Agassiz Environmental Learning Center

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center Agassiz Environmental Learning Center is located one mile west of Fertile, MN in the unique and beautiful Fertile Sand Hills area. We offer educational programs for school groups from elementary age through college age.
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We also offer recreational opportunites for visitors of all ages. The AELC, also known locally as "The Nature Center" is located in the 640 acre wilderness area located just west of Fertile. There is a Visitor's Center with a meeting room, kitchen and restroom facilities including showers, in addition to a primitive campground. Our large deck is situated above the Sand Hill River and picnic tables are available for family gatherings and picnics. There is an extensive trail system maintained for hiking in the summer and groomed regularly for cross country skiing in the winter. In our Visitor's Center, we also have cross country ski equipment available to rent. There is also a five mile horse riding trail around the perimeter as well as a horse loading and unloading area. The Fertile Sand Hills is a beautiful and unique wilderness area that offers a diversity of natural communities, including two of Minnesota's most endangered - prairie and oak savannah. Other natural communities include the Sand Hill River, riverine forest,birch bluffs, active sand dunes and oak woodland.

Mission: Our mission is to promote stewardship of natural resources for present and future generations.

Operating as usual

11/23/2020

Volunteers Needed
Want to help out at the Nature Center this winter? Send us a message!

Wonderful photo tour of Fertile Sand Hills featuring Scout Tower. Thanks to Torkelson family for sharing glimpse of Sand...
11/22/2020
Welcome to Agassiz Environmental Learning Center

Wonderful photo tour of Fertile Sand Hills featuring Scout Tower. Thanks to Torkelson family for sharing glimpse of Sand Hill's Splendor! Get out and explore the many trails. Just Do It! We Have Maps!
https://aelcfertile.org/trail-maps
Now what's your excuse?

Mission: To foster a greater understanding of the interrelationships between humans and nature.

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's cover photo
11/20/2020

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's cover photo

Fertile Public Library
11/20/2020

Fertile Public Library

🦖 Aw, poor buddy... Don't be like Rex.
Did you know that we offer 3 different methods for enjoying audiobooks?
📲 Download audiobooks to your mobile device via the OverDrive for Libraries app, the Libby app, or by visiting larl.overdrive.com.
📲 You can also stream up to 5 audiobooks a month using the hoopla digital app or by visiting larl.org/hoopla.
💿 Finally, if you prefer a physical audiobook to play in your disc player you can also find those at egcatalog.larl.org.
And if you have any questions give us a call. We're always glad to help!

Project WILD
11/17/2020

Project WILD

Enjoy these bird sound mnemonics! To learn more about bird sounds, check out the activity "Avian Acoustics: Sound Off!" in the #FlyingWILD guide. Your students will imitate different bird songs by singing and using balloons that illustrate a bird's syrinx.

Credit: @birdandmooncomics

52 Hike Challenge
11/16/2020

52 Hike Challenge

Can you believe it’s already October, and 2020 is almost over? Let’s plan ahead and make 2021 your best year yet - commit to next year’s #52HikeChallenge right now!

Hikers describe the #52HikeChallenge as a life changing challenge that has the power to help you heal and grow! Are you ready to be empowered by #52hikes?

Join the global movement! Sign up for the #52HikeChallenge2021 now at 52HikeChallenge.com and choose a starter package to get your patch and stickers!

Here’s to many more hikes this year and next 🥾🎉

📷 @warillafitness

Junior Wildlife Ranger
11/16/2020

Junior Wildlife Ranger

Our team at Junior Wildlife Ranger is very excited to announce the newest installment of our free Neighborhood Badge program — a Neighborhood Birds Adventure Booklet!

Usually, Junior Wildlife Rangers earn their badges in protected natural areas like parks or wildlife refuges. Now, you can become a Junior Wildlife Ranger in your own community with the Neighborhood Badge! With this specific program, Junior Wildlife Rangers will learn about the world of birds—how they travel, build their homes, and talk to each other—through fun activities you can do yourself on a walk in your neighborhood. Along the way, you will also learn about how humans affect birds and some ways to help them out!

For those who want to access the program, go to this link: https://www.juniorwildliferanger.org/neighborhood. This link will take you to the Neighborhood Badge page of the JWR website. From there, click on the image of the Neighborhood Birds Adventure Booklet to access the booklet pdf.

Creating these badge programs requires hard work from our entire team. Thank you to everyone that made this new program possible!

Happy adventuring!

#neighborhoodbadge #birds #neighborhoodbadgebirdprogram #juniorwildliferanger #outdooreducation #environmentalstewardship

Critters caught on camera.
11/15/2020

Critters caught on camera.

11/14/2020

Effective November 16, 2020 AELC restrooms will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays. Restrooms will be cleaned each day.

Make Your Own Suet
11/11/2020
Make Your Own Suet

Make Your Own Suet

With this easy vegetarian recipe, you can attract insect lovers like woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Get the Kids Outside
11/06/2020

Get the Kids Outside

With the days getting shorter and the sun setting earlier, we need to be a bit more creative when it comes to outdoor play with kids. But have no fear! We have a few ideas to get you started.

International Water Institute
11/05/2020

International Water Institute

Named after the sand dunes near the end of the river, the Sand Hill River begins at Sand Hill Lake in Fosston, MN. The river is 101 miles long and passes through Mahnomen county, the city of Rindall in Norman county, and the cities of Fertile and Climax in Polk County. In Climax, the river confluences with the Red River of the North, just 2 miles west of town. The Sand Hill River watershed drains an area of 475 square miles.
The Agassiz Environmental Learning Center is located on the river in Fertile, MN. There you can learn more about Glacial Lake Agassiz and the many ecosystems it created. The center has many trails to explore the river and its adjacent sand dunes. https://aelcfertile.org/

#tributarythursdays #redriver #sandhill

AELC is participating in Give to the Max Day this year! Now through November 19, please visit givemn.org/organization/Ag...
11/05/2020

AELC is participating in Give to the Max Day this year! Now through November 19, please visit givemn.org/organization/Agassiz-Environmental-Learning-Center and make a donation to AELC. Every time a donation is made, our organization is entered into drawings for cash prizes from GiveMN.

With our revenue greatly reduced due to the pandemic, it's donations like these that allow us to continue to operate and offer programming and recreational opportunities. Thank you for your continued support!!!

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's cover photo
11/03/2020

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's cover photo

Polk County Public Health
10/31/2020

Polk County Public Health

We appreciate all of our county schools' leadership, teachers, and staff for the work they continue to do during the pandemic. Thank you to everyone - you are appreciated!

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center
10/30/2020

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center

More pics from last weekend's Jack-O-Lantern Walk. Thanks for the pictures, Marie Brekken!
10/30/2020

More pics from last weekend's Jack-O-Lantern Walk. Thanks for the pictures, Marie Brekken!

Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program
10/28/2020

Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program

Don’t believe the hype, believe the Bat Facts! Bats benefit our ecosystem is numerous ways, but they’ve earned some undeserved stereotypes in the process. Luckily, BatWeek and the U.S. Forest Service are here to debunk those myths! #BatWeek

Check out our website for more Bat Facts! mndnr.gov/livingwith_wildlife/bats/index.html

Photos from Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's post
10/28/2020

Photos from Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's post

We held our first Jack-O-Lantern Walk this weekend. It was a lot of fun and the jack-o-lanterns looked awesome! Thanks t...
10/26/2020

We held our first Jack-O-Lantern Walk this weekend. It was a lot of fun and the jack-o-lanterns looked awesome! Thanks to everybody who contributed pumpkins, decorated pumpkins, helped with promotion, setup and staffing of the event, walked the trail and made donations to the AELC. We had over 100 people visit the trail and some very generous donations. Maybe we can make this an annual event!

10/24/2020
10/22/2020

If you have a jack-o-lantern to contribute to this weekend's Jack-O-Lantern Walk, send us a message so we can arrange to pick it up or have it dropped off. Thanks!!!

Skiers!
10/21/2020

Skiers!

Prairie Nursery
10/17/2020

Prairie Nursery

LEAVE THE LEAVES -
Leave the Leaves that fall in gardens or in naturalized areas. Leaves that fall on lawn areas often need to be raked off, and it really depends on your situation. In urban areas, they end up blowing into your neighbors yard. Here's what you can do with the leaves from your lawn:
- Rake them directly into the garden beds to be used as mulch - a very easy, low maintenance strategy.
- If you have room, keep a leaf pile to use as mulch or let it decompose. Decomposed leaf mulch is a great soil amendment.
- Add your raked leaves to an existing compost. Combine the leaves from the lawn (brown material) with “green” material for a nutrient-rich garden compost.
- Build a brush shelter. Along with branches, sticks and stems, leaves can be used to make brush piles that shelter native wildlife.

#leavetheleaves
#pollinatorgarden
#butterflygarden
#leafmulch
#birdhabitat
#ecologicalgardening
#sustainablelandscapes
#nativeplants
#explorenativeplants

10/17/2020
PUMPKIN CARVERS AND DECORATORS NEEDED!!!We are looking for people to carve or decorate pumpkins for our Jack-O-Lantern w...
10/17/2020

PUMPKIN CARVERS AND DECORATORS NEEDED!!!

We are looking for people to carve or decorate pumpkins for our Jack-O-Lantern walk next week! You can carve it, paint it, use markers, use your imagination!

Drop your Jack-O-Lanterns off next Monday through Thursday (10/19-10/22) between 7AM and 6PM in front of the Fertile City Building.

Need a pumpkin? We have some! Send us a message and we'll get you one!

Thanks to Amanda Lien for donating pumpkins today!

Thanks to Lenore Anderson from Nana's Farm for donating a bunch of pumpkins for our Jack-O-Lantern Walk!Who needs a pump...
10/12/2020

Thanks to Lenore Anderson from Nana's Farm for donating a bunch of pumpkins for our Jack-O-Lantern Walk!

Who needs a pumpkin??? Send us a message!

Being Mindful in Nature | Childhood By Nature
10/11/2020
Being Mindful in Nature | Childhood By Nature

Being Mindful in Nature | Childhood By Nature

The tension, stress and uncertainty in our world today are not unseen or unfelt by our children. They see it for themselves, learn about it in school, and sense its effects on you. One way to help children cope with the stress of their lives is actually a gift they can use throughout life—mindfuln...

10/11/2020
Super Simple

Super Simple

Have fun pouring paint on your pumpkin this Halloween!

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's cover photo
10/10/2020

Agassiz Environmental Learning Center's cover photo

Address

400 Summit Ave Sw
Fertile, MN
56540

General information

The AELC is a private non-profit corporation devoted to providing educational and recreational experiences about the natural world. Our Visitor's Center is open from 2 to 5 daily from April through October and from 1 to 4 daily from November through March. Funding for the AELC is provided by the City of Fertile, membership donations and use fees.

Telephone

(218) 945-3129

Website

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Comments

In partnership with Fertile Public Library, we've set up our next Story Stroll featuring "Dino Duckling" by Alison Murray. The stroll takes readers around the restored prairie. It’s a perfect time to visit, with bergamot, purple prairie clover, yarrow and black-eyed Susans in bloom and lots of dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies! The prairie is marked in green on the map below. The stroll itself is only about a quarter mile but getting to the prairie will take a little longer. The easiest way to get there (but not the shortest) is to follow the river trail west from the nature center. Follow the signs - stay on the river trail until you see the big rock marking the memorial garden (just past the footbridge crossing the river), then take a left, walking past the garden, and you’ll find yourself in the prairie and at the start of the stroll. This route is marked in green and is about 500 yards (a quarter mile). A quicker route is marked in purple. You’ll park on Summit Ave., walk north across the field and down the hill to the prairie. This is about 300 yards.
Agassiz ELC Trail Camera in Fertile Sand Hills..fawn running alongside momma doe
In Governor Walz's stay-at-home order, issued yesterday, he specifically allows individuals to continue outdoor activities such as walking and hiking, as long as they practice social distancing. Here is a link to our trail map: https://aelcfertile.org/trail-maps However, with guidance from health officials, we have decided to close our restrooms. Restrooms and the nature center will be closed until further notice.
The governor is asking us to stay at home beginning Saturday. You might want to make one more trip to the Sand Hills with the family to get some fresh air and exercise. Here's a winter scavenger hunt to work on with the kids from our friends at River Keepers. If you take any pictures, post them!
The amazing trails and beautiful scenery blew me away today! Thanks to those that make it possible!
Was there enough snow to groom the trails?
Good snowy day to explore Fertile Sand Hills and Sand Hill River
Working on trail maps--stay tuned! Suggestions, ideas, comments welcome!
First Day of Spring! Open water with fresh snow along Sand Hill River downstream of Nature Center
Sand Hill River along trail downstream of Nature Center. Fresh snow along river edges and lots of open water flowing. Happy First Day of Spring!
Last day of February--Fertile Sand Hills ski trails in great shape--get out and enjoy. Working on getting more photos to AELC site--in meantime check out more photos of ski trails from today's outing at Sand Hill River Kayaking FB page.
How do we rent kayaks on weekend