These links are all national or multi-state environmental / conservation education or natural resources management agencies, organizations, or websites!
Conservation, Education, or Science Organizations
The Audubon Society is an organization that to conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society
An organization devoted to promote the great sport of bass fishing, fair sportsmanship, good fellowship, community awareness and involvement for the conservation and preservation of the fisheries.
Bass Federation – Student Angler Federation
SAF promotes the formation of fishing clubs and outdoor activities within schools. A byproduct of SAF efforts is the creation of competitive fishing in club tournaments and events between neighboring schools.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds
An all-things-bird (and then some) resource from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, look for links to the bird guide, bird cams, birding basics, and more.
- Aquatic WILD – An aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecology focused K-12 conservation education program for educators and their students.
- Flying WILD – Targeted toward middle school students, Flying WILD offers a whole-school approach to environmental education using birds as a focus including service learning and community outreach. This curriculum comes from the same group that produced Project WILD.
- Growing Up WILD – Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them through a wide range of developmentally-appropriate activities and experiences. Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills.
- Project WILD – A wildlife-focused K-12 conservation education program for educators and their students.
The Green Teacher
The Green Teacher: Education for Planet Earth offers a subscription magazine and publications, and a free monthly email newsletter.
Investigating Evidence – BirdSleuth
BirdSleuth K-12 creates innovative resources that build science skills while inspiring young people to connect to local habitats, explore biodiversity, and engage in citizen science projects.
An online source of professional development for the K-12 community.
A great resource to help classroom teachers use monarchs in their classroom. In addition, many, many links to help with questions and student research.
National Arbor Day Foundation
The National Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s largest tree-planting organization. It provides more than 8 million trees for planting throughout America each year.
National Association for Interpretation (NAI)
NAI is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the profession of heritage interpretation. In Iowa, many staff that work for county conservation boards, city park and recreation, and museums are members.
National Wild Turkey Federation
Check out the NWTF Conservation page for information about habitat, planting, wildlife management success stories, and more.
National Wildlife Federation – Connecting Kids and Nature
An organization devoted to connecting children and youth with nature, inspiring children through Ranger Rick magazine, working with educators to get kids learning outdoors and help them with lesson plans, and helping parents find new ways to engage their children outside. Learn about ‘Building Green Schools Grounds and Teaching STEM.’ Go here for additional information on building a schoolyard habitat and download the series of PDF ‘How-to Guide.’
North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)
A professional development membership organization for environmental educators. Be sure to check out NAAEE publications and research.
North American Conservation Education Strategy
The toolkit contains resources developed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to support conservation educators.
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The Center’s research mission includes all biological topics within the region with emphasis on biological topics in the northern Great Plains. The NPWRC is based in North Dakota, located on six hundred acres along the James River Valley in North Dakota, but much of the research and information on the site is quite applicable to Iowa.
Learn all about this national conservation organization that has a local chapter near you that supports habitat development and youth education projects.
Place-based education (PBE) immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum. PBE emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.
Project Learning Tree
PLT is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.
Federal Agencies and Associations
EPA Learning and Teaching about the Environment
Quality homework resources, lesson plans, and projects ideas for K-12 students and teachers.
National Drinking Water Clearinghouse (NDWC)
The NDWC is a public service organization, sponsored through the USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities Service, dedicated to helping small communities keep up-to-date on drinking water issues. Be sure to check out their free and low-cost publications.
National Park Service
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. The web site includes educator resources.
- Teacher Resources – Search for lesson plans from the National Park Service, learn about Parks as Classrooms, professional development, and distance learning.
- Effigy Mounds National Monument, Harpers Ferry, Iowa
- Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch, Iowa
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)
NRCS provides advice to farmers on soil conservation measures and cost-share incentives; soils information for public use; and watershed programs for urban and rural communities. NRCS oversees several programs that provide cost share and other incentives for conservation practices to protect or enhance natural resources on private land. Information is available on their web site.
US Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
The Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining navigation on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and managing four flood control reservoirs – Coralville, Rathbun, Red Rock, and Saylorville Lakes. They maintain recreation areas for public use and provide public educational programs about protecting natural resources (e.g., eagle watches, camper programs, junior ranger programs). The Rock Island District encompasses approximately the eastern two-thirds of Iowa and the remainder of the state is under the jurisdiction of the Omaha and Kansas City Districts. Information about reservoirs and locks and dams is located on the website of the managing District.
- Rock Island District, including Coralville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Saylorville Lake
- Kansas City District, including Rathbun Lake
- Omaha District
USDA Forest Service (FS), Region 9
The Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. It is the largest forestry research organization in the world and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Region Nine’s web page provides roadless area maps, wildlife, fish, and rare plant updates, lists recreational opportunities, land and resource management, and outdoor safety and ethics information. Naturewatch lists nature viewing opportunities, encourages safe and sound viewing ethics, and helps local communities’ economies.
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7
EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. EPA works with other federal agencies, state and local governments, and Indian tribes to develop and enforce environmental regulations. EPA studies environmental issues, gives grants, provides education on issues, plus education resources are available on their website.
- The Water Sourcebooks: This environmental education program explains the water management cycle using a balanced approach showing how it affects all aspects of the environment. All activities contain hands-on investigations, fact sheets, reference materials, and a glossary of terms.
- WaterSense for Kids
US Fish & Wildlife Service – Midwest Region
The USFWS is the federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing the nation’s fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. USFWS major responsibilities also include migratory birds program, federally endangered or threatened species (in cooperation with states), certain marine mammals, and freshwater and anadromous fish. Use the search box to learn about local National Wildlife Refuges, information about endangered species, pollinators, legislation concerning fish and wildlife, and much more.
- Desoto National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri Valley, IA
- Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge, McGregor, IA
- Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, IA
- Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge, Wapello, IA
- Union Slough / Iowa Wetland Management District, Titonka, IA
- Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, District offices at Winona, MN; LaCrosse, WI; McGregor, IA; Savanna, IL
US Geological Survey (USGS)
The USGS stands as the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior. The USGS focuses on four major areas: natural hazards, resources, the environment, and information and data management. USGS provides a host of informational and educational resources available through their web site.
- Iowa Water Science Center
- Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
- Education Resources – Download this PDF to learn about USGS resources to support biology, geology, geography, geospatial data, and hydrology!
Eagle Lesson Plans
Eagle lesson plans and more information from Eagles4Kids. This website is an online resource dedicated to bringing the world of bald eagles to life, from live streaming cameras, focused on the nesting activities of a mated pair of bald eagles. Resources help teachers introduce bald eagles to the students in their classroom and engage teachers and students in real time in a chat room devoted to their questions and observations.
Top Ten Tips for Teaching Outside – Elementary
Read tips from an urban elementary teacher to help you take your students outside for learning time.
Top Ten Tips for Teaching Outside – Secondary
Two Minnesota science teachers give tips they use to help them prepare their students for learning in the out-of-doors.