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).
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 grades 4 and 5. 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 examine a "crime" scene to determine what animals were there by investigating tracks and scat.
- Web of Life: Students examine the relationship between predators and prey (hawks/prairie dogs).
- Shorebird Show and Tell: Students discuss and explore a species of concern: the mountain plover (southwest).
- Swifty Critters: Students discuss and explore a species of concern: the swift fox.
- Wildlife Exploration: Students view live shortgrass prairie animals, skins and skulls of many others.
- Shortgrass Prairie/Pine Ridge Jeopardy: Students learn about the shortgrass prairie/pine ridge eco-regions while participating in this fun game based on the game show.
PEEP is offered on a rotational basis between northwest and southwest Nebraska.
2014 Locations: Harrisburg, Kimball, Potter-Dix, Sidney, Chappell, Oshkosh, Bayard, Bridgeport, Minatare, Gering and Scottsbluff.
2015 Locations: Sioux Co, Chadron, Crawford, Hay Springs, Rushville, Gordon, Alliance, Morrill, Mitchell and Hemingford.
Bird Banding Stations
Red Crossbill caught and banded at the Wildcat Hills. Photo by Melanie Mancuso
RMBO's Nebraska bird banding stations give students the opportunity to see birds in the hand. This experiential learning provides students with the opportunity to observe data collection and 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.
Banding station in Nebraska are located at Wildcat Hills Nature Center in Gering and Chadron State Park in Chadron. Programs are geared for 3rd grade and up, but all grades are welcome. Programs are FREE and run 2 hours. The banding stations are open in the fall. View the schedule on our bird banding page.
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 1 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 grades 5-8.
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.