Overnights for School Groups

lodges

Come spend a night at Shaw Nature Reserve’s environmental learning campus, the Dana Brown Overnight Center (DBOC)! DBOC programs provide schools with unique opportunities to extend classroom learning while fostering awe, wonder, and curiosity for the natural world.

The DBOC campus consists of six historic log buildings dating back to the 1800s. Originally located within 100 miles of the Nature Reserve, in 2003 these historic structures were carefully dismantled, transported, and reconstructed to create the DBOC campus. With modern updates, the buildings were transformed into comfortable and unique learning and living spaces for visiting groups.

The DBOC campus is able to accommodate students grades 4–12 for overnight experiences. (DBOC classes are also available on a day-use basis for grades 4–12.)

Class Information:

  • All DBOC classes are hands-on, inquiry-based, and focus on students’ direct engagement with nature.
  • Classes are grade-level appropriate and support current Missouri Learning Standards.
  • Depending on grade level, group size, weather, and other factors, specific activities may vary for each class offering.
  • The DBOC requires a 10:1 student: chaperone ratio for all classes.

Pricing Information:

  • Class fees are $5/student with a $50 minimum.
  • Lodging fees for overnight groups are $20/student for a 1-night stay with a $200 minimum. For longer stays, please contact your DBOC school programs coordinator for pricing information.
  • Overnight and class fees are waived for one lead teacher as well as for one adult chaperone per 10 students. Additional adults are charged the same overnight rate as students.

Registration Information:

  • Groups may schedule their visit up to one year in advance.  Availability is limited and programs are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. To register and/or for more information, contact Jessie Dockins, the DBOC school programs coordinator, at (314) 577-9539 or jdockins@mobot.org.
  • Overnight trips may be scheduled Tuesday-Wednesday or Thursday-Friday.
 
DBOEC Overnight Sample Schedule

Day 1

9–10 a.m.   Arrive; DBOC-led orientation, cabin tour, and fire drill; unpack
10 a.m.–noon   Morning Class*
noon–1 p.m.   Lunch
1–3 p.m.   Afternoon Class*
3–5 p.m.   Free time or teacher time
5–6 p.m.   Dinner
6–7 p.m.   Free time or teacher time
7–9 p.m.   Evening Class*
9–10 p.m.   Get ready for bed
10 p.m.   Lights out

 

Day 2

7–8 a.m.   Wake up and shower; pack luggage; clean cabins/shower house
8–9 a.m.   Breakfast
9–11 a.m.   Morning Class*
11 a.m.–noon   Free time or teacher time
noon–1 p.m.   Lunch; clean meeting building
1–2 p.m.   Reflection Activity*
2 p.m.   Depart

 

*Your DBOC school programs coordinator will work with you to schedule classes during available time.

Class Time Availability

Classes may be scheduled during the following times. Your DBOC school programs coordinator will work with you to develop a trip schedule for your group


 

  Morning Class
Times
  Afternoon Class
Times
  Evening Class
Times
Overnight Day 1   10 a.m.–noon   1–3 p.m. or 1–4 p.m.   7–9 p.m.
Overnight Day 2   9–11 a.m.   noon–2 p.m., 1–3 p.m. or noon–3 p.m.*   n/a
9 a.m.–noon   1–3 p.m.*   n/a
10 a.m.–noon   1–3 p.m.*   n/a

 

* Overnight groups registered for three or more classes are eligible for a free 1-hour DBOC-led reflection activity on the afternoon of Day 2. Contact your DBOC school program coordinator for more information.

 
DAY CLASSES AT DANA BROWN OVERNIGHT CENTER

The following classes can be added to the day portion of your overnight stay.

Classes are for grades 4–12.

Ecology Classes

Aquatic Ecology

Offered March–November
Length of class: 3 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  Students examining pond waterStudents will explore an aquatic ecosystem and investigate the unique communities living beneath the water’s surface. Like scientists, students will practice observing, asking questions, researching the organisms they discover, and sharing their findings with peers. This class includes a 30–60 minute walk to a pond, lake, stream, or river. Your DBOEC school programs coordinator will work with you to determine which aquatic ecosystem is the best fit for your group.

Forest Ecology

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 2 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  forestAs students explore Shaw Nature Reserve’s forests, they will deepen their understanding of this habitat and the communities existing within it. During a ½-mile hike, students will identify forest plants and animals, consider the importance and interdependence of biotic and abiotic factors, and work together to create forest ecosystem models. Finally, students will be challenged to use their models to predict how natural and human caused changes may affect the forest ecosystem.

Wetland Ecology

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 2 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  LilypadsStudents will explore Shaw Nature Reserve’s wetland to discover what makes wetlands unique as well as the many ecosystem services wetlands provide. Using evidence to make explanations, students will investigate the adaptations that help plants and animals survive in a wetland. Students will also use models to explore wetland processes as well as learn how the DBOEC uses wetland biomimicry to benefit DBOEC guests.

Tallgrass Prairie Ecology

Offered May–December
Length of class: 3 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  Prairie flowersExplore the ecosystem that once covered 40 percent of Missouri! As students hike through the tallgrass prairie, they will investigate the complex relationships between the plants and animals that live in this ecosystem. Students will also learn how indigenous peoples used prairie plants as medicine and how Shaw Nature Reserve utilizes traditional ecological knowledge of fire to manage this ecosystem.

Bird Ecology

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 2 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  BirdFrom ID to behavior, students will explore birds from many perspectives in this popular class. Along a ½ mile bird walk, students will search for birds and the signs they leave behind while learning the basics of bird identification. Students will then dive into bird behavior, investigating the main types of bird calls and how to interpret them. Finally, students will apply their bird language skills by recording, analyzing, and interpreting the behavior of birds around the DBOEC.

Insect Ecology

Offered March–November
Length of class: 2 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  ButterflyJoin DBOEC instructors on an insect safari! Using scientific tools and methods, students will search for insects and other invertebrates in both forest and prairie ecosystems. Like scientists, students will practice observing, asking questions, and researching the organisms they discover. This class concludes with a “critter convention,” in which students share their discoveries, observations, and research with their peers.
Art and History Classes

Art in Nature

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 1.5 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  Girl stacking rocksInspired by Andy Goldsworthy, a renowned nature artist, this class encourages students to create art from the natural world. After viewing and discussing examples of nature art, students will create masterpieces of their own, using natural objects discovered around the DBOEC. Class concludes with a “gallery walk” of students’ artistic creations!
Navigation Classes

Introduction to Compass

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 2 hours
Limit: 25 students
Fee: $5 per student
  TrailIn this popular class, students will learn about cardinal directions, how to orient using landmarks, and how to use a compass to navigate. After an indoor introduction, students will head outside to navigate Shaw Nature Reserve’s compass course while solving secret messages!

Global Positioning System (GPS)

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 3 hours
Limit: 40 students
Fee: $5 per student
  School group on trailChallenge your students to a GPS scavenger hunt! After learning how to use GPS, students will put their skills to the test, navigating Shaw Nature Reserve while hunting for hidden GPS boxes. Working together, student groups will use clues found in the boxes to solve nature mysteries. A 5:1 student to teacher ratio is recommended for this class.
 
NIGHT CLASSES AT DANA BROWN OVERNIGHT CENTER

The following classes can be added to the night portion of your overnight stay. Working with staff, classes may be customized to meet your objectives.

Classes are for grades 4–12 unless otherwise specified.

Night Classes

Frog Ecology

Offered March–August
Length of class: 1 or 2 hours
Limit: 30 students
Fee: $5 per student
  FrogExperience nature’s spring symphony in this exciting evening class! Students will learn about the common frogs in our area, why they call, and how to identify them by call and sight. After a brief indoor presentation, we will take a short walk to the wetland to practice identifying frogs by sight and call. Students will also collect data on what frog species are present to contribute to a nation-wide citizen science project! Frog Ecology is only offered as part of an overnight experience.

Night Hike

Offered Year-round
Length of class: 1 or 2 hours
Limit: 30 students
Fee: $5 per student
  owlShaw Nature Reserve instructors will lead your class on a 1–2 mile night hike through multiple ecosystems to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the Reserve at night! Along the way, students will investigate nocturnal wildlife and the adaptations that help them survive. On clear nights, students may also have the opportunity to view stars, planets, and constellations in the night sky. This is a quiet educational hike with no flashlights allowed. Night Hikes are only offered as part of an overnight experience for grades 5–12.
Special Opportunity

THE STICKY SCIENCE OF MAPLE SYRUP

Celebrate the coming of spring! Learn about maple syrup by exploring the two processes that make it all possible: photosynthesis and the water cycle. Students will investigate the annual cycle of sap movement and the importance of sap to trees. Winter Tree ID is included in this class. After helping with sap collection and cooking, they will enjoy a sample of delicious syrup.
  • Offered in January and February
  • Grades: 4–8
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Capacity: 60 Students
  • Fee: $2 per student

To schedule a maple syrup program, call (314) 577-9523 or email kbryan@mobot.org.

Maple syruping