Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Rating: 4.94 stars   16 reviews

Issues:

Location: 12805 St. Croix Trail Hastings MN 55033 USA

Mission: To foster appreciation and inspire stewardship of the natural world. We accomplish our mission by acquiring and preserving land, providing quality environmental education, conservation practices, and enjoyable outdoor experiences for visitors of all ages and capabilities.

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Rating: 5 stars  

The value of CNC is evident by the continual progress they make in improving environmental education for K-12 students, as well as habitat restoration and preservation. Programs are offered virtually every week and the Center stays open almost every day of the year. Thanks to the generous 2011 donation of 3M and other significant donors, CNC completed an outdoor pavilion that enhances the center's ability to teach in all types of weather, and adds a revenue stream from pavilion rental. Most significantly, I feel, is the quality and capability of their naturalists who reach thousands of students every year with superb environmental education and naturalist programs. CNC is a first-rate facility.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and a small, dedicated professional staff, CNC gives more "non-profit bang for the buck" than any other charity I know. It's a well-managed organization with enthusiastic, skilled naturalists.

Their K-12 environmental education/natural science classes are filled with classes from area schools, and the center coordinates their curriculum with Minnesota and Wisconsin state education requirements. The public programs serve the needs of their community, and their apple orchard is eco-friendly.

All in all they do a terrific job in providing children with a quality natural science education. Local charity; 100% privately supported.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own children's learning and in many community events.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

seek ways to hire additional naturalists. The facility can handle more programs than they can presently fund.

Rating: 5 stars  

The expanse of land and the views from Carpenter Nature Center make it one my favorite places to be. This preservation of land is one of the most important aspects of Carpenter. Then the commitment to nature and outdoor education is another of Carpenter's strengths. They do it so well addressing the needs of young and old, as well as those of limited abilities. As well, the orchard, the bees and the maple syruping are excellent demonstrations of how we are connected to the land. Lastly, the staff make volunteers feel very welcome.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the joy of wandering and exploring the acres of the property.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue to find activities which interest people.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Learned a new skill and met some great people.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Great.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a Friend of Carpenter Nature Center and volunteer for over 5 years. I love the story of Carpenter. How Thomas and Edna Capenter wanted to have a place for children and adults to come and be close to nature. This is a peaceful place to walk the trails, visit the apple shack, or attend one of the many great events they have during the year. The staff are so dedicated to the programs that CNC offers and the many volunteers who both put in countless hours to keep it all going. This is a wonderul place to experience and learn about the natual world around us. CNC has truly enriched my life.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In learning about Raptors and watching them being released after injury.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It would be to get more funding to do more programs that they would love to add. I would also love to see more Friends of CNC (memberships)

Rating: 5 stars  

We have been associated with Carpenter Nature Center as volunteersI for over 25 years. Our experiences have always been positive. We have learned a great deal about nature, the environment and banding of birds in this period of tme. It is a joy to see children come and get exicited about birds, reptiles and amphibians. It is particularly satisfying to see the public schools in the area bring the children to the Nature Center for classes in the out of doors.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Learning how to band birds.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add staff

Rating: 5 stars  

I've been volunteering at Carpenter Nature Center for several years as a bird bander. A wonderful opportunity to learn more about birds. Their emphasis on environmental education for children is important since so many kids don't get much exposure to the out of doors.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Meeting lots of new people both staff and other visitors

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

They need more funds to be able to do their job

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

More dedicated space

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

New people - staff and visitors

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

A worthwhile way to volunteer

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered for the past 2 summers as a Greeter at Carpenter Nature Center. I have enjoyed getting to know the very dedicated staff and many of the volunteeers. The trails are scenic and I firmly believe that no one leaves Carpenter Nature Center in a bad mood. Stress seems to evaporate within minutes.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Watching the faces of the children light up as they run from one exhibit to the next. The children is what it is all about.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Like to see more staff hired.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Teaching about Western Hognose snake gave me confidence. I researched & was able to pass on the information.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Appreciated

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Rating: 4 stars  

My family and I find great value from being in nature. Carpenter Nature Center is place where we can enjoy the beauty, renew our energy, marvel at the natural systems, and learn so much about ourselves and our environment.

Carpenter has taught us about sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. Their apple orchard is an excellent example of a pest management system that doesn’t require loads of chemicals. In a time when it’s so easy to bring out the can of bug killer, we can all use a reminder that there are simpler, more environmentally sound ways to deal with what ails us.

I’m happy to volunteer my time to build a place where my children’s children can go to learn these valuable environmental lessons. If you value the environment, please join me in volunteering.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've personally experiencedthe results of this organization in * my daughter's eyes as she lights up when seeing the eagle * my family's health as we eat apples, raspberries, syrup and pumpkins from an environmentally managed orchard * my husband's smile as we hike serene and beautiful * my peace of mind knowing that the next generation has a place to go to experience the wonders of the natural world.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ensure that staff are not overworked. It's a small organization that demands much of its staff. Because the staff are so committed to the mission of the organization, they give it their all.

Rating: 5 stars  

As a retired high school biology teacher and an active birder I was drawn to Carpenter Nature Center when the director offered an instruction class for anyone interested in banding birds. That was 20 years ago. i have benefited and contributed to this wonderful nature center whose mission is dedicated to increasing adult's and children's knowledge about the natural world and its vulnerability each week for those years. The dedication of the staff and the volunteers they have recruited are doing a spectacular job in very meaningful ways to bring about behavior changes to enhance such difficult concepts as sustainability.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

offering meaningful programs for all ages in such a picturesque setting with skilled presenters. I love seeing the glee expressed by the children when interacting with natural displays or experiencing guided activities in the natural area.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

like to see aid for transportation expenses to give wider participation to our children as It is expensive for schools to bring students to the nature center

Rating: 5 stars  

A friend recommended Carpenter Nature Center and now I just keep going back.

The Carpenter Nature Center provides a place of connecting, enjoying and discovery. The staff is incredibly dedicated, knowledgeable and committed to helping people enjoy and learn about nature.

It is such a great place that I am willing to donate time and money to make it possible for others to learn and enjoy.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've witnessed the happy children when they are exploring Carpenter Nature Center, either with their parents or taking a class. Capenter has programs for families and individuals, or if people just want to drop in and go for a walk. The visitors are just so excited to be there.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to make a change, I would make it more well known in the metro area. This is a gem worth sharing.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

Donations were made for childrens education, lighting for the parking lot, and bird seed.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

Differentt times of the year they needed different things

What would you tell others about this organization?

They have great children's programs and well as events for adults. They really believe that the more people know, the more they will appreciate and protect the environment. They walk the talk, they have goals to reduce waste through recycling, they make events accessible to people of all abilities. This nature center is open to the public all year round, not just during programs so people can visit and explore on their own, too.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Rating: 5 stars  

One of the most wonderful sounds I hear while working at Carpenter Nature Center is the sound of excited children's voices, from pre-school up to high school, as they enter the CNC Visitor Center and see, possibly for the first time, live MN amphibians, reptiles, and raptors. Beautiful life-like displays of MN mammals in the presentation area also hold the interest of everyone. Their questions and comments as they watch the live presentation, and their attentive faces indicate that this is science and environmental education at its best. Add that to the diverse wild habitats, Mississippi River, and trails surrounding the nature center for hiking and viewing animals in the field, and you have an outstanding nature center.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

learning about handling and caring for animals in my volunteer job, including behavior and special needs. I've also enjoyed seeing bird presentations, and I'm able to observe the bird banders every Friday. I'm a birder, and working for this nature center has enhanced my appreciation of all animal life. I've also met interns and volunteers who have planned a career in science, due to childhood visits at CNC.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change the organization, but would add extra staff where they are needed.

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