Program Guidelines

4 Image strip of children on a field trip

Group Size

  • Interpretive programming can accommodate up to two classrooms, however, staff prefer to do programming for single classrooms.
  • Mill Tours are an exception to this standard, we can only accommodate single classrooms for the inside programming portion.
  • Most of our parks offer facilities that allow larger groups to come and partake of a non-guided activity while anticipating their program with a naturalist (some groups of younger children have one class eat snack and use the playground equipment or participate in teacher or parent led activities, while the other class is with the naturalist, then the classes switch).
  • Most field trips require a minimum of 10 people. Special populations/groups may arrange for a smaller group.

Tour Times

  • Park Lyndon and many Independence Lake tours typically begin at 10 a.m. and finish around noon, but timing can be flexible.
  • Tours in the other parks may be arranged for various morning or afternoon hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Classes often eat their lunch in the parks after, but sometimes before their program.
  • Note: Tours of the Parker Grist Mill are not available between November 1 and May 1. (There is no heat in the mill.)


  • Everyone is expected to dress appropriately to be comfortable in the weather of the day for the entire length of the tour.
  • Shorts and sandals are discouraged on nature walks for the well-being of the students.
  • Bring jackets just in case! Please tell your students that it is always possible to take off a layer if they get hot, but if they are cold with no extra clothes with them, it is difficult to be comfortable.

Other Rules

  • Food and drink (except water) are not typically taken on trails during programs unless medically required.
  • Please let your chaperones know that pets and smoking are not permitted on Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission (WCPARC) tours.
  • Parents should plan to carry infants since most trails are too rough for strollers, but a few trails can accommodate strollers. Ask the naturalist.
  • Collecting is not permitted in WCPARC nature areas.
  • Buses are encouraged to remain with the groups at Park Lyndon.


  • There is no charge to Washtenaw County Schools/Groups for WCPARC outdoor nature programs other than applicable park entry fees at Independence Lake and Rolling Hills.
  • If a classroom is required there is a fee of $1 per student.
  • Non Washtenaw County groups must pay a program fee (fee varies depending on program length).
  • However, donations are always appreciated.

Please Note

You may schedule as many field trips as you wish each year. We encourage teachers to take advantage of the in-the-field learning opportunities available in the natural areas of our Washtenaw County Parks.