Nature Poetry

monarch

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

Resources to help with field investigations

field trip

Outdoor experiences in nature increase students’ problem solving abilities and motivation to learn in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Conducting field investigations help students become systems thinkers, learn the skills of scientific inquiry, and understand that science doesn’t only happen in a laboratory or classroom. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies developed … Read more

School Gardens

garden

Why a school garden? School gardens provide hands-on learning in a wide variety of disciplines including science, math, language arts, and visual arts. Being involved in school gardens gets students active, engaged, and teaches them important life skills such as responsibility. School gardening of fruits and vegetables also positively influences students’ health and nutrition attitudes … Read more

Celebrating Aldo

Aldo

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher “standard of living” is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us of in the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than … Read more

Citizen Science – Great Backyard Bird Count

Cardinal

Watching birds, feeding birds, and learning about birds is a great way to get students excited! These activities can carry over to family time as well. Feeder birds (song birds) can be attracted to your school through habitat improvement and the addition of bird feeding and watering stations. Citizen science activities like the Great Backyard … Read more

Help gather information for bird conservation

girl with binoculars

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event sponsored by Audubon. All Christmas Bird Counts are conducted between December 14 to January 5, inclusive dates, each season. This will be the 120th Christmas Bird Count! This longest running Citizen Science survey in the world provides critical data on population trends. It is organized into … Read more

Water we eating?

channel catfish

Do you like to go fishing and eat fish? If so, then you harvest food from a local aquatic resource. In Iowa. Anglers harvest millions of fish each year for consumptive use. Species harvested include bluegill, bass, crappie, and catfish. Other aquatic animals such as frogs and crayfish are also harvested. Iowa is also home … Read more

Signs of Fall

oak tree

Lead students on a walk through a wooded area, schoolyard, local park, or neighborhood sidewalk to look for signs of fall and investigate why leaves of deciduous trees change color. Point out the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees. Ask students to look for signs that indicate winter is approaching and have them record their … Read more

The Very Last Passenger Pigeon

passenger pigeon

“There will always be pigeons in books and museums, but these are effigies and images, dead to all hardships and all delights. They know no urge of the seasons, they feel no kiss of sun, no lash of wind and weather.” Aldo Leopold The very last passenger pigeon, Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in … Read more

Seasonal Visits to a Special Outdoor Place

girl with binoculars

Find a special place outdoors where you and your students can observe nature throughout the school year. Your county conservation board naturalist is a great resource to help you find the perfect spot and that spot doesn’t need to be far from school. Visit this same place each season and observe the changes. Let each … Read more

Things to do in your backyard!

interesting tree

Share these ideas with your own children, the neighborhood group, your childcare provider, and think about adapting some of these ideas for the schoolyard playground and classroom! Build a Fort Build your own outdoor hideout! Supplies Large sticks Old sheets or blankets String or rope Imagination How-to The sky is the limit! Create a fort … Read more

Fun summer outdoor experiences

prairie grasses

There are many simple ways to get kids outdoors in Iowa this summer. Use this as a checklist to guide your outdoor explorations. Summer 2019 is time to celebrate the finest county park system in the country! 99 county parks of the 2,024 county parks – one in each of Iowa’s 99 Counties are featured. … Read more