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Look! Just outside the window, down the street, in your local park. It’s your “Backyard Classroom!” Ding-Ding, nature is in session! Check out these resources for fun, lessons, and how-tos.

Explore Nature

Five Facts about the Eastern Chipmunk

Five Facts about the Eastern Chipmunk

Fall is here and that means preparations for winter have begun! Join Danny to learn five facts about some of the busiest mammalian hoarders around: chipmunks!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: Erosion

Chad the Nature Dad: Erosion

While hiking along the bluffs of Lake Michigan and then in a kayak, Chad noticed that some bluffs were receding quickly. Join Chad in an adventure on the lake as he explores the erosion of our bluffs along Lake Michigan.

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Explore Nature

Story with Tory: Over and Under the Pond

Story with Tory: Over and Under the Pond

For storytime today, Tory is spending time by the Washington Park pond and reading Over and Under the Pond, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. Used with Permission from Chronicle Books, LLC.

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Explore Nature

Five Facts about the Carolina Grasshopper

Five Facts about the Carolina Grasshopper

With their eggs laid, Carolina Grasshoppers have now completed their life-cycle and the adults will soon die. Join Danny in the Riverside Park prairie to learn five facts about these adaptable, widespread insects.

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How to

How To Make a Bird Seed Bell

How To Make a Bird Seed Bell

Follow along with this step-by-step guide for creating a unique bird feeder that you can hang in your yard.

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How to

Erin's Fall Garden

Erin's Fall Garden

It may be fall, but that shouldn't stop you from making the most of your garden! Join Erin in the garden for tips on fall planting, harvesting, and more!

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How to

How To Can Tomatoes

How To Can Tomatoes

Learn with Alex LaBonte how to can tomatoes so that you can preserve that sweet summer taste throughout the winter!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: Prairie Plants

Chad the Nature Dad: Prairie Plants

With few trees in the prairies, the plants there have adaptations that allow them to bask in the hot summer sun. Join Kendall and Chad the Nature Dad as we explore some of these plants as well as have a little bit of fun!

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Explore Nature

Five Facts about the Canada Goose

Five Facts about the Canada Goose

It's fall migration and that means flocks of Canada geese will be flying overhead as they make their way south. Join Danny in some ideal Canada goose habitat to learn five facts about these familiar birds.

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How to

How To Do Plant Pressing

How To Do Plant Pressing

Grab some plant parts and follow along with these three different methods to make a beautiful, plant-pressed craft.

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How to

How To Find Macroinvertebrates

How To Find Macroinvertebrates

Macroinvertebrates live in ponds and lakes and rivers all around us. In this "How To" video, join Alex LaBonte as she explains the best way to search for, study, and identify macroinvertebrates!

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How to

How To Make a Firefly String Lights Craft

How To Make a Firefly String Lights Craft

Follow along this video for a step-by-step guide on how to make a firefly string lights craft, so you can appreciate the beauty of fireflies at all times of the year.

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Little Scientists

Build a Nature Boat!

Build a Nature Boat!

Get outside and use natural materials you find around you to make a boat. How long can you get your boat to stay afloat?

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Explore Nature

Five Facts about the Darling Underwing Moth

Five Facts about the Darling Underwing Moth

The Darling Underwing is a member of the underwing family of moths, which exhibit a number of unique adaptations. Join Danny in their own backyard and learn five facts about this elusive moth species.

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How to

Summer Fresh Salsa Recipe

Summer Fresh Salsa Recipe

If your garden is overflowing with tomatoes right now, Environmental Educator Alex LaBonte has just the recipe for you - homemade summer fresh salsa!

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How to

How To Throw a Moth Party!

How To Throw a Moth Party!

Join Erin Whitney as she explains all the best tips and tricks to throw a great moth party, so you can document all the cool species of moths you find in your own backyard.

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How to

Late Summer Garden Planting

Late Summer Garden Planting

It is harvest time in the garden. Learn from Land Steward Drew Vandergrift what types of vegetables can still be planted in your garden in August and how to keep your plants warm as autumn approaches.

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How to

How To Find and Cook with the Common Plantain

How To Find and Cook with the Common Plantain

Discover the plant Common Plantain in Lake Park with Environmental Educator Kelli Johnson! Then, learn how to prepare this nutritious and delicious plant for tea and as part of a recipe.

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: Snapping Turtles

Chad the Nature Dad: Snapping Turtles

Snapping turtles are some of the oldest creatures still on our planet. Their origins date back about 90 million years! Join Chad the Nature Dad and Chad the Nature Dad’s Dad as they explore a snapping turtle that was crossing the road here in Milwaukee.

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Explore Nature

Wildflowers in Summer

Wildflowers in Summer

It's summertime and many wildflowers are in full bloom. In this video for kids, Alex introduces the different parts of a flower and shares a number of common wildflower species you could find in Milwaukee right now.

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Explore Nature

Wildflowers in Summer: Parent Guide

Wildflowers in Summer: Parent Guide

A guide for parents that introduces vocabulary about wildflowers and images of common wildflower species to look for with your kids. A supplement to the "Wildflowers in Summer" video.

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Explore Nature

Story with Tory: The Night Gardener

Story with Tory: The Night Gardener

Join environmental educator Tory Bahe for story time! Today, Tory is reading The Night Gardener, written and illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan. Shared with permission from Simon & Schuster.

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: Frogs

Chad the Nature Dad: Frogs

In this episode of Chad the Nature Dad, we go back to spring when the call of frogs can often be heard as they emerge from hibernation. Join Chad and Kendall as they explore some wetlands on the Ice Age trail and then in the woods here in Milwaukee. Enjoy!

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Little Scientists

Nature Trivia Bingo

Nature Trivia Bingo

Test your nature knowledge. See how many you can get in a row, or fill up the whole card!

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Explore Nature

Story with Tory: Over in the Meadow

Story with Tory: Over in the Meadow

Join environmental educator Tory Bahe for story time! Today, Tory is reading Over In The Meadow, written by Olive A. Wadsworth and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.

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How to

How to Make a Dragonfly Planter Craft

How to Make a Dragonfly Planter Craft

Join us for a guided dragonfly planter craft! Happy crafting!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: Ants

Chad the Nature Dad: Ants

Ants are interesting creatures with the ability to lift objects many times their weight. But even more interesting is how ants all over the world work together in colonies to build homes, find food and nourish their young. Join Chad the nature Dad when he discovers a large ant colony in a log at Washington Park.

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How to

How to Raise Monarchs at Home

How to Raise Monarchs at Home

The monarch population has been decreasing over the years. You can help improve its population by raising them at home. Watch this video created by environmental educator, Alex LaBonte. The experience of raising monarch butterflies can be a great learning tool for kids as they can learn about metamorphosis and see with their own eyes the whole cycle of the monarch's life.

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Explore Nature

Rothschildia cincta, one of the biggest moths in America

Rothschildia cincta, one of the biggest moths in America

Why moths have a fatal attraction to lights? Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to check out a rothschildia cincta, one of the biggest moths in America, to find out why, and also go over some other basics of these nocturnal insects.

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How to

How to Make Mulberry Jam

How to Make Mulberry Jam

Keep an eye out for mulberry trees in your yard or in some parks nearby so you can make this delicious mulberry jam recipe cooked by environmental educator, Kelli Johnson! Kelli shows us all the process, from harvesting to cooking!

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Explore Nature

Butterfly or moth?

Butterfly or moth?

Have you wondered how to tell apart butterflies from months? Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to go over some clues to easily differentiate butterflies from moths.

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Explore Nature

Leafcutter Ant - La Hormiga Cortadora de Hojas

Leafcutter Ant - La Hormiga Cortadora de Hojas

Ants have a reputation for being hardworking, but these leafcutter ants (genus atta) also are superbly intelligent! Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to learn about this farmer insect that harvests fresh leaves to grow the fungus they eat! Video content in Spanish with captions in English

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Little Scientists

A monarch butterfly's life cycle (coloring page)

A monarch butterfly's life cycle (coloring page)

Learn about a monarch butterfly's life cycle and also have fun while coloring this page

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: Longhorn Beetle - Escarabajo Funerario del Maguey

Exploring Nature: Longhorn Beetle - Escarabajo Funerario del Maguey

Coleoptera, commonly known as beetles, are the most diverse group of animals on Earth! Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to check out a longhorn beetle endemic to Mexico. The escarabajo funerario del maguey (Acanthoderes funeraria) is a beetle that feeds on the leaves of agave plants.

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Explore Nature

Scenery Paintings (blog)

Scenery Paintings (blog)

Enjoy this blog from Environmental Educator, Jose Basaldua, about how nature is the ultimate canvas for inspiration. We hope it can also inspire you to create art based on what you see in nature. Blog content in English and Spanish

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How to

How to Mulch a Garden

How to Mulch a Garden

Want to spend less time weeding and watering in your garden? Join UEC Environmental Educator Kirsten Maier as she explains why you should mulch, and demonstrates her favorite mulching method: newspaper and straw.

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: Water Striders (Episode 8)

Chad the Nature Dad: Water Striders (Episode 8)

Join Chad the Nature Dad and Kendall as they find, catch, and explore water striders. These super cool creatures can be found in most bodies of water and have some cool adaptations that help them survive! Look for them on your next adventure by the water. Enjoy!

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How to

How to Make a Worm Bin

How to Make a Worm Bin

Environmental Educator, Alex LaBonte, teaches us how to make a worm bin. Composting food waste has many benefits over sending it to a landfill. It can also be great for enriching the soil of the gardens.

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Explore Nature

Learn how to listen for bird calls

Learn how to listen for bird calls

Now that the leaves are growing in the trees, it's getting hard to see birds. Scientists have come up with ways to remember these calls. They are called "Mnemonics". Learn how to listen for bird calls with a fun class from Alex LaBonte, Environmental Educator.

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Explore Nature

Mnemonic Bird Songs (Guide for parents)

Mnemonic Bird Songs (Guide for parents)

Parents, we hope this guide about Bird Song Mnemonics will be useful for you and your kids. Learning to identify birds by their songs and call notes is perhaps one of the most important aspects of birding.

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How to

Let’s Make a Kite!

Let’s Make a Kite!

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to fly a kite! There are usually many days that are breezy enough to go out and fly. Learn how to make your own kite with Environmental Educator, Regina Miller.

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Explore Nature

Recycle Your Vegetables - Recyclez Vos Legumes

Recycle Your Vegetables - Recyclez Vos Legumes

Reduce, reuse, recycle! Did you know that you can re-grow your own veggies? Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to learn how you can recycle some of your vegetables at home. (Video content in French with captions in English)

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad: skipping rocks (Episode 7)

Chad the Nature Dad: skipping rocks (Episode 7)

Ever wondered how to skip a rock? Join Chad the Nature Dad on a beautiful spring evening down at Lake Michigan to learn how. Enjoy!

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Explore Nature

Decals to Prevent Birds from Hitting your Windows

Decals to Prevent Birds from Hitting your Windows

Live and learn! Join environmental educator Miguel Santos and his little ornithologists Dario and Camila to learn how you can prevent birds from hitting your windows. As they say, experience if the best teacher: Once and for all!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad (Episode 6)

Chad the Nature Dad (Episode 6)

This week Chad and Kendall went out to the woods on that very rainy Sunday what they found was a flooded forest floor. It created some new streams and opportunities for some fun exploration. Enjoy!

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Little Scientists

Leaf Pounding

Leaf Pounding

Find a cool shaped leaf in your backyard or neighborhood and create some leaf pounding. The vibrant colors of leaves and flowers are easy to preserve by pounding them to release their natural dyes onto paper. Learn the process on how to do it with Environmental Educator, Erin Withney.

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Explore Nature

A nature hike in Kirsten's neighborhood

A nature hike in Kirsten's neighborhood

Go on a hike with Environmental Educator, Kirsten Maier, as she explores her neighborhood park. By hiking with her, you will learn what to find under logs, enjoy some spring flowers and more!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad (Episode 5)

Chad the Nature Dad (Episode 5)

Join Chad the Nature Dad as he explores animal tracks in the woods. Get out there and see what tracks you can find especially after a good rain or snow.

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Explore Nature

My Backyard Square (Part 3)

My Backyard Square (Part 3)

Environmental Educator, Regina Miller, is excited to share how things have changed in her backyard square. The mayapples are looking so tall and the fiddleheads have grown a lot. Wild geraniums have got bigger too. Things have really changed. Spring has sprung in Regina's backyard. Check out your backyard or nearby nature to see how nature is changing so quickly!

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Explore Nature

Ask A Naturalist: Amphibians in the Ephemeral Pond

Ask A Naturalist: Amphibians in the Ephemeral Pond

You asked questions about the amphibians who are currently at the Riverside Park ephemeral pond and Drew Vandegrift, Restoration Assistant, answered them!

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Explore Nature

The Rock Cycle Recipe

The Rock Cycle Recipe

Did you know that rocks, actually, are constantly changing? Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to go over the rock cycle, and to learn how to cook your own igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks in the kitchen!

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Little Scientists

Chalk & Chirp

Chalk & Chirp

Grab some chalk and hop outside! Draw what birds you spot on the sidewalk for other birding neighbors to find. Enjoy this fun game created by Community Programs Educator, Erin Whitney.

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Explore Nature

Learn about mayapples

Learn about mayapples

Mayapple wildflowers are unique, fruit-bearing plants that grow primarily in woodlands where they frequently form a thick carpet of bright green foliage. Learn more about them with Restoration Assistant, Drew Vandegrift

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Explore Nature

After the Rain Comes the Sun (blog)

After the Rain Comes the Sun (blog)

What's a gall? Environmental Educator, Miguel Santos, explains about this growth on the cone of red cedar trees. (Contenido en español también)

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad (Episode 4)

Chad the Nature Dad (Episode 4)

On a warm sunny afternoon Kendall and Chad took a bike ride down to Lake Michigan to find some interesting rocks and other cool items. Check it out!

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Little Scientists

What frogs do in different seasons

What frogs do in different seasons

Do you know what frogs like to do throughout the year? Meet our friend Maria and she will tell you more about it! Enjoy this video created by Environmental Educator Kelli Johnson

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Explore Nature

My Backyard Square (Part 2)

My Backyard Square (Part 2)

Environmental Educator, Regina Miller, explores the square she traced in her yard a week ago to see how it has changed in just a few days. You will learn how important the decomposers are for the soil as well as a list of spring flowers that can grow in your yard or in nearby nature.

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: Crayfish

Exploring Nature: Crayfish

Crayfish are not just another find in nature. They are fascinating creatures that can indicate the quality of water in a given habitat! Check out this video by the environmental educator Miguel Santos to learn some interesting facts about these common crustaceans.

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Explore Nature

My Backyard Square  (Part 1)

My Backyard Square
(Part 1)

Spring has sprung with lots of things to experience outside! Join Environmental Educator, Regina Miller, as she shows us how to mark out a square to make nature observations in our yards.

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Little Scientists

Learn how to make chalk!

Learn how to make chalk!

Let's get ready for those warmer afternoons and make your own sidewalk chalk! (Contenido en español también)

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Explore Nature

Nature in My Neighborhood

Nature in My Neighborhood

Roger and his son Auden go on a fun and engaging scavenger hunt in their neigbhorhood!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad  (Episode 4)

Chad the Nature Dad
(Episode 4)

While playing during a beautiful sunset one evening, Kendall found a little mammal running across a parking lot. Upon further inspection we discovered a furry baby vole!

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Explore Nature

Raccoon Latrines

Raccoon Latrines

Did you know that some animals defecate in communal sites also known as animal latrines? Join environmental educator Miguel Santos to learn what scat is, and check out a real raccoon latrine! Captions available in Spanish (Subtítulos en español también)

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Little Scientists

Make a Nature Journal / Crea un Diario de la Naturaleza

Make a Nature Journal / Crea un Diario de la Naturaleza

Create your own nature journal from things you can find in house and backyard! (Contenido en español también)

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Little Scientists

How to Celebrate Earth Day with your Children

How to Celebrate Earth Day
with your Children

Celebrate Earth Day quarantine style! Use these 5 ideas at home or in your neighborhood.

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: Make an Insect Trap! (Part 1)

Exploring Nature: Make an Insect Trap! (Part 1)

Join in on this exciting lesson led by UEC Environmental Educator Miguel Santos, who teaches us all sorts of info about insects in a dynamic virtual class in his backyard. Video content in Spanish with captions in English

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: Insects 101 (Part 2)

Exploring Nature: Insects 101 (Part 2)

Part 2: The Study. Insect trap ready? Then, join entomologists Miguel, Dario and Camila to learn interesting facts about insects, and don’t forget to report the results of your research in a nature journal! Video content in Spanish with captions in English

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Little Scientists

Start a Garden in a Toilet Paper Roll

Start a Garden in a
Toilet Paper Roll

Learn how to start a seedling in a planter that you can put right in the ground!

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Little Scientists

Quiz: Garbage, Recycling, or Compost?

Quiz: Garbage, Recycling, or Compost?

Do you know which piece garbage should go in which container? Take this family quiz and find out!

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad  (Episode 3)

Chad the Nature Dad
(Episode 3)

Join Chad and Kendall in their walk at Cedar swamp where Chad talks about swamps and wetlands. In this video, you will also learn about cedar trees and their leaves. Pay attention to Kendall's tip and take notes for your future hikes!

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: Buds

Exploring Nature: Buds

Learn about buds with environmental educator Tory Bahe. What is a bud? What's inside? Count the buds, name of the colors you see, use all the senses to explore buds!

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Explore Nature

Nature Observations

Nature Observations

Wondering how to keep learning in nature when you’re stuck at home? Join Environmental Educator Kirsten Maier as she shares one of her favorite outdoor activities: regular visits to a special spot. By spending time in the same spot each week, you’ll get to know one small area of land incredibly well and get a chance to sharpen your observation skills.

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: American Toad

Exploring Nature: American Toad

Environmental Educator, Miguel Santos and his children, are looking for amphibians on a rainy day. They find an American toad and Miguel shares some interesting facts about these beautiful creatures. Video content in Spanish with captions in English

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Little Scientists

Marvelous Life of a Frog!

Marvelous Life of a Frog!

Learn about the marvelous life of a frog from Environmental Educator, Kelli Jonshon. Just like us, Frogs start their lives out as little babies and grow up to be adults! This is called a Life Cycle.

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad  (Episode 2)

Chad the Nature Dad
(Episode 2)

Let's see what these mallard ducks are doing in this tiny puddle of water!

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How to

Spring Garden Cleanup:  Mind the Wildlife

Spring Garden Cleanup:
Mind the Wildlife

Land Steward, Drew Vandegrift, answers FAQs about spring gardening with native plants and wildlife in mind.

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Explore Nature

What to Do for Earth Day 2020

What to Do for Earth Day 2020

While our Earth Day of Service program is cancelled (we miss you already!), we still encourage you to do something to celebrate the earth. Check out this post by Volunteer Program Manager Davita Flowers-Shanklin for more ideas!

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Explore Nature

Explore Nature with your Toddler

Explore Nature with your Toddler

Join Anna and her son Pau on an outdoor toddler adventure! Captions available in Spanish (Subtítulos en español también)

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Explore Nature

Exploring Nature: Feathers

Exploring Nature: Feathers

Environmental Educator Miguel Santos and his kids, Dario and Camila, discover feathers in the woods! Video content in Spanish with captions in English

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Explore Nature

Chad the Nature Dad  (Episode 1)

Chad the Nature Dad
(Episode 1)

Welcome to Chad the Nature Dad! Let's see what we can find under some logs.

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Little Scientists

Fun Science Activities for Kids of All Ages

Fun Science Activities for Kids of All Ages

A list of activities that can be adapted for kids of all ages from Environmental Educator Brynne Drohan. (Contenido en español también)

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Little Scientists

Nature Guide for Kids

Nature Guide for Kids

Check out this printable nature guide for kids!

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Little Scientists

Guía de naturaleza para niños (Contenido en español)

Guía de naturaleza para niños (Contenido en español)

Echa un vistazo a esta guía imprimible en PDF de la naturaleza para niños.

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How to

How to Identify Poison Ivy

How to Identify Poison Ivy

Forester Caitlin Reinartz tells us how to identify and avoid poison ivy in this video.

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How to

How to Control Erosion

How to Control Erosion

Forester, Caitlin Reinartz, teaches us about erosion and how to control it in this video.

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How to

Naturescaping Design Principles

Naturescaping Design Principles

Land Steward, Michaela Rosenthal, describes the benefits and design principles of landscaping with native plants.

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Check back soon for more great content!

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