Ebersole Nature Center
Safety is stressed as students learn the basics of canoe technique and etiquette. Students learn the parts of the canoe, several canoe strokes, how to enter and exit a canoe, proper paddle use and importance of life jackets. Students explore the quiet waters of Jackson Lake practicing what they have learned. Canoeing instructors must be certified lifeguards (center Naturalists have this certification). This course is also a prerequisite for groups wishing to participate in the Half-Day Canoe trip.
Students learn to safely handle and properly use bow, arrows and other archery equipment. Safety and accuracy are stressed. Students improve their skills by taking turns practicing shooting at paper targets.
Students learn basic fish terminology and morphology as well as discuss fish adaptations and fishing safety. Students learn to safely bait their own hooks and spend time trying to catch "the big one" from Jackson Lake. Caught fish are identified by species and returned to the lake. Groups supply their own bait or for an additional charge Ebersole can supply bait (must be ordered in advance).
Yankee Springs Hike
Students travel by bus to Yankee Springs State Recreation area (about 15 minutes). At the Park, they will hike on a variety of terrain and discuss history of the area, both prehistoric (glaciers) as well as Native American times and post settlement times. Students learn about plants and animals found here and also hike around "Devil's Soupbowl", a deep glacial depression. There is a small mileage charge for this trip.
Lake Michigan Trip
Groups travel by bus to Saugatuck State Park on Lake Michigan (approximately 1 hour). At the park, they hike through a series of dunes while discussing history of the area, dune formation, plants and animals in the area, Lake Michigan formation, and the ways that humans are affecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem. The finale of the hike is a first hand visit to the lake. During warmer weather, students are encouraged to touch the water or wade along the shore and play in the sand on the beach. There is an additional mileage charge for this trip.
This course also utilizes Michigan history and Group Building. Discussion includes Michigan Native American way of life before Europeans arrives as compared to afterwards. Students are encouraged to "think like a Native American" and attempt to barter for other items. The Natives (students) are given furs that they then try to trade with a French fur trader (the teacher) for items they might want or need.
Cross Country Skiing
Students get the opportunity to experience a winter wonderland at Ebersole by exploring snow-covered wilderness trails. Students learn the history of Nordic skiing, discuss safety and equipment care followed by proper use and technique. Students practice skiing in open areas and finally explore the Ebersole Ski trail.
Students learn the history of snowshoes and the physics behind their design. Also discussed are variations in snowshoe shape and materials. Discussion includes proper care of equipment and snowshoe technique while students explore a variety of terrain at Ebersole.