Creatures with a Bad Rap

red bat

Does the sight of a spider cause you to run from the room? Do you feel panicked at the very thought of an animal encounter? If so, you might be one of the many Americans who have an animal phobia. Whether these fears stem from urban legends or real-life encounters, it’s normal to be scared … Read more

Birding with Children

girl with binoculars

Bird watching is a great way for children to become aware of birds. Birds can be found anywhere, all year round. Gather the basic gear: a field notebook, a field guide, and binoculars, if you have them, and go outside. Info from Iowa Young Birders about birding gear, including selecting binoculars for children and how … Read more

Celebrate Iowa’s Prairie Heritage

prairie grasses

September 10-16, 2017 is Iowa Prairie Heritage Week! Iowa’s landscape was once covered by vast rolling hills of prairie.  An estimated 85% of the land was prairie grass and flowers when European settlers first arrived.  Since that time the Iowa landscape has changed drastically and today only 1/10 of 1% of our native prairie remains. … Read more

Developing a Sense of Place

prairie grasses

What is a “Sense of Place”? A “sense of place” refers to a child’s connection with their community and natural environment. A sense of place is developed with a place-based education approach that fosters those connections. Place-based education immerses children in their local community, landscapes, heritage, and experiences. It is using the local natural and … Read more

Celebrate Iowa’s Catfish

channel catfish

Celebrate National Catfish Day (annually on June 25) by learning more about Iowa’s most abundant and widely distributed sport fish. Catfish are opportunistic bottom feeders that are active at night. They eat all types of living or dead animal and plant material and are most often attracted to odoriferous or “smelly” morsels of food. They … Read more

Great American Backyard Campout

tent

On June 24, 2017 all across the country families will be camping out in their backyards as part of the Great American Backyard Campout. Explore the wonderful world of camping with young children either as a family, in your classroom, or as part of summer day camp! For families: Join the Great American Backyard Campout … Read more

Wildlife is Everywhere

owl pellets

Wildlife is everywhere – on land, in soil, in water, and in the air. Wildlife scientists study wildlife to learn how they live and interact with the environment. These scientists may focus on one wildlife species or a group of species during their studies. They record observations made with their senses and other tools. Help … Read more

Endangered Species Day

barn owl

Celebrate Endangered Species Day (19 May 2017) by learning more about Iowa endangered and threatened animals and plants. Find more information about Iowa’s Wildlife Resource Base here and scroll down to “Current Status of Wildlife in Iowa.” Iowa’s wildlife has changed tremendously since Euro-American settlement (160 years ago). Many species have been extirpated. Others’ populations … Read more

Nature Poetry

mayapples

April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate with a study of nature poetry! Start by reading nature poems. Depending on the age and level of students make a study of the mechanics of poetry and how to write different kinds of poetry. Check out the list of books tagged ‘environmental writers‘ in our book database to … Read more