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Dodge Nature Center - Shepard Farm Property

Dodge Nature Center - Shepard Farm Property

Nature CenterNon-Profit

About Us

Dodge Nature Center is the oldest-running nature center in Minnesota and a pioneer in environmental education. Dodge is a community-funded nonprofit organization offering 8+ miles of trails across 460+ acres of hardwood forests, wetlands, and rolling prairies within the cities of West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, and Cottage Grove.

Shepard Farm is Dodge Nature Center’s property in Cottage Grove and the nature center in your neighborhood. This property offers 140 acres of greenspace for people of all ages to experience the outdoors and learn something new in nature.

You and your family can:
- Hike the 1-mile trail through 100-year-old woods, home to local wildlife and native plants
- Step back in time with 1920s-era historic buildings, barns, and a small working farm
- See farm animals in pastures and coops: cows, sheep, goats, chickens, turkey, and quail
- Take classes inside the new Education Center, featuring a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen
- Garden and grow in the community gardens—registration opens in January
- Cultivate hives and produce honey in our season-long beekeeping class
- Try your hand at blacksmithing in the forge, guided by instructors from Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center

Come nourish your need for nature! Shepard Farm is open for all to hike and explore at no cost, sunrise to sunset, every day of the year. View our calendar to register for a naturalist-guided educational experience, class, or program:


Dodge Nature Center's Logo
A naturalist guiding a group of visitors at Shepard Farm by the pasture.
A naturalist educating visitors at Shepard Farm about keeping backyard chickens.
Stands of 100-year-old woods along the 1-mile trail at Shepard Farm.
A naturalist leading a guided hike at Shepard Farm through the 100-year-old woods.
A family dressed in beekeeping suits stands near the bee apiary at Shepard Farm.
An overhead view of Shepard Farm during Dodge's annual Halloween event, October 2023.
Community garden plots at Shepard Farm.
Summer campers meeting snakes up close at Shepard Farm.
Program participants taking a cookie class in the state-of-the-art teaching kitchen inside the new Education Center at Shepard Farm.
Turkeys in their coop at Shepard Farm.
A family visiting Shepard Farm.
One of the historic farm buildings at Shepard Farm.
Blacksmithing inside the new forge at Shepard Farm.
A naturalist in a beekeeping suit tending to hives at Shepard Farm.
Dodge Nature Center's Tagline

Rep/Contact Info

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Peter Cleary
Environmental Education Director
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Mick Garrett
Naturalist and Outreach Specialist
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Sean Gokey
Buildings and Grounds Director
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Rosie Johnson
Communications Associate
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Jason Sanders
Executive Director
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Brenda Teats
Development Director