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Nonprofit Overview

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.

Results: Through our programs and events Carpenter Nature Center has reached over 470,000 visitors since we opened in 1981. The team of neighbors, donors, volunteers, staff and board members has also increased the amount of protected habitat from the original 325 acres to 725 acres today.

Target demographics: Our K-12 award-winning environmental education curriculum teaches 7,000-10,000 students a year, most of whom live in the Twin Cities metro area and western Wisconsin. Our public programs and events reach children, parents and individuals of all ages from all over the United States, the majority of whom are from our region.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Each year 20,000-30,000 visitors enjoy the programs and trails at Carpenter Nature Center.

Geographic areas served: St. Croix Valley, Southeastern Twin Cities Metro area, western Wisconsin

Programs: Carpenter Nature Center's K12 Environmental Education curriculum includes over 130 programs that are adapted to each specific age group and address both Wisconsin and Minnesota science standards. Public programs and events and the K-12 curriculum take place on 725 acres of protected and restored habitat along the St. Croix River. Teachers especially love the Apple Orchard Programs, the Maple Syruping Programs, Flowers & Pollinators Programs and Winter Survival Programs.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.