Environmental education activities to learn more about nature and conservation
This can take many forms and with so many different ways to learn about nature, it might be hard to know what will be a good fit for your group. Here are a few descriptions of what we offer. If some or none of these activities suit your group, Pisgah Explorers Club will work with you to customize lessons and activities to meet the needs of your participants.
Live Animal Presentations:
We are so fortunate to have a licensed wildlife rehabilitator on our staff to provide educational live animal programs for our participants. We give thrilling demonstrations with birds of prey, snakes, turtles, and even insects. Carlton Burke, of Carolina Mountain Naturalists, teaches participants about everything from salamanders to red tailed hawks and what role each animal has in the environment. With a focus on native animals, participants get a better understanding of the importance of conservation efforts in place for keeping these species healthy in the environment.
Naturalist Led Hikes and Field Trips to Public Lands:
Under the guidance of professional guides and education specialists, participants will be given the opportunity to explore their inheritance – the millions of acres of public land in WNC. We explore different trails, streams, and geological features in Pisgah National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and DuPont State Forest. Our professional guides and education specialists teach about the ecology of our region through plant and animal identification, Leave No Trace principles, and navigation techniques. We also give participants a chance to play a part in the conservation movement. We discuss what impact humans have on the environment, what we can do to help, and action plans for participants to take home with them.
Stream studies and exploration provide opportunities for participants to become scientists and engage in monitoring water quality. We take students to locals rivers and streams and test water quality through collecting samples of macro invertebrates, measuring pH levels, and examining human impact on the land surrounding the waterfront. The inferences the participants make help to understand information about aquatic habitats and animal adaptations. By understanding the delicacy of these aquatic environments, participants can begin to make connections with real life problems and come up with action plans for protecting our rivers and streams.
Outdoor Nature Journaling:
Creativity and nature have gone hand in hand for centuries. We believe that creative expression with natural items or in a natural setting is significant in connecting with the environment. By crafting nature journals, participants can record their findings and reflect upon experiences through art, poetry, essay, or any other form of expression they feel moved to put onto paper. Not only does this give them time for reflection but also works on writing and artistic skills. Nature also provides many different kinds of art supplies. We give participants the tools they need to construct pieces of art or simply express themselves by providing them with an inspiring setting.
Allowing time for creative expression is an important piece of learning. We give participants the chance to create artwork with recycled materials, clay, natural items, and journals. All nature crafts come with an environmental and/ or conservation lesson attached. For example, making a nature journal is used for teaching about observation, identification, and data recording of the natural world.
Environmental Education Activities and Games:
Engaging participants through fun games can be a great vessel for learning. Our environmental educators are equipped with the knowledge and know how to teach about plants, animals, rivers and streams, geology, and the overall web of life through games. Games can be played indoors or out based on the space and topic and can be adapted to the physical and mental needs of your group. We offer everything from a tag game about animal adaptations to learning about the different ways birds use their beaks by using tools to test out their methods.
Citizen Science Projects:
Did you know that you don’t need a PhD to be a scientist? Through online resources and training, our educators can teach participants how they can be a part of a global data collection project. Currently, the citizen science projects we offer are: Celebrate Urban Birds, Project BudBurst (late winter, early spring), Great Backyard Bird Count (February), Habitat Network, and Project Feeder Watch. All of these projects can be done on-site and some can be done in the forest. By participating in these projects, your group will learn about everything from biodiversity to bird migration.