other natural sciences.  Many of the outdoor classroom regulars include Ecology or Environmental science students, GIS students, avid birders and naturalists, as well as home, public, and private school grade students learning about natural sciences.


Programs created for k-12 school groups

Students are able to experience hands-on science in our Environmental Study Area. We offer many educational programs to public, private, and home school students. Our most popular programs include Pond ExplorationsMaple Syrup ScienceSeasonal Nature Explorations, and Trip of a Drip. Our programs are multifaceted and offer unique opportunities for students to engage in meaningful learning, explore, and have fun throughout the year. 

Unique opportunities for university students 

Conveniently located on the University of Michigan Dearborn campus, the Environmental Study Area acts as a living laboratory for many college students. Many undergraduate and graduate courses at UM-Dearborn utilize the Environmental Study Area such as: Field Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology, Scientific Illustration, and Geology to mention a few. 

Programs offered to our local communities and the public  

We offer a variety of public programs that take place in the Environmental Study Area including the Children's Garden ProgramYoung Naturalist ProgramBirding By Ear and BeyondHomeschool Field Programs, and summer science camps.