Photo of adults and young adults outside at summer camp

Do you love nature, being outside and learning about animals, plants, and trees?

Are you curious about how to protect and preserve wild and natural spaces and places?

Do you care about social and environmental justice issues that impact our communities?

Would you like to join in and support clean air and water initiatives in Minnesota?

Are you hoping to work/intern at the YMCA of the North or the Three Rivers Park district?

If so, NHCC’s brand-new class, Global and Cultural Studies GSCT 1970 - Environmental Justice and Nature Immersion Experience, is a great learning opportunity for you!

Quick Facts:

  • Students receive 4-credits from this course
  • The Human Diversity and People and the Environment Goal Areas are met in this class
  • Students pay the 4-credit tuition cost (HS students can be reimbursed by their districts)
  • All program fees are covered by grant funds (approximately $600 per student)
  • Classes occur at NHCC, the Three Rivers Park district, Camp Northern Lights and online
  • This course is expected to fill fast, spaces are limited, and students can enroll today 

Students who enroll in this class will experience a one-of-a-kind collaborative partnership between NHCC, Camp Northern Lights, (the YMCA’s newest camp), and the Three Rivers Park District. Created to bring students into a wilderness setting for five days; students can expect hands-on, immersive learning in and from nature, from each other, from NHCC, YMCA, and Three Rivers staff. Local community elders, and activists will also be present. Course topics include: fire building, survival skills, animal tracking, plant identification, an introduction to wolves and telemetry, as well as canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, star gazing and cooking outside. Community sings and storytelling will also be hosted around the campfire.

The theme of this course was decided as, environmental justice through community building, caring, advocacy and action. Goals of the program are to engage students in environmental justice topics, issues of equity, access, and inclusion among outdoor spaces and nature. This program will create academic, career and internship pathways for students. With an overall focus placed on contemporary environmental justice issues, students will discuss water quality, climate change, proposed pipelines through Minnesota tribal lands and food insecurity, among other issues.

Course Details:

  • This 8-week, hybrid NHCC course runs from September 5, 2022, to October 28, 2022
  • Coursework is done online with several mandatory in-person meetings
  • Meetings will take place on weeknight evenings and Saturdays
  • Students view a required documentary and give presentations in the last week of class
  • From 9/29-10/3 students go on a Camp Northern Lights immersion trip in Babbitt, MN
  • After this course, students receive college credits and an official NHCC college transcript
  • It is an elective for our AA Ethnic Studies Degree, Environmental Science AS and Biology AS

Important Dates:

  • September 7: Orientation and Community Building Dinner at NHCC from 6 to 8pm
  • September 17: A.M. Nature Immersion at Eastman Nature Center from 9:30am-1:30pm.     - (Bus transportation and lunch provided for the A.M. Nature Immersion outing above)
  • September 29: Nature Immersion Experience at YMCA Camp Northern Lights.                      - (For the 9/29 outing above, buses leave NHCC at 8:30am and return on 10/3 by 5:30pm)
  • October 15: Eastman Nature Center; Environmental Justice Action from 9:30am-1:30pm.   - (Bus transportation and lunch provided for the Eastman Nature Center outing above)
  • October 26: Documentary Screening at Silverwood Nature Center from 6pm to 8:30pm   - (Bus transportation provided for the Silverwood Nature Center outing above)

A Little Background on this Course:

In May, NHCC English and Global and Cultural Studies Faculty, Ana Munro was awarded an IMPACT Grant by the Education Minnesota Foundation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Board of Trustees. The IMPACT Grant from the Education Minnesota Foundation provided Ana with $15,000 to launch her new course: GCST Environmental Justice and Nature Immersion. This course is a collaboration with North Hennepin Community College, YMCA Camp Northern Lights, Three Rivers Park District and K-12 Districts. Along with the grant funding from the Education Minnesota Foundation, this new NHCC program also received funding from the Department of Natural Resources and will additionally be working with five different school districts. 

If you are interested in learning more about this program, or if you have questions, please email Ana Munro at

(Photos below were taken at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota). 

group photo of YMCA student campers
student kayaking
photo of students at a campsite
photo of tree branches overlooking a sparkling blue lake


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