Cannon River STEM School's environmental education program supports a strong connection with the natural world for all of our k-8 students. While each grade spends a minimum of 70 academic hours outdoors each year, students also participate in a variety of hands-on projects that give students real-world experience. Projects include volunteer science initiatives such as water quality testing on the Straight River for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, tagging and releasing monarch butterflies for the MonarchWatch project, and working with the school compost which manages an average of 6,000 pounds of school food waste onsite every year. These projects and more connect students to our environment, so that their knowledge, appreciation, and understanding can grow in a meaningful way.
Not only do students focus on the environment while on campus, but 3rd-8th graders also have the opportunity to attend a different RELC (Residential Environmental Learning Center) field trip every year, allowing them to experience the state of Minnesota from the Southern Driftless Region up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. During these trips, students spend 3 days and 2 nights participating in activities that focus on different cultural, environmental, and adventure topics. These classes provide students with materials and ecosystems that are not available while at school, and allows them a deeper dive into learning, not constrained by a typical school day.