For K-12 Teachers

Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve also has environmental education programs for school groups ranging from Kindergarten through College students. Below, is a link reviewing our past season of education at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve!

School Programs Report_2015

All programs take place at the outdoor lecture area at Hawk Ridge and include a demonstration with a live bird, if available. Programs are given by trained educators according to students’ development and abilities. Groups should be prepared for short hikes and the weather during your visit to Hawk Ridge. For further program information, including program options for each grade level, continue below on this page.

Costs for school programs are $80/program, up to 20 students. For classes over 20 students, a cost of $4/student is applied. There are scholarships available to help with bus and program fees. Funds are distributed on a first come, first serve basis (Limited funds are available). To schedule your program, click on the link below, or contact School Program Director, Clinton Nienhaus, with further questions.

Call or email Clinton Nienhaus, School Program Director, to discuss specific details for
your program: Phone: 218-428-8722, email:

Preschool – Kindergarten

30  minutes

An introduction to raptors! This program introduces birds, and especially birds of prey. Through the program an active investigation of what a bird is and does will be done, to determine how we are different from birds of prey. Students will get the chance to have hands on learning with a variety of bird artifacts.

Grades 1-2

Birds of Prey
30 – 45 minutes

Raptor is a word not always associated with birds of prey. Sometimes, raptor can refer to a group of dinosaurs! Birds of prey use special adaptations to help them capture prey. Each bird of prey has a particular relationship to others and through this program, we will work to investigate those adaptations and determine how one bird is related to another.

Raptors on the Move
45 minutes

Many species of bird migrate, but how do you know who is who when they are flying through the air? During this program, students will investigate migration and where some of the birds that migrate go for the winter. This program will also investigate the basics how to identify different species of bird by their shapes when they are flying.

 Grades 3-4

Raptors on the Move
45 minutes

Some birds migrate, that is, they fly south in the fall and return north in the spring. Migration is mainly driven by availability of food. Raptors follow rivers, shorelines, and mountain ranges when migration, which is why Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve is a point of concentration for migration birds. Migration takes a lot of energy, and raptors use a couple of methods to increase their efficiency in the air. This program investigates important considerations to make when thinking about migration.

Grade 5

Experience Hawk Ridge
90 minutes

Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve is perched above Duluth and Lake Superior offering a stunning overlook and high quality observation of migrating birds. The Experience Hawk Ridge program will investigate raptor adaptations, raptor research, and understand what makes Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve an excellent location to watch and experience migration. This program is specifically designed to address 5th grade Minnesota State Standards regarding adaptations, research and science.

 Grades 6 – 12

Eyes on the Skies – An Overview of Migration and Raptors
45 minutes

Hawk Ridge has a fascinating history, from gunner’s lair to birdwatcher’s paradise. Over 1,000 raptors per day fly past Hawk Ridge each fall for many reasons, one of which is Lake Superior. These migrating raptors take advantage of the geology of the North Shore to migrate. Students can see and touch artifacts such as wings and talons. Binoculars are provided.

Goshawk Hotspot
30- 45 minutes

Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve is one of the best places in the US to see Northern Goshawks during migration. But what makes this place so special? Northern Goshawks are a boreal forest species that has irruptive movements depending on prey availability. Its prey, Snowshoe Hare and Ruffed Grouse, follow 10 year cycles and some years are not abundant causing strong southward movements by Northern Goshawks. This program highlights some of the strong migrations witnessed at Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve and investigates Northern Goshawk biology and history.

Image Credits: Brent Alan Kauth