Field Trip FAQs

What is So Special About the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary?

Imagine a giant sponge that goes as deep as 60 feet, where mid-July there is still ice.  Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) is an open space, natural area that includes specialized wetland called a fen. A fen is a type of wetland with a high water table and acidic, peat soil. The plants and geology of the BWS fen are especially unique to Minnesota, and the world. The peat soils have preserved seeds of rare plants over hundreds of years and restoration continues in order to support the fen’s ecology.

BWS is an open space where the 1 mile long boardwalk offers nature’s show interconnected land, air, water, and living things. The boardwalk leads to two geologic islands, connected by path.  The forested islands are in sharp contrast to the wetland areas vistas.  

Who Can Visit?

BWS is a park open to visitors like you!  It is free of charge to visit.  People gather at the fen of BWS for many reasons-  exercise, scientific research, birding, star gazing, reflection, field trips, and events.     

What is the Curriculum?

Consider the BWS boardwalk more than a field trip, but a learning lab itself.  Each stop on the tour becomes a mini-lesson.  This first lesson, "Welcome Hike & Belly Biology" is designed to introduce people of all ages to the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary any time of year.  Four additional lessons teach systems-thinking by learning through the seasonal changes the area has to offer.  Students experiencing all four seasonal lessons also gain an intense local phenology experience of biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.

The curriculum pieces developed for BWS work to embrace the vision of the Next Generation Science Standard’s 3-D learning by weaving into the student experience both content and skills with relevant interdisciplinary community connection opportunities.  

Science education strategies utilized are the 5E model with hands-on practice of science processes of engineering design and the scientific method.  The 5E’s are:

  • Engage
  • Explore
  • Explain
  • Elaborate
  • Evaluate

It is fun with the fen!  Here are the 5 site-based lessons:

  • "Blaine Welcome Sanctuary Welcome Hike & Belly Biology"  (all seasons)
  • "Fall FUNology with Phenology at Blaine Wetland Sanctuary" (fall)
  • "Frozen Secrets of the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary Fen" (winter)
  • "Blaine Wetland Sanctuary Springs Alive!"  (spring)
  • "Superheroes & Systems at Blaine Wetland Sanctuary" (summer)

How Do I Sign Up for Field Trips?

Each visit to the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary is new and different based on weather, season, water levels, wildlife, flowering plants, and more.  When it comes to visiting the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary with your students, please consider the following options:

  1. Option A

    Teacher Led Hiking of BWS Boardwalk 

    Free, All Week (Less Busy Weekdays) Open All Seasons


    Most educational groups allow 60-90 minutes to hike the boardwalk, across the islands, to the overlook and back. All paved trail or boardwalk.

    No reservations needed, however, you may wish to check with City of Blaine on events scheduled at BWS.

    Bus parking is available in the BWS lot off of Lexington Avenue


    Standards based curriculum (NGSS and MN) and maps available FREE now from City of Blaine. Interpretive signs and scientist stories coming soon.

  1. Option B

    Naturalist Led Hike with eSTEM Activities at BWS 

    Weekdays, Open All Seasons


    Standards-based curriculum (NGSS and MN) with eSTEM engineering design challenges led by Growing Green Hearts naturalist and licensed science teacher, Heidi Ferris.
    All engineering design and water quality testing materials included.

    Group Size/Rate

    Available for group sizes 10 to 150 people. Larger groups use rotating stations of up to 30 student per group.

    $250 / 2 hours / 30-60 students, up to $750 / all day / stations


    Contact Heidi Ferris at to save a date.

  1. Option C

    Teacher Training at BWS,
     Teacher-led Field Trip 

    Weekdays, Open All Seasons


    Teachers experience BWS then embed BWS into your curriculum for kids.

    1 hr environmental STEM curriculum training at your school with 1 hour nature hike at BWS for teacher teams led by Growing Green Hearts eSTEM expert, naturalist, and licensed science teacher, Heidi Ferris.

    Coaching on interdisciplinary connections to meet your needs.


    FREE standards-based curriculum and eSTEM activities specific to BWS, adaptable to your age group.

    Teacher training materials included.

    Group Size/Rate

    $150 / hour / 30 staff


    Contact Heidi Ferris at to save a date.