The Recycling Zone
The Recycling Zone is a place to get rid of a variety of materials instead of throwing them in the trash. The tours are available to Dakota County residents and groups (girl and boy scouts, churches, etc.) for free. Learn about proper management of household chemicals, recyclables and problem materials such as computers and other home electronics. The tour looks at what happens at The Recycling Zone and the importance of pollution prevention.
To schedule a tour, go to The Recycling Zone website.
Extend your teaching beyond the classroom and take your students on a Dakota County field trip. Educational topics include: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs; Earth Materials; Predator Prey; Trees, Trees, Trees (and other plants); Wetlands 101; Wetlands 102; Who Lives Here?
For more information visit Dakota County School Field Trips
Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve
Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve was created in 1996 on land donated by Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc. The 75-acre park offers close to 2 miles of trails through restored wetlands and prairies, and boardwalks allow visitors access to open water for fishing and wildlife watching. Near the parking lot, native plant gardens offer visitors a place to learn about prairie wildflowers and grasses.
Trails description: Easy to moderate difficulty, gentle slopes, crushed gravel and woodchip surfaces.
Facilities: One toilet (seasonal), one picnic table.
Lebanon Hills Visitor Center
The Lebanon Hills Visitor Center serves as a Minnesota Model for sustainability. The Visitor Center showcases several green building features, including a vegetative roof, rain garden and day lighting. The Visitor Center and surrounding area of prairies, woodlands, lakes, and wetlands provide an opportunity for premier environmental education and outdoor recreation, natural and cultural interpretation, and outstanding visitor services.
For more information, visit the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center webpage
Dodge Nature Center
Located in West St. Paul and Mendota Heights, Dodge Nature Center is full of prairies, hardwood forests, lakes, wetlands and miles of hiking trails! The center provides outstanding educational programs to school groups, scout troops, families and individuals. Programs engage students in natural history and agricultural programs. Outreach programs are also available for off-site programs as well.
For more information visit Dodge Nature Center website. To schedule a program, call 651-789-5215 or email
McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center
Located in Savage, the Environmental Learning Center includes McColl Pond, 10 acres of woodlands, marshes and restored prairie – oak savanna. The center has two environmental classrooms, a multipurpose room and an outdoor covered patio which are all perfect settings for implementing environmental education courses. The building itself has incorporated several green features, such as, cupboards made from pressed sunflowers and counters made of recycled plastic jugs. To learn more about the Environmental Learning Center, visit Friends of McColl Pond Environmental Learnnig Center
The Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead and picnic area provide a scenic overlook to the Mississippi River Valley, as well as access to the Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center. The building has a variety of sustainable design elements including being powered by a wind turbine and capturing rainwater from the roof to flush toilets. Other activities available include: picnicking, hiking, community gardens, children’s playground and cross country skiing.
Schaar’s Bluff Trailhead: 8395 127th Street East Hastings, MN 55033
For more information visit Schaar's Bluff Trailhead
UMore Park in Rosemount hosts the Master Gardener Education and Research Display Gardens. Come learn about the over 30 research and display gardens and the history of UMore Park and surrounding communities. Tours are available between the end of June and the end of September. Call 651-480-7700 to schedule a tour.