K-12 Programs

Au Sable offers Residential Programs for classes to spend two or three days on the Au Sable campus learning about the natural world through hands-on, field-based science programs.  We offer two specific programs -- Great Northwoods Adventure and Manistee River Watershed Study -- but can work with you to combine any of our twelve program offerings to fit your classroom's needs.  

Manistee River Watershed Study

The Manistee River bubbles up from underground springs several miles from Au Sable Institute's Learning Center before merging with Lake Michigan 190 miles downstream in the town of Manistee.  While the source of this river has stayed constant, the surrounding landscape and consequently the river itself has undergone considerable change over the years.  The Manistee River Watershed Study examines the health of the riverine ecosystem and its relation to the larger watershed.  Students take into account the cultural history of the land while measuring physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the Manistee River to reveal the health of the watershed.

Read a sample Manistee River Watershed Study two-day program.

Great Northwoods Adventure

Au Sable Institute is located within the region known as the Northwoods, a unique forest community comprised of conifers and hardwoods.  The Great Northwoods Adventure program works to increase environmental awareness about this ecosystem through a wildlife and outdoor skills study.  Students spend the majority of their day outside gaining life-long skills that will help them appreciate and understand the Northwoods.  Our deep winter snows only enhance this amazing experience!

Read a sample Great Northwoods Adventure two-day program.


Winter Water Quality

Winter Water Quality offers a unique experience to travel out onto frozen Big Twin Lake to study Michigan’s most precious resource: water! Through holes drilled in the ice, students measure turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH. The following day, students partake in the Groundwater Study and discover how water (and contaminants in our water) move below our feet.


Create Your Own Program

We can work with your group to create a specialized overnight program by combining elements of our Day Programs. Please contact our offices for details.

Residential programs are offered during any of our seasons: Fall (Sept. 23-Oct. 25), Winter (Feb. 3-Feb. 28), and Spring (April 28-May 30).  Please contact us to inquire about costs.  To learn more about our programs or to schedule a visit, please contact Paul Wiemerslage, Environmental Education Coordinator, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (231) 587-8686.