There is no doubt that as a teacher, you get pulled in many directions as you try to offer your students the best possible educational opportunities. It is a balancing act – you have to make some tough choices about how your students spend their time. It’s worth knowing though, that a variety of research has shown that creatively engaging children with the natural world on a regular basis can make a huge difference in their health, well-being, and ability to learn.
Did you know…
• Students who spend more time outdoors in natural areas are more motivated and enthusiastic about learning. Their academic achievement is also higher across multiple subject areas.• Having a natural view from a classroom makes a difference - it positively impacts both student academic achievement and behavior.• Students’ classroom behavior is better when they have recess.
Of course, some your students’ outdoor time needs to occur when they are with their families and friends – those are the opportune times for free, unstructured play in natural areas. But, you and your school can also help connect them with nature by providing more outdoor education opportunities, making sure that they continue to have outdoor recess, and even “greening” the school grounds with naturalized areas.Here is a variety of educational tools and Traveling Trunks that are available for check out:
Prairie Trunk: This multi-disciplinary educational trunk provides teachers with a wide variety of exciting lessons and hands-on materials for teaching elementary and middle school students about the prairies of North America.
Endangered Species Trunk: Provides many fun and interactive materials to help your group learn about endangered species in North Dakota and the reasons they are endangered.
Wetlands Trunk: Was designed for easy preparation of classroom presentations on wetlands and related wildlife, for students at 3rd to 6th grade.
Shorebird Trunk: Designed for students and teachers seeking information on shorebirds that fly through the central corridor of Canada, United States and Latin America. It includes maps, ID photos, links and much more.
Let’s Go Outside Backpack: Was created to give you, your family, and your friends some ideas and tools for exploring the outdoors and developing a “sense of wonder” about nature. These activities can be fun for all ages, but they are ideal for 6-12 years old.
Bert’s Backpack: Was designed for fire safety lessons, activities, and discussions.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation offers educational and outreach programs to increase the ecological literacy.
Green fire: The first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement.
Exploring the Outdoors with Aldo Leopold: is a CD packed with fun activities designed to help get youth and their families outdoors learning about nature, using Leopold’s ideas as a starting place.
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The piping plover is a small, stocky, sandy-colored bird resembling a sandpiper. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the base of its neck. Like other plovers, it runs in short starts and stops. When still, the piping plover blends into the pale background of open, sandy habitat on outer beaches where it feeds and nests. The bird's name derives from its call notes, plaintive bell-like whistles which are often heard before the birds are seen.