Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

Nature Exploration Boxes

Bring a piece of nature into your classroom! We’ve developed a series of traveling boxes designed to capture your student’s imagination using hands-on specimens. Each one of our Nature Exploration Boxes comes packed full of unique nature artifacts, activities, and teaching guides perfect for all ages. These kits are a great way to introduce students to Michigan’s great wealth of biodiversity! Free to use – loans only require a $20 refundable deposit. We currently have four boxes available for loan at the Boardman River Nature Center (click on photos for a closer look!):

Michigan BirdNEB - Michigan birds

Specimens Include – Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Barred Owl, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk

Activities – Owl Pellet Dissection,Predator vs. Prey, Egg Close-Up, Molt the Duck, and MORE

Resources – Nature Guides, Tips on Bird I.D., Red-tailed Hawk X-ray, Return of the Wild Turkey in MI, and MORE


Michigan InsectsNEB - Michigan Insects

Specimens Include – Bald-Faced Hornet’s Nest & Paper, Praying Mantis Egg Masses, Gypsy Moth Life Stages, Snailcase Bagworms, Mud Dauber Wasp Nest, Dragonflies’ Shed Skins, Goldenrod Galls, and MORE

Activities – Insect Match-Up, An Ant’s A-mazing World, Dance of the Bees, Mighty Bug Hunters Scavengers Hunt, The Wonder of Plant Galls, and MORE

Other Resources – Insect Field Guides, Fact sheets for all specimens, Butterflies and Skippers of Grand Traverse County, Keep Pests from Pestering YOU, Dragons of the Deep, and MORE

Michigan MammalsNEB - Michigan Mammals

Specimens Include – Coyote, Bobcat, Racoon, Skunk, Mink, Badger, Opossum, Porcupine, Muskrat

Activities – Mixed Up Animals, Mammals & Forests: Making Tracks, Teeth and Skulls, Animal Bingo, and MORE
Resources – Mammal Nature Guides, Antlers vs. Horns, Fact Sheets for Specimens, The Gnawers, America’s Great Cats, Animals in Water, and MORE

Michigan Rocks and MineralsNEB - Michigan Rocks & Minerals

Samples Include – Sandstone, Copper, Granite, Quartz, Michigan Pudding Stone, Petoskey Stones, Horn Coral, Brachipods, Bryozoans, Petrified Wood, AND SO MUCH MORE

Activities – Graphite Fingerprints, Rocks in Your Mouth, Growing Epson Salt Crystals, Erosion, Limestone Check, Pebbles & Rocks, and MORE

Resources – The Rock Cycle, Geologic Time Scale, The State Stone, Michigan Fossils, Kalkaska Sand, A Glacier Passed This Way, Rock Odyssey Poster, and MORE