Service learning is defined as a teaching methodology which combines learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good.
According to the National Service Learning Clearinghouse, it is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.”
An example of service learning that focuses on math might ask third grade students to measure and mark all the wood needed to build a bat house. Then, working with an adult, students would cut the wood to the proper sizes, nail or screw the wood together. Then, students would research the best places to place bat houses to ensure success. Students would work with the local community or state park area to hang the bat houses in a suitable location. Throughout this process, students would work on skills such as measuring, woodworking, community engagement and communication and science. The community would benefit by gaining the ecological benefits of bats in the area while also having safe housing for bat species.
Occasionally, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission receives requests from schools, groups and organizations that are interested in engaging their students in service learning to benefit the Commission. We welcome these requests and commend the groups on their desire to engage students in quality experiential learning while also serving both the Commission and the greater Nebraska community.
Examples of Service Learning Projects vary depending on what you are learning, what you are interested in and your timeline. The Commission has several different kinds of projects that we could use your help, including scientific inventory, building resources, and land management.
For more information about a specific service learning project listed below, please contact Amber Schiltz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information helps biologists make good decisions when managing natural resources. But, often there are not enough people to gather the data. This is where you can help! Learn more about this project on our Community Science Page.
School or Park Bioblitz
A bioblitz is a survey of all the living things at one location. This information, when collected accurately, can provide biologists with data about specific species and habitats. Once you’ve completed your bioblitz, be sure to upload your information to iNaturalist so a Commission biologist can access your data.
To check-out a bioblitz resource trunk, click here.
Trash Pick-up + Clean-up Events
It may not be glamourous, but it sure is helpful! Clean-up events truly help our staff ensure our park areas are clean and safe for all users. With more hands to help, a lot of work can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Some sites have free camping for those involved in clean-up events.
From spreading mulch to cutting back vegetation. Helping with trail maintenance really helps the Commission keep our sites in top shape and ensures our visitors gain quality experiences recreating and learning in nature.
Building Bat Houses
Quality-built bat houses are used at a number of our sites to ensure we have a safe way for bats to provide their ecological services
Wood Duck Houses
Wood ducks often build their nest in large cavities located in dead trees. Often, there are not enough dead trees to meet the needs of Nebraska’ wood duck population. Providing wood duck houses helps ensure our waterfowl species thrive.
The diversity of bird species found at many Nebraska Game and Parks sites is outstanding. For that reason, bird watching is a big deal! Providing bird houses and feeders helps the Commission provide visitors with a quality experience.
Building Archery Stands
The Commission has several sites with archery ranges. With the popularity of this outdoor recreation opportunity, we are always needing new archery stands. Although they may sound complicated to build, they are relatively simple and will get plenty of use!
Kiosks are a critical way for our Park areas to provide information to visitors. We can always use new kiosks to develop a new area or replace an existing (but worn out) kiosk.
Pollinator Homes + Habitat
Believe it or not, bees need our help! And, so do butterflies, wasps and other kinds of insect pollinators. By building these pollinator homes, you’ll help provide important habitat as well as an opportunity to educate people about the importance of pollinators and things everyone can to do help our insect friends. For more information, check out this NebGuide.
Creating Fire Pits
To make a s’more, you need graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows…. And a fire pit! Fire pits are simple pits which contain a campfire and ensure visitors are able to enjoy the outdoors safely.