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Nature Explorers

Join our Parks Naturalists in exploring the natural areas of Washtenaw County this summer through the Nature Explorers Program. This is a hands-on, sensory-based program for children ages 4-6. Learn, Play, Explore, Discover ... with Washtenaw County Parks!

Nature Explorers is a program that engages the curiosity and excitement of younger children for the natural world. Children will experience nature directly through short hikes and learn how to observe nature with all five senses. Play, art and stories will be a big part of our adventures.  

Sessions can be taken individually.  However, kids who attend four out of the five programs offered June through August will be certified as Nature Explorers and receive an award!

Interested, but older than 6? Check out our Junior Naturalist Program!

Program Details

Session Details

Nature Explorers:  Nature Hiking and Safety

June 7th, 10AM-noon

Independence Lake County Park 

($) No vehicle entry fee this session ... stick around & join us for Community Safety Day at Blue Heron Bay!!

A safe and fun hiking trip begins indoors with good planning.  This hike will look at some of the common hazards we encounter along the trail, and how to prepare for them.  Having the equipment you need for comfort and safety increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning about nature. Part of Community Safety Day at Independence Lake.  Led by Shawn Severance. 

Nature Explorers:  Creepy Crawlies    

June 21st, 10:30AM-11:30AM

County Farm Park, meet at the Medford Road entrance  

We will learn about worms, roly polys, millipedes and much more as we explore the forest floor to see what tiny creatures live there.  We will go on a creepy crawly hunt, share what we find, then release our creatures back to their homes.  Led by Faye Stoner. Note: Restrooms are available within County Farm Park—a 10 minute walk from site.

Nature Explorers:  Monarchs and Milkweeds

July 19th, 10:30AM-11:30AM

County Farm Park, meet at the Platt Road entrance

Discover the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly and learn about the incredible journey these tiny animals make each year.  Learn to identify milkweeds, the host for Monarch caterpillars and a prime nectar source for many other fascinating creatures. After a short orientation, we’ll take to the trail in search of monarchs and other butterflies in the open fields.  We will read Hurry and the Monarch and Gotta Go! Gotta Go!.  Led by Shawn Severance

Nature Explorers:  Hiking with Henry

Aug 2nd, 10:30AM-11:30AM

County Farm Park, meet at the Platt Road entrance

One summer day, Henry David Thoreau decides to hike to Fitchburg.  Along the way he has many adventures – finding a bird's nest, eating blackberries, and walking on stones.  We will read the story Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, and take a hike like Henry.  Led by Shawn Severance

Nature Explorers:  Animals of the Night

Aug 16th, 10:30AM-11:30AM

County Farm Park, meet at the Platt Road entrance

When we go to sleep, a whole new world wakes up.  We will learn about nocturnal animals like owls and foxes, bats and raccoons.  Plus figure out what these animals are up to when they think no one is watching?  Led by Shawn Severance


Pre-registration is required for participation in these programs.  Online registration is provided for your convenience - please click here


For more information on summer children’s programs, call our administrative offices at (734) 971-6337 and ask to speak with a Parks Naturalist or email us at

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