|Welcome to Natural Biodiversity’s Kids’ Patch, where we can explore our common goal of teaching kids!
Natural Biodiversity’s mission is to conserve the native diversity of plant and animal life and to control the spread of invasive, non-native plants within south-central and southwestern Pennsylvania. Because we want the public to understand our mission, what better place to start than with kids?
We can offer you a powerful teaching tool: the outdoors. Through the curriculum and teacher-training resources linked below, you can turn the outdoors into your classroom and engage your students in subjects and exercises that encourage interdisciplinary learning not just in the natural sciences but also in mathematics, social science and language arts. There are links to information on our region’s native plants, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, invasive species and ecology.
Through our partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, we also can offer the NWF’s Schoolyard Habitats® program.
In today’s learning environments, where schools are striving to meet and exceed high standards of learning, educators and youth leaders must be creative in presenting content. The schoolyard can provide a valuable avenue for reinforcing concepts for students across the disciplines. (National Wildlife Federation)
Through the Schoolyard Habitats program, the NWF certifies schoolyards that provide:
- An opportunity for a hands-on experience.
- A sense of ownership in the
- Ways to learn using the senses.
- A wider range of subjects that can be addressed outdoors.
The NWF has certified more than 2,000 habitat sites and studies
show that schools providing such
sites outperform other schools (with similar demographics) in standardized testing.
Natural Biodiversity can assist you in the development of a Schoolyard Habitats program at your school
or offer other ways you can get your students involved in habitat and conservation programs. Our contact information is at the bottom of the page.
Or click on these links to the right to find the resources mentioned above. Let’s teach some kids!
Nature’s Partners: Pollinators, Plants, and You
A comprehensive pollinator curriculum for grades 3 through 6 from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
Penn State’s Sustainable Forestry Teacher Resource Center
Provides lesson plans in sustainable forestry, natural resources, water, earth sciences, and wildlife.
Alien Invasion: Plants on the Move
A curriculum designed for teachers who want to integrate the topic of invasive weeds in the classroom, develop weed awareness, and provide students in grades K-12 with an understanding of the serious problem of invasive weeds.
Aliens in Your Neighborhood!
The National Park Service’s Invasive Weeds Curriculum.
Sustaining Penn’s Woods A Sound Use of the Land
A Pennsylvania-specific curriculum designed to improve knowledge of forests and land use for students in Fifth through 10th Grade.
A wildlife-focused conservation education program for K-12 students.
Project Learning Tree
An environmental education program designed for use by teachers, parents, and community leaders working with preschool through Grade 12, covering a wide array of topics such as energy and society, biodiversity, and forest ecology.
ClimateClassroom.org helps educate children about global climate change in accurate, developmentally appropriate, and hopeful ways. Sections designed for parents and K-12 educators provide talking points, attractive visuals, instructional guidelines, and helpful resource links for investigating the topic with children. An additional section for school-age children offers quality learning experiences and realistic suggestions for becoming part of the global-warming solution.
Other Key Curricula
(Not available online: Must order)
Cornell Scientific Inquiry Series. Marianne E. Krasny and the Environmental Inquiry Team. National Science Teachers Association Press, 2003. ISBN 0-87355-211-3.
(for high school students)
Windows on the Wild: Biodiversity Basics: An Educator’s Guide to Exploring the Web of Life
Judy Braus, Editor. World Wildlife Fund. Published by: Acorn Group, June 1999. ISBN-10: 1881150038; ISBN-13: 978-1881150039.
(for students in grades 6 9; however, includes lessons that work with younger and older students as well)
DCNR Educator Resources
This site from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides resources for formal and non-formal educators including grant and workshop opportunities.
PA Department of Environmental Protection Education Resources
The DEP’s website provides curriculum and class activities, listings of PA environmental agencies and organizations, and many other resources.
Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education
Provides resources such as an events calendar, listing of EE facilities in Pennsylvania, links, and newsletters.
North American Association for Environmental Education
The NAEE promotes professional excellence in environmental education in the classroom, non-formal organizations, agencies, and corporate settings.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Teaching Center
Provides lesson plans, activities, free publications, grant opportunities, and information about workshops and conferences.
The National Science Teacher’s Association
The NSTA publishes books and journals for science teachers from kindergarten through college and provides ways for science teachers to connect with one another.
Provides information about how to obtain some popular and usable environmental education programs such as Invasion Ecology and the World Wildlife Fund’s Windows on the Wild.
Earth Watch Online Curriculum Ideas and Lesson Plans
A comprehensive guide of curriculum for teachers to use with multiple grade levels.