Department News

Public Events

Whitehouse Nature Center public programs

The Whitehouse Nature Center hosts monthly programs that are open to the general public, ranging from Nature Tots for 3-5 year olds to summer adventure camps for elementary school students to adult conservation classes. For more information and in order to prepare, please pre-register for all programs by phone or e-mail.

Nature Tots

Nature Tots are on Fridays and run from 10-11:30 a.m. and are for ages 3-5. There will be a craft, story and outdoor game during each session. 

Topics include:

  • Feb 12 - Rabbits
  • March 18 - Bats
  • April 15 - Sunflowers

Pre-register by contacting  or call 517-629-0582.

 

Sixth-Annual Albion Bee School

Saturday, Feb. 27, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
$40 per person for pre-registration, $25 per person for students ages 17 and under
Albion College’s Science Complex Building

Classes will cover the natural history of the honeybee, how to set up and manage a hive, handling/ordering bees, bee diseases, how to attract bees, CCD and more. Local beekeeping vendors will be on hand for supplies and support.

Bee school features:

  • Keynote by Jack Erwin
  • Beginner classes for those just starting
  • Intermediate classes for those who have already established a hive
  • Participate in the Honeybee Raffle

Registration price includes

  • Classes
  • Hot lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the morning

Pre-Registration By Check

Checks made out to Albion College and mailed to:

Albion College
c/o Whitehouse Nature Center
611 East Porter Street
Albion, MI 49224

Pre-Registration By Credit Card

Call 517-629-0507; between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

For general information or for a list of classes, contact or call 517-629-0582.

 

Night Hikes

  • February 22, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • March 18, 8:30-10 p.m.
  • April 22, 9-10:30 p.m.

Volunteer Days

  • March 31, April 7, and April 21 from 4:30-6 p.m.

Pre-register by contacting  or call 517-629-0582. Feel free to call or email for more information! 

Scout Programs

Bring your boy scout or girl scout troop to our learning center and explore our trails with a naturalist guide!

Contact the Nature Center to schedule a program for your troop today.

Cub Scout and Boy Scout Programs

  • Tiger Scouts (1st grade) "Let's Go Outdoors" – Come explore our trails and make a leaf rubbing! 1 hr. Completes the achievement.

  • Wolf Scouts (2nd grade) "Outdoor Adventure"Before visiting the center, talk with your den about the types of things you might see here and pack a picnic. Enjoy a guided tour of the trails and learn about poisonous plants. After your hike, enjoy your picnic meal. 1 hr. With homework completes elective 18a, b, partial f and g.

  • Bear Scouts (3rd grade) "Sharing the World with Wildlife"– Observe wildlife on a guided hike and make a poster of what your den has learned. 1 hr. Completes Achievement 5a, c, d, and e.

  • Webelos "Naturalist Activity Badge"– Discover the plants and animals that live in the Nature Center and take a guided tour with a naturalist through our trails. 1 hr. Completes Naturalist Badge 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

  • Boy Scouts "Bird Study Merit Badge" – Come participate in our winter Christmas Bird Count program! Contact the center for dates and times.

  • Boy Scout "Insect Study" – Learn all about insects and visit our beehive and mealworm colony. 1 hr. Completes Insect Study Merit Badge requirements 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10.

If you have any other programs in mind, let us know and we will accommodate you to the best of our abilities.

Brownie and Junior Girl Scout Programs

  • Daisy Girl Scouts "Explore the Outdoors" – Come explore our learning center and trails with a naturalist guide! If desired, pack a picnic to enjoy at the center for added outdoor fun with friends. 1 hr.

  • Brownie "Eco-Explorer Try-It" – Learn about ecology while exploring the outdoors! Work in pairs on an eco-explorer scavenger hunt and learn what animals and plants need to survive. 1 hr. Completes the Try-It.

  • Brownie "Watching Wildlife Try-It" – Have you ever wondered how animals build their homes and communicate with one another? Well, this is your chance to find out! Take a hike in the woods and then return to examine some earthworms up close and personal! 1 hr. Completes the Try-It.

  • Junior Girl Scout "Wilderness Badge" – Use binoculars to take a closer look at the great outdoors! Learn how scientists examine the world around them, identify poisonous plants, and try your hand at wildlife sketching. 1 hr. Completes the badge.

  • Junior Girl Scout "Your Outdoor Surroundings Badge" – Decide what to pack on a wilderness adventure, then hike the trails! Test your artistic abilities while playing a game with a friend and learn about outdoor careers and hobbies. 1 hr. Completes the badge.

If you have any other programs in mind, let us know and we will accommodate you to the best of our abilities.

General Program Guidelines

  • Maximum per program is 30 scouts plus chaperones.

  • A chaperone/scout ratio of 1:8 is recommended.

  • Have scouts wear secure name tags for the duration of their visit as well as clothing that is appropriate for the weather.

  • In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the staff may have to change the program format.

  • If you are running late, please call the Nature Center; your program may have to be shortened.

  • The majority of programs are free, but a small program fee may apply if crafts are part of the badge.

  • Badges/Try-Its are not provided; however, requirements will be met to the best of our abilities.

School Field Trips

Outdoor Education

Get your students up out of their seats, and take them on an adventure they'll never forget! The Whitehouse Nature Center provides a variety of educational programs for all grade levels focusing on the environment, local plants, animals and history. Each program is between one and two hours in length and includes a hike and activities that reinforce Grade Level Content Expectations as outlined by the Michigan Department of Education.

Programs are available to all groups, schools, scouts and civic organizations. Off-site programming is available to schools and other sites as our schedule allows.

Contact Us for Details

Program Guidelines

  • Maximum program class size is 30 students plus chaperones. Larger groups (more than 30) may divide participants into smaller groups to accommodate the class size.

  • Teacher-led activities are available while your class is not in a scheduled program.

  • A chaperone/student ratio of 1:8 is recommended.

  • Have students wear secure name tags for the duration of their visit.

  • In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the staff may have to change the program format.

  • If you are running late, please call the Nature Center; your program may have to be shortened.

Fee: The majority of programs are free; a small program fee may apply if crafts are part of a class.

Story and Mission

The Whitehouse Nature Center was dedicated in 1972 with a mission to "stimulate awareness and understanding of our natural environments among school, college, community, and other groups of all ages."

The Interpretive Center was officially dedicated in 1977 and provides an inside extension from the outdoors. The Center houses the Director's office; a classroom; an observation room overlooking feeders and the Kalamazoo River; a large open front porch; restrooms; a small kitchenette; a library of books and magazines; and the Kalamazoo Room, which holds displays and exhibits of local flora and fauna.

Scroll down to view a list of pre-existing programs, or tell us what material you would like to see covered and we will create a personalized program for your group! Call today to schedule your program.

Programs

Woodstalk

Experience different forest ecosystems, accompanied with educational and hands-on activities. Participants will learn the values and importance of the forest's resources and its interrelationships with wildlife and humans. Identify species of plants native and non-native to Michigan.

Key Topics: decomposer, consumer, producer, food chain, habitat, interrelationships, living vs. nonliving organisms, photosynthesis, competition, tree growth, forest management, invasive/nonnative, tree life cycle

Available year-round (1 – 1½ hours)

Pondering Life - Aquatic Study (river, pond, wetland)

Follow a drop of water through the water cycle. Learn about our dependence on water. Collect, study, and release aquatic organisms (such as dragonflies, beetles, water scorpions, and fish) from a wetland area. Discussions will focus on food chains, species' survival mechanisms, means of locomotion, breathing methods, identification, and pollution.

Key Topics: aquatic, food chain, gills, habitat, vertebrate, invertebrate, metamorphosis, groundwater, aquifer

Available late spring, summer, and early fall (1½ – 2 hours)

S.O.S. Save Our Species

Identify extinct, endangered, and threatened plants, animals, and habitats found in Michigan. Program will center around the causes of decline (pollution, pest/predator control, overuse, habitat loss) and conservation/management practices. Excursions to the Center's Bluebird research area and Wildlife Habitat Improvement Area.

Key Topics: adaptation, species, conservation, endangered, extinct, native, environment, reduce, reuse, recycle

Available year-round (1½ hours)

Wonders of the Night

Explore the darkness and its inhabitants on one of the centers' forested trails. Owls, bats, spider eyes, muskrat, and constellations are a few of the nocturnal wonders one may experience. This is a sensory, educational hike with focus on nocturnal wildlife and their adaptations.

Available spring, summer, fall (1½ hours)

History of the Land

The Whitehouse Nature Center has undergone many physical and environmental changes since its establishment. Look back in time at some of these changes while walking the grounds.

Key Topics: Interurban railroad; farming; drainage; Native American hunting grounds; early settlers; sandstone quarry; Wildlife Habitat Improvement Area – from a gravel pit to a junkyard/landfill to ponds, grasslands, and trees; Nature Center

Available year-round (1-2 hours)

Animal Studies

Studies will discuss how these animals are classified into their respective phylum, class, and order. Learn the distinguishing characteristics of each. Observe mounted specimens and skins, bones, and other parts of animals. Handle live animals if available. A field hike and educational games would accompany the study.

Key Topics: adaptation, survival, habitat, identification, conservation, characteristics, migration, hibernation, field markings, metamorphosis, skeleton systems

"It Skinks" - Reptiles and Amphibians

Handle live animals: snakes, toads, and turtles. Take a walk on the marsh boardwalk in search of these critters.

Available spring, summer, fall

Wings and Beaks

View bones, feathers, and mounted specimens for an up-close study. Spend time in the observation room for a look at the common species found in the area.

Available year-round

Mammals' "Paws"

View bones, furs, tracks, scat, and mounted specimens for an up-close study of Michigan wildlife. Inventory mammals, dissect an owl pellet.

Available year-round

Entomology

Identify common aquatic and terrestrial species while investigating different habitats. Observe a mealworm colony here in the Nature Center.

Available year-round

Map

map

More Articles ...