Tag Archives: Nature

Listing of Free Nature-Based Resources

The listing below is a compilation of free nature-based resources available to any citizen during the COVID-19 school closures. If you have any further questions or need ideas in implementing these resources, please reach out to your local Conservation Educator in your region at mdc.mo.gov. We want your families to stay safe and healthy during this time period while taking the opportunity to explore and enjoy your backyard areas in a safe way.

K-12 Nature Activities and Family-Friendly
Citizen Science Opportunities

  • Project Learning Tree Listing of activities to do with children inside and within a safe space outside.
    https://www.plt.org/educator-tips/activities-to-do-with-children-at-home
  • Kid Wings Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection – Dissect an owl pellet virtually and become a barfologist!
    http://kidwings.com/virtual-pellet/
  • Ranger Rick – Free digital access to educator guides, magazines, outdoor activities, and crafts.
    https://rangerrick.org/
  • Litzsinger Road Ecology Center – Litzsinger Road Ecology Center (LREC), has started a shared folder with resources for Outdoor Learning from Home. Simple activities suitable for teachers and parents.
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qNQaWZ2EcCRnMWjt0sod5xowZj9IxuBa
  • National Geographic Kids Explore mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish.
    https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/
  • Butterflies and Moths of North America – Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) is an ambitious effort to collect, store, and share species information and occurrence data. You can participate by taking and submitting photographs of butterflies, moths, and caterpillars.
    https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/
  • eBird – The core activity for BioB takes advantage of the bugs in your own backyard, schoolyard, or neighborhood. Students can become citizen-scientists by surveying this diversity of insects and plants.
    https://ebird.org/home
  • Project Feeder Watch – Participants periodically count the birds they see at their feeders and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. Your bird counts help you keep track of what is happening in your own backyard and help scientists track long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. With FeederWatch, your observations become part of something bigger.
    https://feederwatch.org/ (App available for download)
  • Budburst Budburst brings together researchers, educators, gardeners, and citizen scientists on a shared journey to uncover the stories of plants and animals affected by human impacts on the environment.
    https://budburst.org/
  • Nature’s Notebook – Tracking seasonal changes in plants and animals.
    https://www.usanpn.org/natures_notebook
  • Project Noah – A global citizen science platform to discover, share and identify wildlife. Students can create and publish their own multimedia wildlife journal.
    https://www.projectnoah.org/
  • SciStarter – Over 3,000 projects and events are searchable by location, scientific topic, and age level, and by joining SciStarter, members can track their contributions and provide valuable feedback. Can also search for ongoing projects near you to contribute too as a class or family!
    https://scistarter.org/
  • Grow Native! – A great resource on learning the habitat need of native plants as well as connecting to resources to further this process. Families can start planning their own native rain, bird, or pollinator garden in their backyards!
    http://grownative.org/

K-12 Nature-based Lessons and Curriculums


Online and Interactive Field Guides

  • MDC Field Guide – Identifies a variety of Missouri’s plants and animals, including fungi.
    http://mdc.mo.gov/node/73
  • Plant Snap – Identify plants, flowers, cacti, succulents, and mushrooms in seconds with the click of a button on your mobile device.
    https://www.plantsnap.com/
  • iNaturalist – App for phone and tablet that identifies photographic observations of plants and animals (suggested use with middle school through adults). This information is uploaded to fellow naturalists for additional identification and then used for citizen science projects. Activity Suggestion: Download the app and identify/observe every species of flower, insect, backyard weed you can find – then you are doing a bioblitz (inventory) of your own backyard!
    https://www.inaturalist.org/ – (you will need to create an account first – video tutorials are available)
  • SEEK – App for phone and tablet that identifies photographic observations of plants and animals (suggested use with preschool to elementary students). “Use the power of image recognition technology to identify the plants and animals all around you. Earn badges for seeing different types of birds, amphibians, plants, and fungi and participate in monthly observation challenges with Our Planet on Netflix.” Simply point your phone at any living thing. Activity Suggestion: Download the app and identify/observe every species of flower, insect, backyard weed you can find – then you are doing a bioblitz (inventory) of your own backyard!
    https://apps.apple.com/seek – (you will need to create an account first – video tutorials are available)
  • Herp Mapper – Download the app to identify the reptiles and amphibians in your area. Upload to observations and contribute to the wider scientific community!
    https://www.herpmapper.org/
  • Arbor Day Foundation Tree Identification – Helps citizens in identifying trees in the Midwest.
    https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/
  • Wildflower Identification – Wildflower Identification using the color of flower and number of petals.
    http://www.missouriplants.com

Leap Year Hike at Crowder State Park

February 29, 2020 @ 1:00 pm 5:00 pm

It’s a leap year! What should you do with your extra day? Enjoy the outdoors on a 6.5-mile hike! Join park staff at the equestrian parking lot for a guided hike on a portion of North Thompson Trail and all of South Thompson Trail. This is an excellent opportunity to hike the interior of the park before spring arrives.

Participants should bring water and snacks and wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear.

The equestrian parking lot can be reached by driving west on Highway 146 to the town of Edinburg. Turn right onto 52nd Avenue. Then, turn right onto Dove Lane. Dove Lane ends in the equestrian parking lot.

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Click here to register.

This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact Crowder State Park prior to this event.

Missouri State Parks

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Crowder State Park

76 NW Highway 128
Trenton, Missouri 64683 United States
+ Google Map
(660) 359-6473
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Great Backyard Bird Count at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

February 14, 2020 @ 8:00 am February 17, 2020 @ 3:00 pm

Join us in participating in Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count. This nationwide effort aids research that increases both our understanding of birds and our knowledge on how to help protect them. The event will last four days, but you can assist by participating for as little as 15 minutes. Everyone is welcome to join, regardless of their level of birding experience.

If you would like to participate at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, please sign in at the visitor center between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the days you want to attend. Checklists and suggested birding locations will be provided at check-in. For more information, please contact the park naturalist at 573-346-2986.

Event Times: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact Ha Ha Tonka State Park prior to this event.

Missouri State Parks

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Ha Ha Tonka State Park

1491 State Road D
Camdenton, Missouri 65020 United States
+ Google Map
(573) 346-2986
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Nature Art: An Evening with Tim Ernst at Springfield Conservation Nature Center

December 6, 2019 @ 5:00 pm 6:00 pm

Before or after taking a stroll outdoors, enjoy the scenic photography of nationally known nature photographer Tim Ernst as he returns to share images from his latest book Arkansas Splendor. Tim will be available for a book signing from 6-7 pm and 8-9 pm. For a preview of his most recent work and more visit TimErnst.com. All ages. Registration is required.

*This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact the Springfield Conservation Nature Center prior to this event.*

Missouri Department of Conservation

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Springfield Conservation Nature Center

4601 S. Nature Center Way
Springfield, Missouri 65804 United States
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(417) 888-4237
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Nature’s Carnival Hayride at August A Busch Conservation Area

October 11, 2019 @ 5:30 pm 8:30 pm

Ladies and gentlemen step right up and experience all the fun nature has to offer! Join us for a night full of nature-inspired games and even take a ride around the area on one of our hayrides.

*This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact August A Busch Conservation Area prior to this event.*  

Missouri Department of Conservation

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August A Busch Conservation Area

2360 Hwy D
Saint Charles, Missouri 63304 United States
+ Google Map
(636) 441-4554
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A Saunter in the Autumn Landscape at Graham Cave State Park

September 28, 2019 @ 1:00 pm 2:30 pm

Fall is finally here! Join naturalist Lorie Volenberg for a saunter through the park’s diverse upland and bottomland forests to explore the fall colors and try your hand at tree leaf identification. Hikers will also have opportunities to photograph the many hues of the woodlands.

This will be a 3-mile moderate-level guided hike that combines two of our trails: Indian Glade Trail and Loutre River Trail. Meet at the Lower Picnic Shelter parking lot. Hikers are encouraged to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes; bring insect repellent and a bottle of water, and dress in layers. Insect repellent is also recommended.

*This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact Graham Cave State Park prior to this event.*  

Missouri State Parks

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Graham Cave State Park

217 Highway TT
Danville, Missouri 63361 United States
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(573) 564-3476
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Discover Nature at Runge Conservation Nature Center

September 26, 2019 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm

Join Fisheries Management Biologist Travis Moore to learn about Missouri’s longest-lived fish species. This presentation will include information on their interesting life history, what the Department is doing to restore their species, and what the future holds for lake sturgeon in Missouri.

*This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact Bennett Spring State Park prior to this event.*  

Missouri Department of Conservation

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Runge Conservation Nature Center

330 Commerce Dr.
Jefferson City, Missouri 65109 United States
+ Google Map
(573) 526-5544
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Nature Photography is Easy! – Thousand Hills State Park

August 3, 2019 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

Are you a nature lover? Have you ever gone to capture a lovely flower or wonderful sunset only to be confounded by the buttons and knobs on your camera? Are you wondering how to set up the perfect shot? Say no more! Bring your camera (yes, even a camera phone) and manual (this will be very helpful) to this beginner’s photography program at the enclosed shelter to get hands-on training and learn how to turn a snapshot into a masterpiece!

*This event may change with or without notice. While we will make our best effort to update this page, it is recommended that you contact Thousand Hills State Park prior to this event.*

Thousand Hills State Park

(660) 665-6995

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Thousand Hills State Park

20431 State Hwy. 157
Kirksville, Missouri 63501 United States
+ Google Map
(660) 665-6995
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