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Wildlife education trunks

Wildlife Education Trunks are designed to provide classroom teachers, scout leaders, homeschoolers and Master Naturalists with the resources they need to help educate students about a wide variety of topics.

Trunks are available at numerous sites around the state and are free to check-out. Trunks are checked-out for two week periods and must be picked-up and returned by the person checking out the trunk.

Game and Parks offers various trunks highlighting different types of animals and ecosystems. Descriptions of each type of available trunk follow. To reserve a trunk, please call the nearest location to determine availability and reserve a trunk. A list of trunk locations and contacts is available below.

With skulls, pelts, replica tracks and replica scat included, this trunk is sure to be a great addition to any animal or wildlife lessons. The trunk also includes literature books, curriculum guides, field guides, videos and numerous educational activities. The Mammal Trunk is complete with interactive, inquiry resources perfect for any grade or age.

Detailed list of contents:

  • Skulls: badger, beaver, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, red fox, mink, muskrat, skunk, opossum
  • Furs: badger, beaver, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, red fox, mink, muskrat, skunk, opossum, white-tailed deer
  • Scat replicas: coyote, red fox, white-tailed deer
  • Track replicas: badger, beaver, bison, bobcat, cottontail rabbit, coyote, elk, mink, mountain lion, pronghorn antelope, raccoon, red fox, river otter, squirrel, skunk, white-tailed deer
  • Binder activity topics: mammal characteristics, tracks, skull identification, bats, life cycles, food webs, adaptations, misc. Project WILD activities
  • Field guides/literature books: Animals Underground: Badgers, Skunks, The Mouse and the Meadow, About Mammals, Cougars, Red Foxes, Tracks, Scats, & Other Animal Signs, Whose Tracks are These?, Bats! Strange and Wonderful, The Life Cycle of an Opossum, Raccoon Moon, Where are the Night Animals?, Mammals of North America Field Guide, Educator Activity Book about Bats, Bats of the United States, Beavers, The Scoop on Poop, Keepers of the Animals, Otter, Stellaluna, & Guide to Mammals Skulls and Lower Jaws

When adventuring in the outdoors, it’s always fun to begin by making observations in the space you are exploring. As scientists, it can also be helpful to have tools along the way. This trunk contains some amazing pieces of equipment that can be used to help you and or your group “read the wild” around you. Anyone can be a scientists, and that means being an active participant in the world. Use this trunk to dive deeper into the world of animals and animal signs.

Detailed List of contents:

Rubber track replicas: River otter, crow, mink, rabbit, duck, mountain lion, raccoon, skunk, opossum, coyote, porcupine, beaver, goose, bobcat, red fox, great horned owl, snapping turtle, white-tailed deer, muskrat, armadillo, badger, coot, squirrel

Rubber scat replicas: mule deer, river otter, turkey, rabbit, coyote, bobcat, bat, lizard, frog, white-tailed deer, mouse, goose, mountain lion, red fox, toad, skunk, opossum, beaver, raccoon

Track Molds for casting: bobcat, coyote, woodchuck, badger, raccoon, porcupine, weasel, opossum, wood duck, mink, skunk, armadillo, great horned owl, woodpecker, blue jay, river otter, red fox

Field guides/literature book titles: Animal tracking pamphlet, nests and eggs pamphlet, animal skulls and bones pamphlet, Field Guide to Animal Tracks, Tracks and Sign of Reptiles and Amphibians, Scats and Tracks of the Great Plains, Who Pooped in the Park?, Track that Scat, Bird Feathers, Who Was Here?, Whose Tracks are These?, Big Tracks, Little Tracks, Animal Tracks Activity Book, Birds, Nests and Eggs, Tracks, Scats, and Signs.

Binder Activity Topics: Animal sounds, smells of nature, how to make plaster tracks, edible scat, wildlife CSI, nature journaling, sound maps

Miscellaneous: Track rubbing plates, container of crayons, track matching cards and guide, blank envelope paper, Identiflyer with bird calling cards, and six jumbo magnifying glasses

*The Reading the WILD trunk is currently only found in the Lincoln office.

This hands-on trunk teaches about the birds of Nebraska, bird adaptations, and how to find birds and identify birds by sight and sound. The bird trunk includes birding by ear CDs, an Identiflyer, bird field guides, student books, migration posters, bird bingo, and a variety of other hands-on bird activities and educational games. Students can even examine owl pellets, skulls, wings, feet, and feathers of birds found throughout Nebraska.

Detailed list of contents:
(Some contents differ depending on location)

  • Skulls: bald eagle, northern cardinal, turkey, domestic duck, hummingbird
  • Egg replicas: american robin, hummingbird, bald eagle
  • Track replicas: bald eagle, flicker, goose, great horned owl, mallard duck, pheasant, turkey, turkey vulture, great blue heron
  • Bird parts: barred owl foot, prairie chicken wing, great horned owl feather/wing, sharp tailed grouses wing, rough-legged hawk foot and wing, northern bobwhite wing, screech owl foot, turkey foot, cooper’s hawk foot, turkey feathers, bald eagle foot (replica), sharp-shinned hawk tail feathers
  • Binder activity topics: bird characteristics, bird trivia, bird identification (calls, markings, etc.), life cycles, food webs, adaptations, threatened and endangered birds, bird crafts, raptors, and Project B.E.A.K. activities, misc. Project WILD/Flying WILD activities
  • Field guides/literature books: Barn Owl, Beaks!, Bird Tales from Near and Far, Birds, Nests and Eggs, Raptor, Birds of Nebraska Field Guides (2), Flying WILD Guide, Naturescope: Birds, Birds, Birds, Raptors, National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America, Owls, The Peregrine’s Journey, Birds, Eyewitness: Bird, World of Birds, Feathers: Not Just for Flying, Owl Moon

Travel across Nebraska and you are surely going to see prairies, so here is a chance to study them in a hands-on way. The Prairie Trunk includes skulls and furs of many Nebraska prairie species. Additionally, we have literature books, lesson plans, and puppets all designed to engage students in learning about prairies.

Detailed list of contents:

  • Skulls: badger, black-footed ferret, black-tailed prairie dog, burrowing owl, coyote, pronghorn antelope, red fox
  • Furs: badger, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferret, black-tailed prairie dog, bison, coyote, elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, swift fox
  • Puppets: bison, butterfly, bobcat, bumblebee, jackrabbit, coyote, deer, turtle, mouse, leopard frog, bat, brown sparrow
  • Binder activity topics: prairie characteristics, types of prairies, prairies in Nebraska, animals in the prairie, plants, food chains, food webs
  • Field guides/literature book titles: America’s Prairies and Grasslands, Out on the Prairie, The Prairie that Nature Built, What if There Were No Bees?, Prairie Food Chains, Insect (Golden Guide), A Walk in the Prairie, The Honey Makers, If You’re Not From the Prairie, Who Needs a Prairie?, My Little Book of Burrowing Owls, P is for Prairie Dog, Prairie Builders, Prairie Ecosystem: Teacher’s Guide, Prairie In Your Pocket, Animal Tracks of the Great Plains, Audubon Society: Grasslands, Phantom of the Prairie

*Prairie Trunks are only available in Lincoln, Norfolk and Scottsbluff.

A Bioblitz is a survey or inventory of all the living things at a specific site. Host a bioblitz at your school, local park, or nature center! Invite students, the public or a specific group to help conduct the Bioblitz while also gaining valuable lessons in science, ecology and spending time in nature. This trunk has all the materials you need for a class bioblitz including binoculars, insect nets, hand lenses, field guides, and more!

Detailed List of Contents by Topic:

  • Birds
    10 binoculars 8×40
    6 bird field guides
  • Insects
    5 insect sweep nets
    2 mesh butterfly houses
    2 insect field guides
  • Aquatic invertebrates/other
    4 small aquatic nets
    2 sorting trays
    2 plastic bins
    fish field guide
  • Plants
    DBH metric tape
    field guides: tree/shrub, wildflower, grass
  • Mammals/Reptiles/Amphibians
    animal handling gloves
    field guides: mammals, reptiles/amphibians, scat/tracks
  • Data Collection
    2 ipads, child accounts with iNaturalist and field guide apps
    10 clipboards
    data sheet templates-various
  • Other/Multiuse
    Bioblitz guide binder with information about coordinating bioblitzes, using iNaturalist and more
    3 kritter keepers
    12 tweezers
    15 student hand lens
    metric tape reel (30 M)

Bridge to Birding is a program designed to facilitate bird awareness and connect students & educators with the outdoors and the native birds found in Nebraska. Each tool-box sized kit contains: 20 pairs of 8×21 binoculars, 20 Birds of Nebraska field guides, a Flying WILD curriculum & activity guide and a binder of Nebraska-specific bird information. This kit is perfect for groups or classrooms interested in studying birds and getting outside to look for birds in their community.

Detailed list of contents:

  • 20, 8×21 binoculars
  • 20 Birds of Nebraska field guides
  • Flying WILD Curriculum & Activity Guide
  • Binder of Nebraska-specific birding information
  • Birding lesson plans

Insects delight and fascinate children, and they are the most abundant and accessible group of animals on Earth. There are more insects that all other living animals combined, more than a million known species! Exploring the world of insects takes advantage of a child’s natural curiosity and opens opportunities for them to learn about life in many exciting ways. Insects can capture attention, heighten their environmental awareness, and lead to wonderful learning opportunities. Come check out this kit to explore the insect world!

AGES: This kit is designed for early childhood programs.

Detailed List of Contents:

  • Resin Insects: Monarch Butterfly, Stag Beetle, Honey Bee, Praying Mantis, Chafer Beetle, Grasshopper, Blister Beetle
  • Life Cycle Models: Ladybug, Praying Mantis, Ant, Butterfly, Honey Bee
  • Puppets: Caterpillar, Monarch Life Cycle, Ladybug, Honey Bee, Grasshopper, Swallowtail Butterfly, Praying Mantis
  • Scientific Instruments: Jumbo colored magnifying glasses, small magnifying cases, (7x) Power Loupes, Insect Jars, Butterfly pop-up container
  • Binder Activity Topics Include: Insect characteristics, background information, Adaptations, Life Cycles, Metamorphosis, Field investigations, etc.
  • Field Guides/Literature Book Titles: The Best book of Bugs, Are you a Grasshopper?, The Honey Makers, What if There Were No Bees?, Caterpillar to Butterfly, Insect Life Cycles, Caterpillars Bugs and Butterflies, First Big Book of Bugs, Bugs A to Z, Buzz Into Action Curriculum Guide, Pocket Naturalist- Dragonflies & Damselflies, Pocket Naturalist- Beetles, Field Guide to Insects of North America, Golden Guide: Butterflies and Moths

Life cycles are all around us.  They are part of us and part of every living thing; mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, mushrooms, bacteria, humans, etc. Explaining and illustrating life cycles can be an important milestone of children, helping them to learn how to better respect and care for the animals around them.  This topic also teaches children how things change as they get older, and how living things, including people, develop. 

AGES: This kit is specifically designed for early childhood, first and second graders.  But can be used for a wide range of students to study life cycles.

Detailed List of Contents:

  • Life Cycle Models: Frog, Bird (Chicken), Butterfly, Ladybug, Praying Mantis, Honeybee, Pea Plant, Ant
  • Literature Books: The Bizarre Life Cycle of a Cicada, Egg to Chicken, Tadpole to Frog, Caterpillar to Butterfly, What is a Life Cycle?, From Seed to Plant, The Life Cycle of Fish, & Life Cycles of Squirrels
  • Laminated Life Cycle Posters: Chicken, Fish, Frog, Turtle, Pea Plant, Dragonfly, Butterfly, Apple Tree
  • Miscellaneous Items: 1” Binder with numerous life cycle activities and life cycle information, six laminated “fast facts” cards to correlate with the life cycle models, “Grow As We Go Activity cards, eight laminated picture life cycles to correlate with life cycle models

Exploring a wetland near you just got a whole lot easier with the Aquatic Ecology Trunk! This kit is filled with scientific tools that will allow participants to explore aquatic habitats and search for macroinvertebrates, or insects in the water. By doing this, participants will learn more about water quality and life in the natural ecosystem. This kit also has great resources to help identify species and learn more about these wet and wild habitats.

Detailed list of contents:

  • Tools: 15 plastic nets for dipping and searching for insects, white plastic bins to place these insects in along with ice cube trays and muffin tins for closer viewing, magnifying glasses, and tools for moving the insects gently between viewing spaces
  • Display: Dragonfly life cycle in resin
  • Books: The Life Cycle of a Mosquito, El Ciclo de Vida del Mosquito, Take-Along Guide to Frogs, Toads and Turtles, Crawdad Creek, Creek Critters, Riparia’s River, Song of the Waterboatman, Soar High, Dragonfly, de Huevo a Libélula (Becoming a Dragonfly)
  • Guides: Flash Cards of Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, various paper guides to macroinvertebrates depending on the level of the user
  • Binder containing information about aquatic systems in Nebraska and activities that can be used with students or small groups

Looking at wildlife can be exciting. However, catching a glimpse of wildlife is not always certain, you have to be in the right area at the right moment and have just a little bit of luck.  For some users, observable wildlife is hard to come by, but by using a trail camera, anyone can capture that adrenaline filled thrill of seeing local wildlife. Our project “Critter Cam Education Kit” will provide a new audience of Nebraskans to observe watchable wildlife in areas close to home.

Detailed List of Contents:

Camera Equipment: 3 Bushnell trail cameras, 3 Bushnell camera lock boxes, 3 python cables, 3 master locks for each lock boxes, 6 SD cards

Miscellaneous equipment: External hard drive, memory card reader for both PC & Mac, rechargeable batteries, battery wall charger, lock and case

Binder with activities and lessons- also includes tips on watching wildlife and where to watch wildlife during the different seasons

We’ve teamed up with the Nebraska Forest Service to offer tree-themed educational Tree Trunks!

View map of Nebraska Forest Service Tree Trunk Locations >

K-8 Tree Trunks

Learning Tree’s flagship resource for teaching youth grades, k-8. This trunk is perfect for school teachers, afterschool programs, scout groups, and more. Lessons in this curriculum directly meet Nebraska’s K-8 Science Standards.

Learn more >

EC Tree Trunks

Learning Tree’s flagship resource for teaching youth in early childhood, preschool, and grades k-2 settings. This trunk is designed especially for educators who work with little learners ages 1-8 in any setting.

Learn more >

Trunk location and contact information

LocationPhoneMammalBirdPrairieInsectsBinocularLife CycleBioblitzAquaticReading the WildCritter Cam
Nebraska City402-873-8757x
Niobrara Council402-376-2793x
North Platte308-535-8025xxx
Schramm Education Center402-332-5022x
UNL Extension Office – Kearney402-937-8601x

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