Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center has two campuses, one of which is located in Hudson, 279 South Cove Road. 

Elegant frost patterns, like lace doilies, add nature’s decorations to windows. Sound absorbs into the snow-covered paths allowing a serene quiet escape to reflect on new beginnings. Crimson cardinals pop against the bleak wooded backdrop. The winter season is a gentle time of year when everything in nature slows down. Animals go into hibernation, plants go dormant, and water freezes in place. The outside world is covered with a blank slate for resolutions. Take your cues from nature during this busy holiday time.

The Carpenter Nature Center has lots planned to fill your New Year. 

Frosty 40 Challenge

Get your snowshoes, skis or snow boots ready. Carpenter Nature Center’s Frosty 40 registration is now open through Feb. 1. The event officially started Jan. 1, challenging you to walk, run, cross-country ski or snowshoe 40 miles in 40 days. Choose your own schedule and locations between Jan. 1 and March 20. Register online or with a mail-in form found at the website. Join us for one of the Frosty 40 guided hikes throughout the challenge. 


Carpenter Nature Center is currently accepting applications for spring and summer internships. The center offers internships for college students or recent graduates to gain hands-on experience in environmental education, orchard and land Management, communications and visitor services, or avian field work. Interns work closely with professional staff in training, completing projects and daily work experience. Carpenter Nature Center offers flexible scheduling for full or part-time positions. 

Summer camps

Summer camp is where lifelong memories are made. Camp registration opened on Jan. 1. There are camps for ages 5 to 17 ranging from fishing, plant and animal encounters, canoeing, and more. Camps this summer include: 

  • Fishing Fun, ages 6-11, June 21, 28, and July 26. 

  • Outdoor Skills, ages 10 and up, July 11-13. 

  • Nature Nuts, ages 5-6, June 19-23. 

  • Explorers, ages 9-11, July 17-21. 

  • Pioneers, ages 7-8, June 26-30. 

  • Namekagon canoe trip, ages 12-15, August 1-3

  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area canoe trip, ages 13-17, August 8-11. 

Annual appeal, challenge match

The Carpenter Nature Center was able to raise $33,202 in end-of-year donations. So far, it has been able to unlock $7,000 in matching gifts from Jeff and Stacy Carlson and Scott and Jackie Northard. 

There is still time to help reach other milestones and unlock matching dollars. All donations go to supporting Carpenter’s education and habitat protection work.  

Wisconsin campus events

Space is limited at most programs so RSVP by calling 651-437-4359 or visit

Moonlight hike 

Time: 7-9 p.m.

Date: Thursday, Jan. 5. 

Location: Al & Laurie Hein Visitor Center, 279 South Cove Road, Hudson. 

Cost: $15; $10 for Friends of the Carpenter Nature Center; free for Frosty 40 registrants. 

Enjoy a moonlit evening with a guided hike at the Carpenter Nature Center and get a kick start in earning miles for the Frosty 40. You do not need to be a Frosty 40 participant to join this hike. There will be door prizes and hot refreshments to warm up after the hike while meeting other people that are doing the Frosty 40 challenge. If conditions allow, the hike will be on snowshoes provided. Dress for the weather as a majority of this program is outdoors.

Preschool story time

Time: 10-11 a.m. 

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 11.  

Location: Al & Laurie Hein Visitor Center, 279 South Cove Road, Hudson, Wisconsin. 

Cost: $6 per child, $4 for Friends of the Carpenter Nature Center. No charge for adults. 

Monthly preschool story-time programs are designed to introduce children ages two to five to nature in a fun and safe environment. Children must be accompanied by an adult.  

Guided bird hike

Time: 9-11 a.m.

Date: Saturday, Jan. 14. 

Location: Al & Laurie Hein Visitor Center, 279 South Cove Road, Hudson, Wisconsin. 

Cost: $5 or free for St. Croix Valley Bird Club members and Friends of the Carpenter Nature Center. 

Hike various trails on our Wisconsin Campus and learn to identify birds with local experts from the St. Croix Valley Bird Club. Each month the meeting location will alternate between the north end maintenance parking lot and the south end visitor center parking lot. 

Frosty hike

Time: 9-10:30 a.m.

Date: Saturdays, Jan. 14 and 28. 

Location: Al & Laurie Hein Visitor Center, 279 South Cove Road, Hudson, Wisconsin. 

Cost: $5 or free for Frosty 40 participants and Friends of the Carpenter Nature Center. 

More information: 

Enjoy the CNC trails with a group while working toward your mileage goal for the Frosty 40 event. Programs are exercise focused, so come prepared to elevate your heart rate. If snow conditions allow, the hike will be on snowshoes provided by Carpenter Nature Center. You do not need to be a Frosty 40 participant to join this hike. 


Volunteers are an important part of Carpenter Nature Center and we are always welcoming new help. If you are interested in volunteering at the beautiful new Al and Laurie Hein Visitor Center or looking for opportunities at our Minnesota Campus, the centers are looking for trail maintenance teams, visitor greeters and more. Email volunteer coordinator Alan Maloney at for more information.  

Carpenter Nature Center also has a weekly Wisconsin Habitat volunteer team. For interest in habitat restoration on the Wisconsin campus, contact Habitat Specialist Abbey Holden by emailing

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