Education Resources

Education programs

Division of Forestry


Activity guides and projects

Cover of Arbor Month Teachers guideA Teachers Guide to Arbor Month

Audience: Grades K–9

Description: This cross–curricular thematic guide is designed to easily integrate learning about trees into the regular K?8 school curriculum. It offers activities in language art, math, music, art, social studies, science, health, and physical education. It is also an ideal enhancement to your environmental education programs and can help you meet Minnesota graduation standards for environmental education.


Thousand Friends of Frogsexternal link

Audience: Grades K–6

Description: This Minnesota-based project was developed by the Center for Global Environmental Education at Hamline University. Its purpose is to connect children, parents, educators, and scientists to study and celebrate frogs and their habitats. It offers classroom resources and activities as well as pages connecting students to the project.


image of Alien Invasion web siteAlien Invasion: Plants on the Move external link

Audience: Grades 6 & up

Description: This website contains several activities on invasive species as well as slide presentations and ArcExplorer software. Activities are correlated to national science standards.


logo to Agriculture in ClassroomAgriculture in the Classroom external link

Audience: All grades

Description: Agriculture in the Classroom is a national program coordinated locally by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Its goal is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society so they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies. Minnesota program.


Arbor Month Program for Minnesota

Audience: All grades

Description: Arbor Day in Minnesota is the last Friday in April. May is Arbor Month. The Arbor Month Program provides a poster and educational materials.


Beginner's Guide to Minnesota Trees pdf

Audience: K–12

Description: This University of Minnesota Extension guide introduces users to Minnesota's most common 35 trees. It’s perfect for use with elementary students and others just learning how to use a dichotomous key. Although the guide is out of print, you can easily download it and print your own copies.

 


image of Best Practices for field day CDBest Practices for Field Days external link

Audience: All grades

Description: This comprehensive program planning guidebook for organizers, presenters, teachers, and volunteers includes everything you need to know about field days, including how to plan for large crowds, bad weather, age-appropriate activities, and more. This guide can take the worry out of putting on a field day. Guidelines and planning worksheets are included. The guidebook and "Best Practices for Field Days" workshops are from the University of Minnesota Extension Service external link.


Image of Big tree RegistryBig Tree Registry

Audience: All grades

Description: This publication lists Minnesota's largest 52 native trees. It includes information about big trees and how to measure them, and has registration forms to submit trees for consideration as the "biggest tree" of its species in Minnesota. Getting kids outside to compete for Minnesota's biggest tree is a great way to engage their sense of curiosity while teaching math skills.


graphic: EEK program logoEEK! Environmental Education for Kids! external link

Audience: Grades 4–8

Description: This website, produced by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, includes educational resources and teaching pages for kids in grades 4?8. You’ll find instructional materials, action projects, multimedia pieces, and resource materials on a wide variety of natural resource topics.


graphic Facing the future logoFacing the Future external link

Audience: All grades

Description: Download a free curriculum on sustainability and global issues aligned with national and state academic standards. Curriculum guides are available for Grade K?4 and Grade 5 and up.


Family Activities

Audience: All grades

Description: Family Activities is a collection of activities from Project Learning Tree (PLT) for families to use while taking walks through your neighborhood, at the cabin, or on a camping trip.


FireWise MinnesotaFirewise

Audience: Grades 9–12

Description: The Firewise program offers workshops for high school educators to learn about the wildfire risk to homes in the wildland/urban interface. "Firewise Communities: Reducing the Risk of Wildfire" is a standards-based, collaborative school project in which students use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to identify local wildfire risk and educate their community about wildfire risk reduction. Schools can collaborate with the program to become a "Firewise School" and participate in field activities to monitor forests and to prevent fires.


Logo for LHSGEMS: Great Explorations in Math and Scienceexternal link

Audience: All grades

Description: GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science), OBIS (Outdoor Biology Instructional Strategies), and other natural resource education materials from the Lawrence Hall of Science offer high-quality, inquiry-based science activities.


Logo for Great Lake Information NetworkGreat Lakes Information Network external link

Audience: All grades

Description: The Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) is an online clearinghouse for information relating to the bi-national Great Lakes?St. Lawrence region of North America. GLIN offers a wealth of data and information about the region's environment, economy, tourism, history, and education. Lesson plans, maps, resources, and more can be found on the GLIN website.


graphic logo of Great lakes worm watchGreat Lakes Worm Watch external link

Audience: Grades 3 & Up

Description: Did you know Minnesota has no native earthworms? Invasive earthworms can damage forest ecology. This interactive curriculum helps students capture, identify, and study earthworms and their effects in the forest. Developed by the University of Minnesota and the Natural Resources Research Institute.


Logo for Leopold Education ProjectLeopold Education Project external link

Audience: Grades 5–12

Description: The Leopold Education Project is an innovative, interdisciplinary, critical thinking, conservation, and environmental education curriculum based on the classic writings of the renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold. The Leopold Education Project teaches the public about humanity's ties to the natural environment in the effort to conserve and protect the earth's natural resources. Educator workshops and lesson plans are available.


Logo for Minn AquaMinnAqua

Audience: Grades 3–8

Description: This Minnesota DNR program introduces students to lake and stream ecology by teaching them how to fish. The curriculum guide looks at habitats and ecosystems, Minnesota fish, water stewardship, managing Minnesota resources, and fishing equipment and techniques. A variety of games, activities, and simulations are used to promote stewardship of Minnesota's aquatic habitats.


graphic: Minnesota conservation volunteer magMinnesota Conservation Volunteer Magazine

Audience: All grades

Description: This unique bimonthly publication is written to engage, entertain, and educate its readers with a lively mix of photographs and stories about Minnesota's woods, water, and wildlife. A special section is designed with the young naturalist in mind. Young Naturalists stories can be downloaded in PDF and taught using the accompanying teacher's guide.


Logo for Minnesota Forestry AssociationMinnesota Forestry Association external link

Audience: All grades

Description: The Minnesota Forestry Association (MFA) is Minnesota's oldest conservation organization, founded in 1876 to promote wise stewardship of forest lands. MFA sponsors the Woodland Adviser Program, which provides opportunities to learn more about Minnesota's forests and forestry.


Minnesota Minerals Education

Audience: Grades 5–12

Description: Minnesota DNR sponsors an intensive annual three-day workshop for educators wishing to learn more about the state's geology. Materials such as Geology of Minnesota and Digging Into Minnesota's Minerals are provided at the workshop.


graphic:Monarchs in the classroom logoMonarchs in the Classroom external link

Audience: All grades

Description: This project was developed by scientists and educators at the University of Minnesota to provide a solid background for understanding the ecology, behavior, and evolution of monarch butterflies. Educator workshops, curriculum, and support materials are available.


Arbor Day Foundation logoNational Arbor Day Foundation external link

Audience: All grades

Description: A section of the Arbor Day Foundation website is dedicated to "teaching the next generation to value of trees." For fifth grade students, find information about the annual poster contest. Tree posters and lots of lesson plans for all ages are available.


image: Banner image to Natural InquirerNatural Inquirer external link

Audience: Middle school

Description: The Natural Inquirer is a middle school science education journal. Scientists report their research in journals, which enable scientists to share information with one another. This journal lets scientists share their research with middle school students. Each article tells about scientific research conducted by scientists in the USDA Forest Service.


Project Bluestem external link

Audience: All grades

Description: Project Bluestem is a series of curricula focused on the tallgrass prairie and oak savanna patterned after Project Learning Tree. Educator workshops are available, or the curriculum can be purchased without training.


Logo for PTLProject Learning Tree

Audience: All grades

Description: This resource uses the forest as a window on the world to increase students' understanding of our environment, stimulate critical and creative thinking, develop the ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues, and foster a commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment. Since 1976, PLT has been helping students learn how to think, not what to think, about the environment. PLT materials are only available to workshop participants. Minnesota PLT materials include an early childhood supplement, a PreK?8 activity guide, five secondary guides, and focused materials on fire, energy, and teaching techniques.


Logo for Project WETProject WET

Audience: All grades

Description: The mission of Project Wet is to reach children, parents, educators, and communities of the world with water education. This goal is accomplished through the use of resource guides that promote awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources. Project WET materials are only available to workshop participants. Minnesota Project WET materials include a K?12 guide, water quality guides and test kits, and focused materials on wetlands, watersheds, and water conservation.


Logo for Project WILDProject WILD

Audience: All grades

Description: The mission of Project WILD is to provide wildlife-based conservation and environmental education that fosters responsible actions toward wildlife and related natural resources. Since 1983, Project WILD has helped students expand their knowledge of wildlife populations and animal management issues. Project WILD offers activities for teachers of early childhood through high school students. Project WILD materials are only available to workshop participants. Minnesota Project WILD materials include an early childhood supplement, a K?12 activity guide, high school guides, and focused materials on aquatic animals, elk, and birds.
National website


Logo for SEEK EESEEK: Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge external link

Audience: All grades

Description: SEEK is Minnesota's online environmental education clearinghouse. Find information on all environmental education curriculum, nature centers, and resources available in Minnesota. It is a website to bookmark and use often! SEEK also contains the environmental Scope & Sequence, A GreenPrint for Minnesota, and information on the graduation standards. A calendar of events lists items of interest to naturalists and classroom teachers.


Logo for National Wildlife FerderationSchoolyard Habitat external link

Audience: All grades

Description: Schoolyard Habitat is an extension of the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. The Schoolyard Habitat Program was developed "to bring the natural world to kids and kids out into nature!" Curricula includes Schoolyard Habitats How-to Guide, Access Nature, and Habitats Naturescope Kit. Free online components include Ranger Rick Educator's Guide, Happenin’ Habitats, and activity guides on butterflies, bats, grasslands, and the Arctic.


Logo for Smokey BearSmokey Bear external link

Audience: K–5

Description: Smokey says, "Only you can prevent wildfires." Visit the Smokey Bear website to find the Smokey Bear teacher's guide, activity book, kids’ poster, and other resources.


logo for Tree TrustTree Trust external link

Audience: All grades

Description: Tree Trust helps elementary and middle schools enhance school grounds. Teachers, students, administrators, and parents all receive training and support to use the improved areas to meet the schools’ education and environmental goals.


True North external link

Audience: Grades 4–12

Description: The Minnesota Historical Society developed this website full of mapping and GIS activities. Trace Minnesota's geography in terms of natural resources, landforms, ethnic communities, precipitation, roads and railways, and more. Activities are correlated to Minnesota Academic Standards in social studies.