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Nebraska Education Programs

Nebraska's educational facility is based near Scottsbluff, but reaches across 7 counties in western Nebraska. We have outlined several conservation and educational activities that will inform and educate students, teachers, landowners, and resource professionals about the shortgrass prairie and ponderosa pine ecosystems of western Nebraska.

All Nebraska programs are funded through a grant from the
Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET).

P.E.E.P: Panhandle Eco-Extravaganza about Prairies
Bird Banding Stations
Educator Staff Development

P.E.E.P.: Panhandle Eco-Extravaganza about Prairies
Bringing prairie and riparian conservation messages to students throughout western Nebraska.

Panhandle Eco-Extravaganza about Prairies (PEEP) is an educational program, free of charge, to elementary students in grade 4th and 5th. The PEEP program incorporates hands-on, minds-on activities about the shortgrass prairie and ponderosa pine ecosystems in the Nebraska panhandle. The PEEP program is unique to Nebraska as it brings together agricultural and conservation groups to deliver 3 hours of fun, action packed activities related to native prairie and ponderosa pine habitats for students.
Students working through a CSI scene to solve the "who dunnit?"

Activities: (All activities and materials will encourage inquiry and hands-on learning and also meet several state standards.)
- Critter Scene Investigation (CSI): Students will examine a “crime” scene to determine what animals were there by investigating tracks and scat.
- Web of Life: In this food web activity students examine the relationship between predators and prey (hawks/prairie dogs)
- Shorebird Show and Tell: Students will have the opportunity to discuss, and explore a species of concern- the mountain plover (southwest).
- Swifty Critters: Students will have the opportunity to discuss, and explore a species of concern- the swift fox.
- Wildlife Exploration: In this activity students will view live shortgrass prairie animals, skins and skulls of many others. 
- Shortgrass Prairie/Pine Ridge Jeopardy: Students will learn about the shortgrass prairie/pine ridge eco-regions while participating in this fun game based on the game show.
PEEP is brought to you on a rotational basis and with be in Northwest Nebraska in 2013, and southwest Nebraska in 2014.

2013 Locations: Sioux Co, Chadron, Crawford, Hay Springs, Rushville, Gordon, Alliance, Morrill, Mitchell, and Hemingford.
2014 Locations: Harrisburg, Kimball, Potter-Dix, Sidney, Chappell, Oshkosh, Bayard, Bridgeport, Minatare, Gering and Scottsbluff.
Bird Banding Stations

Red Crossbill caught and banded at the Wildcat Hills.
Photo by Melanie Mancuso

The Nebraska educational bird banding station gives students the opportunities to see birds in the hand. This experiential learning provides students with the opportunity to observe data collection, to learn about bird adaptations, conservation issues, behaviors, habitat requirements, and migration patterns. Students are able to interact with the ponderosa pine and shortgrass prairie environments with the banding stations as a focal point. Information provided at the banding station goes beyond birds and emphasizes the importance of our native habitats for healthy human and wildlife communities. This hands-on learning helps create an awareness and appreciation for Nebraska’s biodiversity.
Wildcat Hills Nature Center-Gering, NE
Chadron State Park-Chadron, NE

Tentative Dates: August 20-October 4
Grades: Geared for 3rd grade and up, but all grades welcome
Program Fee: FREE
Duration: 2 hrs
Educator Staff Development

We also offer several opportunities for teacher staff development in western Nebraska, including pre-service and in-service trainings in Project WILD, Flying WILD, and other area specific topics.

Project WILD is the nation’s longest standing wildlife education program.  To date, it has reached more than one MILLION educators and 53 MILLION youth. This
interdisciplinary program teaches learners “how to think, not  what to think,” and assists in developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Hands-on, inquiry-based activities engage students in  learning about wildlife and the environment. The K-12 curriculum and  activity guide is easy to use, well-organized, and covers major themes  including: habitats, ecosystems, and niches, adaptations, interdependence, biodiversity, cultural perspectives, human impacts,  wildlife management,  and taking action.

Flying WILD is a supplemental curriculum and activity guide introducing students to the study of birds, habitat issues, and community service projects related to birds. Activities are geared toward 5th – 8th grade.

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 activities and experiences, Growing Up
WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature and lifelong social and academic skills. Developed for children 3-7 yrs. old.

Project Learning Tree® (PLT) is an award winning, multi-disciplinary environmental education program for educators and students in PreK - grade 12. PLT is a program of the American Forest Foundation. It is one of the most widely used environmental education programs in the United States and abroad, and continues to set the standard for environmental education excellence.

For more information:

Magdalena 'Maggie' Vinson
Nebraska Education Coordinator
            330243 C.R. H
Minatare, NE 69356
Tel: (308) 783-1019
Fax: (308) 783-1021

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