In the Classroom

We can provide environmental education opportunities in your classroom, on your school grounds, or in the field. Our trained interpretive staff present programs that will enhance your teaching and integrate into all areas of the curriculum. Hands-on activities teach about topics in science, nature, cultural history, and environmental problems, with a focus on local species and issues. State standards can be tied to each program. In addition to the topics below, programs can be developed to supplement instruction of many themes for a personalized program. Each program format is different to accommodate group size, age, and the program site. Suggested grade levels are listed, but programs can be adapted to other ages. Programs will last 45 minutes to 1 hour. To encourage interaction, group size for most programs is limited to two classes. We are glad to repeat the program for additional classes. Program fees are $15 per session.

No Bones about It: Spineless Wonders grades 3–6

From the depths of the oceans to the tops of mountains, the second largest group of animals on earth, the Gastropods, live all around us, yet we pay little attention to them. In this program, students will learn about the lives of slugs and snails and other spineless wonders and the role they play in the environment. Included are live snails, shells, movement, stories, and “listening to the ocean.”

Bats: Friend or Foe? grades K–4

Do you like bananas? Then you have to like the bats that pollinate them. Bats are the most unique and misunderstood of mammals. They are also a vital part of rainforest ecology and major predators of insect pests. Program options include a “bat buffet,” bat and moth game, story, and more.

Bird is the Word grades 4–Adult

The descendants of the dinosaurs have adapted to living in all parts of the world, eat many unusual kinds of food, and display wonderful shapes and colors. Bird song brightens our world, the migration of birds is inspiring, and the power of flight has always fascinated us. Games, feathers, nests, and other items add interest to this talk and we can also go outside to look for birds.

Animal Adaptations grades 2–6

Why are there so many different kinds of animals? Each kind of animal has its own solution to the problems of finding food and shelter, and avoiding predators. Many endangered species are very specialized and require very specific conditions in their environment. Lots of skins, skulls, and other “real” items are used along with active predator-prey simulations.

Signs Left Behind grades K–4

Animals are all around us. A bit of detective work is involved in identifying the tracks and other clues left behind. Examine real animal signs, including chew marks, feathers, etc., and print tracks on paper before going outside to look for animal signs. Tracks and signs are also used to discuss classification.

Bugs! grades K–6

There are more insects, and more kinds of insects, than any other form of animals on earth, yet we seldom notice them unless they bite. To get a closer look, students may participate in active games or go on safari to find bugs where they live. When scheduling this program, note that fall is better than spring for finding insects outside. The World of the Monarch Butterfly grades 4–Adult See the life cycle of the Monarch through our own PowerPoint show. Learn what they eat, how they live, and where they go in winter. Find out why the winter roosts are considered an endangered phenomenon. If possible, we will catch and tag Monarchs.

Forests around the World grades 4–6

An exploration of what makes up our Indiana forests and how they differ from tropical rainforests to the south and coniferous forests further north. Students will learn about the structure of forests, their location in the world, and their plant, animal, and human inhabitants.

Pond and Creek Life grades K–6

Discover what lives in creeks and ponds by using nets to capture and examine their inhabitants. We will also study the plants that support these inhabitants. Although some simulations and demonstrations can be done indoors, this program is best for schools with onsite ponds or creeks that can be studied during the program.

Bees, Butterflies, and Blooming Plants grades 4–6

We know honeybees pollinate flowers, but so do butterflies, hummingbirds, and even bats. Learn about the value of native bees and other pollinators and how plants reproduce. Find out why pollinators are declining and how you can help them survive.

Seeds, Nuts, and Berries, Oh my! grades K–6

Fall is all about seeds and plants preparing for winter. We will look at different types of seeds. We will also discuss the tactics plants adopt for dispersing their seeds, such as the use of wind, water, and animals. This program includes a craft—students will be able to try their hands at creating their own seed and its mode of transportation.

Meet a Tree grades K–4

Plants are vital in all ecosystems and trees are the most visible of plants. Students will learn tree parts by creating a human tree, examine (and maybe taste) tree products, and identify trees in the schoolyard.

Fossil Facts grades 4–Adult

Fossils unlock the secrets of the prehistoric world. Fossil formation is discussed and dozens of samples are examined and placed in position on a geologic time scale. When possible, we end with an outdoor fossil hunt—even limestone walls have fossils. Four large tables are needed to display the fossils.

Who Cares About Karst? grades 3–Adult

Southern Indiana has unique caves and sinkholes that are home to interesting creatures. How do they find food in total darkness? Water moves quickly from the surface to these underground passages and carries pollutants that can travel for miles. Find out how caves form, what lives in them, and how they can be protected.

Watershed Wonders grades 4–Adult

We all live in a watershed and land uses affect the quality of the water that runs into our lakes and streams. A model will be used to graphically show how we can keep our water clean. We will also show how maps can be used to locate watershed features.

Hoosier Home Remedies grades 3–Adult

Learn about the home remedies used by settlers before the advent of modern medicines and hospitals. Most of these cures, like many medicines today, were derived from plants, but they didn’t always work and could even be harmful. Smell and sample some of the tastier—but safe—remedies and see the plants from which they came.

Maps and Orienteering grades 5–adult

Use math and geography in a fun way. Now used in a modern sport, orienteering skills once were a matter of life and death. Several fun and challenging games are used to teach this useful skill.