Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is dedicated to educating all Nebraskans about our state’s amazing wildlife, plants and natural resources. Knowing how people want to engage with education is as diverse as our natural resources, we have developed a variety of interactive resources.
These free, downloadable lesson plans provide fun and engaging learning activities on a variety of topics — from birds to prairies, animals to pollinators … and some just-for-fun activities, too!
Looking for some fun craft activities to encourage children to combine a love for exploring in nature with their creative side? Then the Nebraska Game and Parks’ Pinterest page is just what you are looking for. Be sure to follow us for new activities daily.
Wild What’s Up
Head out to your backyard, local park or state park area to explore. You’ll find lots of amazing things (and make plenty of memories, too!). While you are exploring, you’ll likely find things you are curious about and maybe don’t have an answer for. So send us your nature-related questions by emailing email@example.com. Lauren Darnold, one of our dedicated educators will email you back with an answer to your question. Each week, we’ll pick a few of the best to be featured on our video series. Visit http://outdoornebraska.gov/wildwhatsup/ to watch the full video series.
Like our Project WILD Facebook page and get daily updates on what is going on in nature. We’ll highlight a different wonder of nature each day to show you Nature Rocks!
Join us as we explore the wild world of nature. From adaptations and phenology to life cycles and pollination, we’ll discover it all! Each mini-series will explore one topic in-depth to provide a well-rounded investigation and help students critically think about the topic.
The Science of… Series
The Science of Animal Tongues
Nebraska’s natural world is filled with all sorts of flamboyantly bizarre creatures; some are better than others at concealing their weirdness. However, hiding inside their mouths are some of the most outrageous tongues; some are serrated, some are used to smell, and some of them wrap around the animal’s brain. However, all of these outrageously strange tongues have developed unique abilities that help the animal adapt to eating their food.
The Science of Animal Scat
Often overlooked because it is considered gross, dirty and unpleasant scat is one of the most important signs to look for when looking for animals. Scat can help relay many pieces of information when it comes to animals. All animals leave scat in one form or another, even us (though we don’t tend to leave it on the ground!). An animal’s scat can tell us what they eat, where they spend most of their time, if they’re sick, and what kind of animal it is that you’re looking at. Different kinds of animals leave different kinds of scat, and knowing how to tell which is which can help us figure out what kinds of animals live nearby.
The Science of Animal Bites and Stings
Whether you’re in the water, on a mountain trail, or in your backyard, the wildlife you encounter have ways of protecting themselves and their territory. Through this webinar we will discuss different animals in Nebraska and the bites and stings they can inflict. Not only will we look at the types of bites and stings, but we will also focus on the science behind them. Things like venomous snakes, mosquito bites, bite forces, assassin bugs, bats, etc. The list is endless!
The Science of Predators
Like them or not predators are an important part of a healthy ecosystem. They help control the size of prey populations, help slow down the spread of disease, reduce negative impacts that prey have on the ecosystem and remove vulnerable prey.
Predators can come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and species. Come join us this week as we discuss the importance of predators such as Mountain Lions, Coyotes, Snakes, and ladybugs (yes, they’re predators too!)
The Science of Animal Love
Birds do it. Insects do it. Mammals do it. You get the idea…
When you get down to it, compared to the wide array of plant and animal love out there, human romantic practices start to look a little … vanilla. Tame, if you will.
Here’s our attempt to just scratch the surface of the exotic (and sometimes dangerous) ways that other creatures and green things get down.
The Science of Animal Myths
Porcupines can shoot their quills. Bats are blind. Toads give you warts. Let’s be honest, animals do some pretty strange things, but let’s not get bogged down in the myth of it all. Whether it’s superstition, exaggeration, or just plain misunderstanding, sometimes our quest for knowledge can lead to some misguided conclusions.
The Science of Animal Headgear
The word headgear definitely does not ooze a sexy persona, but when it comes to animals and their “headgear” this may mean the difference between getting a mate, surviving, or even thriving in their environment. Many animals in Nebraska have extensions on their head that can be adaptations used to help them in their environment. Through this virtual event we will discuss different animals in Nebraska and the “headgear” they are sporting, this will include, but not be limited to antlers and horns, crests and crowns, antennae, feathery gills, etc.
The Science of Fossorial Animals
It’s dark, it’s dirty, it’s quiet, it’s underground. Animals that are adapted to living underground are known as fossorial animals. These animals that live underground fulfill a niche in their environment increasing their chances of survival. To live in the harsh, dark life underground animals have many physiological adaptations such as bad eyesight, small or no ears, claws and special skeletal adaptations. In this webinar we will learn what fossorial animals live in Nebraska and how they have physically and behaviorally adapted to living in this interesting environment.
The Science of Dangerous Plants
Plants deserve respect. In this episode of the Science Of, we will be focusing on plants that can be found right here in Nebraska, that are maybe more than meet the eye. From the obvious and annoying poison ivy plant to the beautiful and tantalizing berries of deadly nightshade to the common ragweed you find in the road ditches. Each plant carries secrets and possible deadly encounters. What plants are dangerous? How do you remedy their danger? What myths surround these plants? Find out in this episode!
The Science of Invasive Species
Asian Jumping Worms, Zebra Mussels, Garlic Mustard, Eurasian Collared- Dove, and White Nose Syndrome are just a few of the many invasive species that have established themselves here in Nebraska. An invasive species is an organism that is not native to a particular area. These often deadly and harmful species can cause great economic and environmental hard to a new area. However, not all non-native species are invasive. In this virtual event we will discuss what invasive species we have, the threats they cause and what we can do to help protect our state.
The Science of Wildlife Diseases
Wild animals, domestic animals and humans share a large and increasing number of infectious diseases, known as zoonoses. Humans and wildlife are more close than they ever have been and that increased interaction between humans and other animals facilitates infectious disease emergence. Wildlife diseases can affect the sustainability of many populations. Through this virtual event we will talk about diseases such as chronic wasting disease, white-nose syndrome, chytrid fungus and how they affect animals here in Nebraska.
The Science of Fungi
Tens of thousands of organisms from mushrooms to mold to yeast, fall under the umbrella of fungi. At first these organisms were thought to be plants, but they have now emerged as their own taxonomic kingdom. Fungi are extremely diverse with many unique structures and properties, some innocuous, some useful and some harmful. Throughout this virtual event we will talk about what fungi are, the cool structures and functions they have, and what fungi are found in Nebraska.
The Science of Snakes
There are more than 3,000 different species of snakes on the planet and they’re found just about everywhere. In Nebraska we have 29 species of snakes, and only four of them are venomous. Throughout this webinar event we will talk about the different types of snakes we have, their special adaptations for their region, the venom that some develop and how they eat, slither, communicate and live their daily lives. Through this virtual event we will have a few live education animals as well!
The Science of Nebraska Fish
Nebraska is home to more than 100 species of fish, and being in the center of the Great Plains isn’t always super pleasant if you’re a fish. With cold winters, hot summers and variable rainfall it, at times, is a harsh place to live and thrive. With 78 of our 100 species of fish being native to Nebraska they still vary widely in adaptions, color, size, diet and habitat. Through this virtual event we will highlight some of the amazing and unique fish that Nebraska houses. We will also discuss the special adaptations each fish uses to survive in their habitats.
Nature Tails: Leaves
Fall brings all sorts of colorful changes to the world. Join wildlife outdoor education specialist Monica Macoubrie as she teaches children about changing leaves with the help of the book, “Fall Leaves Fall.”
Nature Tails: The Very Busy Spider
In this edition of nature tails, we talk about spiders with the help of the book “The Very Busy Spider.”
Nature Tails: Reptiles
In this episode, we learn about reptiles, particularly snakes, and have a visit with some scaly creatures.
Nature Tails: Bats
In this episode of Nature Tails, we learn about bats with the help of the book “Superbat” by Matt Carr.
Snakes of Nebraska
Snakes come in all sorts of colors and sizes. How can you tell what type of snake is living in your backyard? Through this webinar, we will explore the different types of snakes that call Nebraska home. Dennis Ferraro with University of Nebraska-Lincoln with show live snakes, chat about their unique characteristics and reveal interesting facts about their habitats.
Looking for a way to engage in nature AND help scientists at the same time? Then citizen science is for you. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has several citizen science projects ready for your help!
Available to download and print for free, these regional wildlife identification guides can aid in your exploration of Nebraska’s diversity of plant and animal species. These quick reference guides provide information of the region, help with species identification, and provide tips for wildlife viewing. They can be used for personal or educational purposes.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has multiple Facebook pages that provide information, links and resources to educational content. Like them all! Plus, once you’ve liked a page, you will receive invites to new Facebook Live videos!
- Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Facebook page
- Project WILD Facebook page
- Schramm Education Center Facebook page
- Panhandle Parks Facebook page
Interested in science? Love nature? Ready to get into the serious (and funny) side of wildlife science? Then this is the podcast for you. Designed for adults, we’ll explore some fascinating, weird and sometimes warped science found in nature. COMING SOON!