Environmental Experiences

The Nina Mason Pulliam (NMP) EcoLab is a 55-acre outdoor environmental education laboratory located on the campus of Marian University. It provides opportunities for students to learn about lowland forest, prairie and wetland ecosystems, wildlife, native and non-native species and water quality.

Environmental Education Programs have been developed with teachers’ needs in mind. Programs can range from a 1 hour expert-led hike, to a two hour program including a hike and service project to a four hour program including a hike, service project and Nina Mason Pulliam Nature Center experience. The get-your-hands-dirty service projects may vary among planting native plants, removing non-native plants or sowing seeds.The NMP Nature Center Experience includes a take-home nature craft and the teacher's choice of a variety of hands-on inquiry stations. We can also accommodate anything in-between and develop programs to address specific teacher-chosen themes.Just Ask!

We Currently Offer the Following Programs:

NEW! What's the Big Deal about Bats?!

Grade Appropriateness: 3rd-8th

Description: Did you know that the bats in the United States are worth an estimated $53 billion? Students will learn what is fact and myth when it comes to bats. As they hike the property they will be engaged in the NMP EcoLab as they collect the same data that scientists do.

EcoLab Junior Explorers

Grade Appropriateness: PreK-5th

Description: Young students will explore the wetlands and its inhabitants through use of a variety of outside exploration tools such as binoculars and magnifiers.

Wetlands, Invasives, and Beavers, Oh My!

Grade Appropriateness: PreK-6th

Description: Students will investigate why wetlands matter, the cultural history of the land, invasive species, biodiversity and, of course, the engineers of the wetland - beavers.

Wetland Birds

Grade Appropriateness:  3rd-12th

Description: Students will become ornithologists and walk the wetlands in search of the birds that inhabit them while learning how wetlands play a vital role in the lives of stationary and migratory birds.

It's Easy Being Green!

Grade Appropriateness:  3rd-2th

Description: Students will learn about the importance of wetlands, our restoration efforts and how they too can help the environment.

EcoLab Survivors

Grade Appropriateness: 4th-12th

Description: Students will learn about survival in the wild. Using a variety of tools, students will practice basic wildland first aid, orienteering, simple shelter construction, edible and medicinal plant identification and water purification.

EcoLab Ecologists

Grade Appropriateness: 6th-12th

Description: Students will become the ecologists, themselves, and do a variety of surveys and tests in the NMP EcoLab.

If you have questions or wish to visit the NMP EcoLab, please call Janice Hicks Slaughter at 317.524.7701 or e-mail at jhslaughter@marian.edu to verify availability. If there is a special program you would like to do in the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, please let us know. We will make every effort to customize a program for you.

Some outdoor programs can also be conducted at an outdoor facility near your organization. Inquire for details.

Teachers are also very welcome to use the NMP EcoLab on their own. Some teachers have used the area to study water quality, others have done pond studies, and still others have enjoyed learning the ways of the beaver without assistance.

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