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  • HDT Team

What is the Youth Environmental Education Program?

Happy Dancing Turtle has been sharing about sustainable living topics with children for over a decade. Topics vary widely from recycling and water conservation to pollinators and habitat. The ages that HDT serves range from 4-adult. One of our longest running and most popular kids’ programs is Eco Camp. Eco Camp is a week-long day camp that includes environmental topics, recycled crafts, exploration, and field trips. 

If you want to help support programs like these, please go to our page on the Give to the Max Day website.


Field trips to the school forest and other outdoor locations offer kids to experience nature in Minnesota.

In 2015, HDT started in-school science education at local schools. These science lessons are aligned with learning standards and periodically supplement the science education in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms. 

HDT Program Assistant Michelle Hoefs said, “It’s so rewarding to work with 2nd graders that we had seen as 1st graders the year before. I hear them recall everything we had previously talked about and we’re be able to build upon that knowledge.”


Nora talks about butterflies to two 1st graders.

1st grade elementary teacher Shianna Hicks agreed, “They just bring so much knowledge of the [science] content in such an exciting way to provide the student’s with this knowledge.”

She continues, “As an elementary school teacher, it’s kind of hard to teach these science standards, because we have so many other things to cover. So, if they can come in here and do that for us and do it in such an exciting way that gets the kids so revved up is really great.”

Youth science exploration continues in an outdoor setting in HDT’s Nature Club, an after school program aimed at getting kids outside. Students observe natural phenomena, play games, enjoy the outdoors and learning in a relaxed and fun environment.

Tiny Turtles is for our youngest learners to experience nature. Tiny Turtles is designed specifically for 4 and 5 year old children. During this monthly program, preschoolers spend time doing nature crafts, science experiments, listening to books about nature and sustainable living, and exploring the outdoors on HDT’s wooded trails.


Tiny Turtles allows very young explorers to experience the great MN outdoors.

Turtle Treks offers a first time camping experience for many of our area’s youth. Camping trips consisting of a one or two night stay in Minnesota and State Park campgrounds for girls entering 5th-8th grades. this offer them an opportunity to earn all aspects of tent camping in a technology-free, empowering environment. An abbreviated trip to a local campground has been offered as an introduction to camping for girls and boys entering 2nd-4th grades.


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