Join us at Wesselman Woods to explore, learn, and experience the richness of an urban old-growth forest. Whether your group is an office filled with computer hackers, a group of rambunctious kiddos, or a hoppin’ old folks’ home, we are here to educate, amuse, and enlighten you at Wesselman Woods.
Wesselman Woods is a busy place. We please ask you to have a reservation made at least one month in advance of your arrival to Wesselman Woods. We can only accommodate groups under 75 participants. If your group is larger than 75 participants, you MUST split the group up into two days or one session in the morning and one session in the evening.
Go ahead and fill out a Group Registration Form to schedule your program. If we do not receive a Group Registration Form at least one month in advance, your program is not officially scheduled. Each participant (student, scout, etc.) is $6. – this does not include teachers, scout leader, etc. We please ask that leaders of any group divide their groups into smaller groups of 10-15. We ask that you make every attempt to have a ratio of 1 adult to every 10 children. Additional chaperones after the 1 per 10 ratio will be charged $6 per person.
We look forward to having you on this incredible adventure with us!
Busy schedule? No worries! We can come to you!
For an outreach program, we ask you to please make a reservation at least two weeks in advance for your outreach program. For each outreach program, it is $3 per person – this includes participants, teachers, leaders, etc. Mileage is also incorporated into the fee for an outreach program. After you have registered, we will connect with you on what program you want for your group!
Please click here to register.
Our Environmental Education Menu
At Wesselman Woods, we offer a variety of programs and experiences for all ages, abilities, and attitudes. Each group that visits us is unique, and we understand that each group has individual goals and objectives to complete while participating in a program. Our education team is excited to help groups develop a program that will meet their goals!
Wessleman Woods provides programming not only at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve and Howell Wetlands, but we also offer off-site outreaches. Programs can be arranged for youth or adults, small or large school groups, scout groups, church groups, community organizations, just to name a few. Our education team strives to provide learner-centered and hands-on experiences in local spaces to highlight the wild spaces and wildlife within our local community.
We have created a menu for groups to use to help them select a program that will best fit their goals. To hold true with our mission of connecting others with nature, groups may choose from a main menu of Ecology, Zoology, Botany, Arthropodology, and Sustainability. After choosing a topic to explore, groups are to select Program Elements, either a Scientific Investigation, an EcoActivity, a Nature Journaling Activity, an Outdoor Hike, an Animal Encounter, or a combination of several elements to design their program. Please remember that you can also collaborate with our education team to develop a customized experience to meet your goals.
Ecology – In this main topic, participants examine the relationships of living things and their surroundings in Southwestern Indiana ecosystem (ex. animal adaptations, food chains/web, interconnectedness, niches).
Zoology – In this main topic, participants explore local animal life (ex. classifications, animal adaptations, habitats).
Botany – In this main topic, participants learn about local flora (ex. plant life cycle, sugar maple tapping, tree identification, plant products).
Arthropodology – In this main topic, participants uncover the local microcosm of arthropods (ex. insects, crustaceans, arachnids – lifecycle, body parts, and classification).
Sustainability – In this main topic, participants study how to maintain an ecological balance (ex. reduce, reuse, recycle, nonrenewable energy, natural resources, human impacts).
Which Program Elements do you want to focus on given your main topic?
Scientific Investigations: (Approximately 30 minutes) Investigations allow learners to use scientific tools to further the topic of study. Examples include collecting macroinvertebrates to determine water quality, investigating owl pellets, and classifying animals in a habitat using a key.
EcoActivities: (Approximately 30 minutes) EcoActivities include active games and small group activities to help learners explore a topic. Examples include a journey through the water cycle, a prey/predator game, tree cookie stories, and recycling sorting relays.
Nature Journaling: (Approximately 30 minutes) Nature Journaling helps learners practice their observation skills. Examples include drawing a leaf’s details and observing objects within a one square foot plot.
Outdoor Hike: (30 minutes – 2 hours) A naturalist-led hike will help learners use their senses to make observations, form connections with the forest, and investigate natural phenomena they discover on their hike. Hike length determined for program based on group’s goals and number of participants.
Animal Encounters: (30 minutes – 1 hour) Animal encounters allow learners to have the opportunity to meet animal ambassadors. Animal ambassadors help teach a range of topics from basic animal types to animal adaptations to conservation. Some of the animals we care for are rehabilitated non-releasable raptors, local species of snakes & frogs, and protected box turtles. Some animals are available for hands-on experiences.
Please keep in mind that our programs have a brief 15 minutes of introduction and conclusion to each program. The number of students, space capacity, and components chosen will also determine program length. We try to provide small group instruction for a more personalized experience. Please tell us your organization, contact information, number of participants, age of participants, date & time, total length of program desired, special needs of participants, and any special requests. The Wesselman Woods team will contact you to go over details before finalizing a program. If you have any further questions about scheduling or developing a program, please contact .
A few program examples:
Ecology – Introduction (15 minutes) + Scientific Investigation (30 minutes) + Outdoor Hike (30 minutes) + Animal Encounter (30 minutes) + Conclusion (15 minutes) = 2 hour program
Botany – Introduction (15 minutes) + Guided Hike (1 hour) + EcoActivity (1 hour) + Nature Journaling (30 minutes) + Conclusion (15 minutes) = 3 hour program
Zoology – Introduction (15 minutes) + Scientific Investigation (1 hour) + Guided Hike (1 hour) + Animal Encounter (30 minutes) + Conclusion (15 minutes) = 3 hour program
Arthropodology – Introduction (15 minutes) + Guided Hike (1 hour) + EcoActivity (1 hour) + Conclusion (15 minutes) = 1.5 hour program
Sustainability – Introduction (15 minutes) + Scientific Investigation (1.5 hours) + Nature Journaling (30 minutes) + Conclusion (15 minutes) = 2.5 hour program
Self-Touring at Wesselman Nature Preserve
Groups of 15 or more people who wish to tour the Nature Center and Preserve on their own must call two weeks ahead to make a reservation. Self-touring groups of more than 20 people must have a plan in place to divide into smaller sections and take turns visiting the lobby exhibits.