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Michigan Partners in Nature Education Space

MiPINES seeks to empower educators in practicing outdoor education by providing the location of  greenspaces within a short distance of their school. Both teachers and students can discover Michigan’s numerous outdoor sites where fun, hands-on and educational activities can be used to explore nature. MIPines is a collaborative project between the MDNR and MAEOE.

What's on th MiPines Map

What’s on the MiPINES map?

Interpretive & Education Centers

Conservancies, Sanctuaries, & Parks

The MiPINES online map showcases nature spaces in your community. Many have been provided by teachers just like you. The map features various layers, which can be selected or de-selected to change what types of sites are shown. Each “drop point” may be left clicked on to reveal more information about that site, such as restroom availability, known accessibility measures, rules of use, site-specific contact information, and more. 

Features sites specifically designed to educate, often offering group programs and site-tailored activities

Features local and county parks, conservancies, and preserves. These often do not have dedicated on-site education programs and may have rules of use. 

National Parks & Forests

School Forest Programs

Features Michigan schools which participate in the MDNR’s school forest program

Features all National parks, forests, lakeshores, and historical sites

Wheels to Woods


Features trails and trailhead sites in Michigan

Features unique Michigan forestry sites, all of which are eligible for the Wheels-to- Woods Grant Program

*Because this is a Google map, you will sometimes still see drop points for close by businesses and attractions. Look for uniquely hexagon-shaped drop points to see MiPINES locations

view of tree leaves from below

How to locate a nearby greenspace on the


Ensure that your desired layers are selected to display by check-marking them in the Map Legend on the left-hand of the screen. To simplify your map, you can uncheck layers as well.


Click and drag the map to move north, south, east, or west. Zoom in (+) for a closer view.


Next, Stay in the map legend and go to the magnifying glass icon in the top right. Type in your school or home address, then select “move map to” your address. The map should zoom directly to the address you provided.


Click on a MiPINES site by selecting it (left Click). Available information for that site will display on the Map Legend.


In the bottom-left hand corner of the map are buttons to zoom in and out. Press the minus button to zoom out until sites begin appearing.


While a site is selected, click the arrow button on the top-right of the Map Legend to get directions to that site from Google Maps. (Note: this will open in a new tab.)

How to Locate a Greenspace
Resources & Activities

What resources & Activities
can I use at a MiPINES site?

With a Teacher Present

Teaching outside might be intimidating, especially for a teacher who has not done so before. There are many resources for educators, both who have taught outside frequently and those who are just getting started.​​

a teacher helping two young students
Kids Reading Outdoors

Students on Their Own

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into to 2020-2021 school year, teachers find themselves caught between providing quality education for their students, and ensuring the safety of themselves, their families, students, and communities. For classrooms that are fully or partially remote, providing an outdoor or environmental education experience is still possible. You may consider:

  • Having students report on nature discoveries after walking through their neighborhood or local park

  • Having students identify “back-yard nature” 

  • Having students use an activity or app from the resources list below

If sending students outside, it is important to emphasize safety precautions and educate on potential hazards. Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, avoiding stinging insects and poisonous plants, and going outside with a parent or guardian are expectations that keep students of all ages safe.  

Activities you can do at a MiPINES site...

You have found a local MiPINES site—now to transform this park, conservancy, or nature sanctuary into a learning opportunity for your students. Check the rules of use for your MiPINES site by navigating the provided website or reaching out to the provided email or phone number on the site’s map listing. Then, select a MiPINES activity from the list below, and get ready to get outside!​​

Image by Sander Weeteling
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