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The mission of the PEBC
is to be a vehicle for understanding and appreciating the natural
wonders in our own backyards.

Winter 2015 Public Programs

Feast for our Feathered Friends Program

The Prairie Ecology Bus Center offers a variety of naturalist programs for the general public primarily in the summer and winter months. The programs change each season and current classes are listed below. All programs are located at Sparks Park, 935 North Hwy. 86 in Lakefield, unless otherwise noted.

To attend any of these programs, we ask that you pre-register at least two business days ahead of time, unless otherwise noted, so that we can be sure to have enough supplies for everyone. We may also need to inform you of any changes or updates. You can register by calling the PEBC at 507.662.5064.

Volunteers Wanted! Do you have a hobby or skill that you'd like to share with others? If so, contact the PEBC! We are looking for folks who'd be interested in leading a class either in winter or in the summer. Give us a call to share your ideas and we'll work with you to organize and schedule a class or even a tour. No teaching experience necessary - just a willingness to share a favorite hobby or craft.

See what we are offering at Sparks Park - and check back often for new listings or date changes!

Program Name
Program Details
Program Description
Nature Packs

"Birding Adventures"

"Geology Rocks!"


"Outdoor Skills"


Check out one of PEBC's Nature Packs today for a weekend or for family vacation fun!! The Nature Packs are designed with families, youth groups, schools and home schools in mind. Each pack contains activities suitable for both individual explorations, as well as, groups. Packs can be checked out for up to two weeks at a time. You will be resopnsible for lost packs or broken equipment. For more information, call the PEBC at 507-662-5064.

Click here to view Nature Packs in detail!



June thru October

9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Who: Youth who have completed grade 2 & older

Back for its fourth year, garden camp is seeking interested young gardeners who aren't afraid to get a little dirty, who like to be outside, are willing to explore bugs and birds and other interesting garden visitors, and - of course - learn how to grow fabulous flowers and awesome veggies! Camp takes place on Mondays throughout the growing season starting in June. For more information, call the PEBC at 507-662-5064.

Click here to view Garden Camp page


PEBC's Annual Tromp, Stomp & Snowshoe Romp

Saturday, January 31

1:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Fee: $8 members/$10 non-members

Who: All Ages & Families

Enjoy life in the snow lane!  Our annual snowshoe hike is here again!  Snowshoeing is a great way to have fun and rediscover how to enjoy winter like a kid.  Join the PEBC for a hike on the trails of Sparks Park and see the winter scenery in a whole new way.  We’ll top off the afternoon with a belly-warming mug of hot cocoa!  Snowshoes are provided or bring your own.  Snowshoes are limited so call early to register!

A Day In The Pioneer Life


Thursday, February 5

6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Fee: $3 members/ $5 non-members

Who: Open to Youth Grades 3+ & Families




Take a step back in time and learn about the life of prairie farmers and their families. Why did they come here?  What challenges did they have getting started in this new land?  Explore early life through stories and activities and leave with a new appreciation for the conveniences of our “settled” life!



Legend of the Rainstick

Monday, February 16

6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Fee: $8 members/ $10 non-members

Who: Youth Grades 3+


Discover native rainstick legends from many cultures and learn how, when and where they are used.  You’ll hear the magical Legend of the Rainsticks and create, decorate and play your very own!  Many cultures use rainsticks to summon the rain as part of their ceremonies.  We just like the cool rain sounds you can make with this fun instrument!  You won’t want to miss this chance to take the comforting sound of rain home with you to listen to the sound of rain trickling down from the tops of trees whenever you want!

Winter Trees

Saturday, February 28

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Fee: $5 person/$15 Families

Who: Families (geared for younger learners - grade 3 & under)

Before we know it, trees and other plants will be waking from their winter slumber.  While they may look dead to us right now, our trees are adapted to living with extreme seasons and are great fun to explore – even in this season of rest!  Join PEBC naturalists to learn how trees “sleep” and take part in an introduction to winter tree identification as we take a walk through Sparks Park. Dress for the weather and wear warm footwear for our stroll!

Kitchen Science

Saturday, March 7

10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Fee: $3 child for members/ $5 child for non-members (Adults Free)

Who: Youth PreK-2nd & Their Adults

The kitchen is a great place to explore science.  There are many things you can mix together to get a reaction.  Join us to learn how to create kitchen magic using some basic supplies like milk, vinegar, baking soda and more! We’ll build a lava lamp, create volcanoes, make “ooblek” among other fun combinations that ooze, fizz, swirl and erupt! The opportunities for fun are endless…

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

Wednesday, March 18

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Fee: $3 child for members/ $5 child for non-members (Adults Free)

Who: Open to Youth PreK-2nd & Their Adults

Camouflage is how animals blend in with their environment. Animals can use it as a way to stay safe – but not all camouflage is the same! We can find really amazing adaptations that help animals hide, confuse predators, show their moods, change with the seasons, scare predators away and more! We’ll explore many ways that animals hide in nature through hands-on activities and artifacts that will help deepen your child’s comprehension of the natural world!

Birding 101

Saturday, March 21

8:30 a.m.- 10:30 p.m.

Fee: $5 person/$15 Families

Who: Open to Families

How many times have you seen a bird and wished you knew its name? Or, perhaps, you couldn’t find it in a bird guide? Birding for the beginner can be intimidating! But, fear not!  Help is on the way.  In this class, you’ll learn the basics of how to really SEE a bird; to recognize several common birds by sight and sound; and practice identifying them using binoculars and field guides as we stroll through Sparks Park looking for our winged neighbors!  No experience necessary.  Bring your own binoculars or use ours. 

Square Foot Gardening

Friday, March 27

6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Fee: $8 members/ $10 non-members

Who: Open to Adults

Not every yard is the ideal spot for gardening. Some yards are too shaded, some have poor soil, and some are oddly shaped. With Square Foot Gardening, you can grow the same amount of vegetables in only 20% of the space that a single-row garden would take. You will get to check out a model of a Square Foot Garden box, a high rise box, and simple ways to protect your garden. Come join a PEBC naturalist to learn a new way of gardening that not only saves space, but saves on water and work!

You can download the full schedule and program descriptions here:

Download December-March Program Schedule (pdf)





Pre-registration is required for all programs a minimum of two business days prior to program unless otherwise noted. Programs will cancel if minimum enrollment has not been met by the registration deadline. Please help us ensure the success of these programs by registering ahead of time. Please call 507.662.5064.

Class fee is payable at the time of the program unless otherwise noted. To send pre-payments, please mail checks to PEBC, PO Box 429, Lakefield, MN 56150. Interested in becoming a member and receive program discounts? Membership information is available at the PEBC office or online.