preK-12 Education

An ideal setting for a living outdoor laboratory.

The Saint John's Outdoor University preK-12th grade environmental education program strives to improve environmental literacy and emotional connectedness to the natural world through hands-on and age-appropriate field trips.

Our educational programs annually serve over 8,000 public, private, and home school preK-12 students through on-site field experiences and in-class curricula. Outdoor field trips visit the Saint John's Abbey Arboretum, which encompasses over 2,500 acres of land in Central Minnesota and includes prairie, wetlands, forest, and oak savanna habitats.

Field Trip Request Forms Teacher Forms Distance Learning Resources

crossing the boardwalk

maple tree tapping

earthworms investigation

Unique Advantages of Our Program

  • Transportation
    Grants and donations to the  Outdoor U Bus Campaign reduce or cover the cost of transportation of students to and from Saint John's.
  • Low Fees
    Teachers and chaperones are not charged, and the cost per student is kept extremely low.
  • Curriculum & Graduation Standards
    Annually updated curricula are designed to incorporate local, state, and national graduation standards.
  • Environmental Teaching Supplies
    Content-specific teaching trunks are available on a limited basis for elementary grades. They include pre- and post-visit curriculum activities that complement on-site classes.
  • Teacher Training & Resources
    Annual training workshops familiarize teachers with Outdoor U field trips and teaching trunk activities. Continuing education hours are available.
  • Additional Campus Offerings
    School groups often take advantage of other learning opportunities while at Saint John's University, including the challenge course, climbing wall, and fine arts programs.

Field Trips at Saint John's Outdoor University

  • Many trails within the Saint John's Abbey Arboretum are available, including a 1.5 mile loop through prairie, wetlands, hardwood forest, and oak savanna.
  • Each class is hands-on, age-appropriate, and science driven. We work to accommodate the specific need and focus for each grade level.
  • Teachers can choose from many activities we offer based on grade level and academic standards, or select a program centered around a specific theme including: insects, sensory exploration, Minnesota biomes, and environmental changes.
  • Maple syruping classes are available mid-March through mid-April.
  • Trained naturalists lead all activities and maintain a low student to teacher ratio.

Please contact for more information or to schedule a class.