Virtual Wilderness Field Trips & Tours
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilderness Inquiry developed online programming for youth to advance our mission of connecting everyone to the outdoors, regardless of age, ability, or background. Virtual Explorers offers the chance for youth in grades 5–12 to experience virtual field trips focusing on Minnesota's history, culture, and ecology through inquiry-based learning and exploration. Thanks to financial support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Nature Valley, and USDA Forest Service, Minnesota youth have the opportunity to participate in courses for free. See course descriptions for cost for individuals that live outside the state of Minnesota.
About the Courses
Each Virtual Explorers course covers a variety of topics and offers creative ways for students to engage. Sessions are led by Wilderness Inquiry staff alongside partners including the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and more. Participants digitally join instructors on location and can engage with the content by asking questions or solving a mystery. Our courses are a great fit for teachers looking for new ideas during times of distance learning, families who homeschool or want to enjoy family activities, and youth program coordinators engaging with youth groups, after-school program participants, camps, or church groups.
Current Course Offerings
Topics & Themes
Participants can learn about local ecosystems like prairies and floodplain forests, studying ecology and identifying native plants and wildlife. Or they could study environmental stewardship and learn how to enjoy the outdoors through activities like canoeing and camping while exploring state parks and one of Minnesota’s greatest natural wonders, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
History & Culture
Students can explore historical landmarks like Fort Snelling and Saint Anthony Falls, learning the story of the Mississippi's traveling waterfall and discussing the cultural significance of The Bdote to Native peoples. Or, older students can further their interest in the outdoors by exploring careers that sustain and appreciate nature.
You all were fabulous. Both my kids enjoyed all aspects. And it inspired us all to leave the suburbs and to get out and explore the river!
This program provides a virtual step out of our classroom in these times when in-person field trips are not possible.
As an educator, I am thankful that my students have the opportunity to talk with and learn from Wilderness Adventures educators and USFS Rangers.