Lanark Field Days provides fun and exciting field trip opportunities for students in grades K-12 that address the Alabama State Course of Study Objectives through a multi-disciplinary approach using conservation education. Choose from one of our grade-specific, pre-planned Course of Study Field Trips. Staff will choose and plan activities in regards to special topics requested by the teacher, group timetables, weather, and seasonal variations. From fishing in the catfish pond to netting for tadpoles, students are sure to enjoy their time outdoors during a Lanark Field Day.
Welcome to the Alabama Nature Center
Alabama Nature Center is a hands-on outdoor education facility located at Lanark in Millbrook, Alabama. Just a few miles north of Montgomery and conveniently located along I-65, Lanark is the new home of the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) and the former estate of benefactors Isabel and Wiley Hill.
Lanark and the new Alabama Nature Center contain 350 acres of striking forests, fields, streams, wetlands, and ponds that are traversed by five miles of boardwalks and trails in three regions: Turkey Ridge, Hilltop Pass, and Still Creek Run. Key destinations include the Tree Top Walk, the Gum Pond, Natural Spring, and the Still Creek Riparian Forest, just to name a few. Conservation education programs at the Alabama Nature Center focus on using these natural resources as fun and exciting hands-on learning tools.
Find Out More About Your Naturalist
Course of Study Field Trips
Freshwater Fins } New for Spring 2013!
Discover what flashy freshwater fish are calling the ANC home this spring. Learn more about the captivating characteristics that set these creatures apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Explore the fascinating life history, unique diets, adaptive color patterns, distinctive behavior and preferred habitats of Alabama’s freshwater fish. Participants will get the chance to catch catfish, bass and bream in the ANC’s ponds and search for shiners, darters and other minnows in Still Creek.
Fiishing 101 (2nd - 3rd Grade) | Casting Game with cane poles—learn to fish like the early settlers! (30 minute session); Fishing at the Upper Pond with cane poles (45 minute session); What’s in your mouth—what fish like to eat (30 minute session); Minnows and more in Still Creek (2 hour session)
Fiishing 201 (4th - 6th Grade) | Casting Game with rods and reels—learn to cast like a pro! (30 minute session); Fishing at the Upper Pond with rods and reels (45 minute session); Fishing to Live—4th grade COS (1 hour session): (History of fishing gear; Fish: then and now; Make and take fishing baskets); What’s in your mouth—what fish like to eat (30 minute session); Streamwalk search in Still Creek (2 hour session);
Fiishing 301 (7th - 12th Grade) | Bass fishing in the Bullfrog Pond (2 hour session / 20 student limit); Fly fishing workshop at the Upper Pond (2 hour session / 10 student limit)
Fiishing 401 (10th - 12th Grade) | Pond management—seine for catfish and determine their population status (2 hour session); Biodiversity studies in Still Creek (2 hour session)
Backyard Bandits } New for Spring 2013!
What do you do when wildlife doesn’t seem so wild? Chances are, you’ve encountered a raccoon or opossum in your backyard and wondered how both of you can live in the same world.
Water World—5th-12th grade
With the expanding human population in both urban and rural areas, the opportunity for human-wildlife interactions has increased dramatically. Learning more about the life history of these animals is the key to understanding their motives for moving into “your” space.
Discover tips and techniques for urban wildlife interactions from wildlife educators Ron and Angie VanHerwyn. This duo will examine how to handle these encounters for the health and well-being of both you and the animals. You will also get the chance to see these fascinating mammals up close and personal during a live animal presentation.
During this program, you will also discover what life is like for a raccoon in the wild. Learn more about its life history, diet and behavior during a hike along the raccoon’s preferred aquatic habitats. Search for raccoon den sites along the trails, and investigate tracks and scat along the sandy banks of Still Creek and Beech Bottom.
Don’t miss this opportunity for your students to learn more about the animals they see in their own backyards!
This unique half day program is offered for a limited time for only $8 per student. Teachers may also add the live animal presentation session to another full day program selection for only $2 per student. Due to cost, there is a 50 student minimum for Backyard Bandits.
Grab your water shoes and get ready to get wet! Take an in depth look at what’s going on beneath the water’s surface. Use biological and chemical assessments to determine water quality. Learn more about water sources and pollution by immersing yourself in our most vital natural resource. This program includes a wet and wild hike in one of Alabama’s most beautiful streams.
Water Quality 101 | Determine how healthy the water really is using chemical and biological analyses
Pollution Solution | Determine if dilution is the real solution
Don’t Spill! | Discover how challenging water conservation truly is during a challenging water cup relay
Creek Hike | Explore the creek using a water watch assessment
Animal Action—K-6th grade
Investigate the habits and life cycles of the state’s coolest wild creatures. Become wildlife biologists for the day as you investigate the habits and habitats of native Alabama birds, mammals, and reptiles. Discover how to think like an animal by learning how to tailor your lifestyle to meet your most basic needs. This program includes a special live animal presentation as well as skin and skull specimens.
Animal Homes Hike| Explore different animal homes and how they are built
Bird Behavior Hike| Observe different bird behaviors and learn how they aid in survival
Build-A-Nest | Make your own bird nest to take home
Freeze Birds | See how still you can be or get eaten by the hawk!
Owl Pellets | Dissect owl pellets to see what your owl had for dinner
Skins and Skulls | From what they eat to where they live, learn about the basic life history of Alabama’s most popular critters
Acting Like Animals | Learn animal identification and characteristics by playing charades
Woodland Chase —Turkey Predators | Experience the predator-prey relationship with this fun activity
Vested Interest | Make a camouflage vest to see how well you blend in with your surroundings
Track ‘Em | Examine animal tracks to determine behavior; Make your own tracks using replicas and paint
Safari Gear (K-2nd) | Make your own safari hat to take home; Create your own field notebook to record your findings
Wetland Wildlife—K-12th grade
Explore the inhabitants of the underwater world during this wet and wild program that focuses on adaptations of aquatic wildlife. Grab a net and see how many tadpoles you can round up! Witness firsthand the stages of metamorphosis. From tiny minnows to colorful ducks–learn just how aquatic animals call Alabama home. This program includes both a pond and creek exploration activity. Be prepared to get wet!
Aquatic Life Roundup | Strap on some waders and grab a net to sample macroinvertebrates in the ANC ponds and streams
Wetlands Hike| Explore wetland plants and animals
Cast Away | Practice casting to see how good of a fisherman you are
Big Fish-Little Fish | Eat or get eaten during this fun predator-prey game
Fish Printing | Use fish molds to create your own colorful fish picture
Creek Exploration | Wade in the creek to explore the habitat of wetland wildlife
What’s Under There? | Uncover salamanders and other wetland creatures in the streams and ponds of the ANC
Wings Over the Water | Explore the awesome adaptations of Alabama waterfowl
Wooded Wonderlands—K-12th grade
Explore the fascinating residents of the woodsy world. Let the trees tell you a thing or two about what you’ve always wondered about: Why do the leaves change color in the fall? How old is this tree? Use bark appearance and leaf shape to help you identify the most important plants in the state. From food to shelter to peace of mind, learn how the woods meet our most basic needs.
Tree Detectives Hike | Sharpen your observation skills while identifying trees
How Old Am I? | Use increment borers to determine a tree’s age
Build a Tree | Learn about tree parts by building a human tree
Leafy critters | Use leaves to create animal shapes
Paint with pine needles | Make your own paint brush using native pine tree needles
Forest products | Discover how the woods can help you survive
Seed Need | See how many seeds you can collect wearing a large sock and then make a collage
Flower hunt | Go on a scavenger hunt to find different kinds of flowers
Flower Autopsy | Dissect a flower to examine its parts
Nature Journaling | Record your thoughts and discoveries as you hike the trail
Nature Art | Use the colors of the woods to shade your masterpiece
Take-home tree | Plant your own oak tree using an acorn from the ANC
Bugs and Beyond—K-6th grade
Discover more about the intriguing lives of earth’s smallest inhabitants. Grab an insect net and see how many of these humble creatures you can collect. Explore your creativity by sketching what you find in a nature journal. Become insects and learn how to communicate using touch and scent alone. Dig for worms in the rich soil of the forest and discover what’s living beneath our feet.
Insect Trap Creation | Make a take-home trap to investigate your back yard
Big Ant Eyes | Make cool ant eyes to look like an insect
Peppermint Beetle | Discover how ants and other insects use smell to communicate
Change Is Good | Take part in metamorphosis by acting out the various stages; Make your own chrysalis and butterfly using craft materials
Bug Roundup | Use nets to catch your favorite insect
How Far Can You Jump? | See if you can jump like a grasshopper
Nature sketching | Draw your favorite insect that you collected during the Bug Roundup
Spider Sensations | Discover how web-spinning spiders find their prey by feel
Clay Worms | Make model earthworms using clay
Worm dig | Unearth the coolest decomposers on the planet
Soil Searching—K-6th grade
Get ready to get down and dirty during this earth science-focused program that explores the land we live on from its most basic elements. From Alabama’s diverse soils to its towering trees and abundant wildlife, what we explore and enjoy all comes back to what’s hidden below the surface. Uncover more than just “dirt” when you start digging through Alabama’s unique soil types. Bring your water shoes—this expedition takes a trek through Still Creek to explore physical processes and riparian soil types.
This program is only offered as a half-day program.
Geographical changes hike | Take a stroll down through time as you discover how soil types affect both plant and animal diversity in different areas
Creek hike | Explore the processes of weathering and erosion and their affect on creek composition
Sand art | Use different colored soil to make a take-home treasure
What’s Beneath Our Feet? | Explore the properties of sand, silt and clay
My Blood Runs Cold—K through 12th
Learn more about the creatures that creep and crawl around the ANC. From reptiles to amphibians to fish, this program highlights the cool adaptations of Alabama’s cold-blooded inhabitants.
Reptile Rendezvous | Take a hike along the ANC trails to see how many lizards and snakes are basking in the sun
Amphibian Adventure | See what salamanders and frogs are hiding in Gum Pond and Still Creek
I Heard That! | Play a game to see how well you can identify frogs based on the sounds they make
Snakes of Alabama | Learn about the life history of our state’s most common snakes during a live animal demonstration
Creek Culture—K through 12th
Ever wonder what life is like for creatures in the creek? Learn more about the habitat and life history of the animals that call the creek home.
What Cruises the Creek? | See who’s on the ANC’s Most Wanted list during a hike down Still Creek. Determine where the usual suspects are hiding out.
What Creates a Creek? | From pools to riffles to runs, find out what makes a creek such an inviting place to live. | Learn more about the soil, rocks and minerals that create the creek itself
Flashy Freshwater Fins | See what fish are darting around Still Creek
Aquatic Adaptations | How the wildlife adapt to live in changing freshwater environments | See what “special gear” or anatomy allows them to cope with life in the water
Safari Kidstyle—Pre-K through K5
Get ready for an adventure tailored specifically for pre-K and Kindergarten students. This program will feature hands-on activities that maximize the exploratory nature of young minds in the outdoors.
Each Safari Kidstyle program will feature two hours of instruction, between 9 am and 2 pm.
Let your imagination run wild during excursions to discover the coolest creatures in Alabama!
Choose your Safari Kidstyle adventure today!
Nature Navigators | Something round, something fuzzy, something smooth, something noisy—strike out on a scavenger hunt that uses the five senses to discover the wonders of the natural world.
Creek Critters | Who’s using and who’s cruising the creek? Find out what animals use this special place during a splash down ANC’s Still Creek.
Furs and Feathers | What creatures call the Alabama woods home? Learn more about how birds and mammals survive in the wild and get a chance to feel their fur and feathers.
Pond Transformers | From tadpoles to dragonflies, the pond is full of young animals that use the water to become all that they can be. Grab and net and see what you will find living around the pond’s edge!
Cost is $6 per child.
Field Trip Costs
Full-Day Field Trip | $10.00 per child (includes 4 hours of instructional activities between 9 am - 2 pm)
Half-Day Field Trip | $6.00 per child (includes 2 hours of instructional activities between 9 am - 2 pm)
Please be aware that there is a minimum field trip cost of $200.00 for any field trip.
Value-Added Activity Options
Fishing | $1 per child
Let us provide the fishing poles, bait and BIG catfish
Worm Bed Creation | $1 per child
Create your own compost bin—we provide the worms!
Track Casting | $1 per child
Make your own take home animal track
Clay Sculpting | $1 per child
Use your imagination to express your creativity with clay
Birdhouse Construction | $12 per child
Build a birdhouse for your backyard
Group cancellations must be made up to two weeks prior to the reserved date in order to avoid a cancellation fee. The cancellation must be made in writing and must be received by mail, email, or fax. A $50 cancellation fee will charged to organizations who cancel within two weeks of the reservation.
Programs will take place rain or shine. Although the Alabama Nature Center is an “outdoor classroom”, we are fortunate to have the Lanark Pavilion available for rainy days. Most of our programs can be modified as a rainy day alternative.
The Pavilion Outpost at the Alabama Nature Center offers souvenirs to commemorate your experience!