Resources for Teachers
Here we provide links to resources for teachers interested in exploring ways to integrate outdoor learning experiences into their work with students of all ages. Teachers and nonprofit educational organizations are invited to send us pictures and stories from the outdoor classrooms and learning activities they create. Check out our inspiration gallery for more on outdoor classrooms!Outdoor classrooms
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Seed Grants
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has partnered with Native American Seed to provide Seed Grants to Texas schools, non-profits, and other worthy educational or child-centered organizations for creating wildflower demonstration areas on their campuses, enhancing existing wildflower plantings or other educationally directed projects. Seed Grants are not available for projects in private residences. Seed Grants provide recipients with a gift certificate between $100 to $500 to purchase native wildflower and/or grass seeds from Native American Seed. A short application is required.
Student Land, Water, and Wildlife Expeditions
Middle and high school natural resources curriculum culminating with a day of outdoor studies focused on land, water, and wildlife. The Student Land, Water & Wildlife Expeditions Program is a conservation partnership between TWA and the district/school that supports teachers by providing TEKS-aligned lessons and an expedition day experience to enhance student comprehension of natural resources as part of their formal science studies. For more information please contact Gene Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.orgClick for more details
For teachers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Heard Museum is a wonderful resource. Go to this page for information about their education programs, and details how to contact them about programs you are interested in.
How to Make Seed Balls
Fun activity for kids or adults! Please be patient, takes a moment to load. This can be printed.
Parks & Wildlife Department
Be sure to explore all around the education section of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department site. There are virtual tours, listings of free seminars, ways you can connect with other teachers, and a host of ideas you can use to bring nature into the classroom, and the classroom into nature. Don't overlook the Teacher Tool Kit, which has some very specific lesson plans you can use, with back-up information and resources.
Elm Fork Education Center
Affiliated with the University of North Texas, the mission of the Elm Fork Education Center is "to develop and implement premiere environmental education programs" that engage students in field activities and discovery experiences. Their Outdoor Environmental Learning Area (ODELA) is pictured above, and is a 7,000 square foot aquatic, geological, and archaeological classroom designed for hands-on exploration by students of all ages. Visit their website to learn more about ongoing and special programs, and about the unique ODELA facility.
One way that many schools have integrated environmental studies into their curriculum is to start a "native habitat" on the school grounds. From planning to planting to taking care and watching it grow, it can grow into a great hands-on learning lab available just outside the door. This site has all kinds of useful tips to start a "backyard habitat" that can be applied anywhere a little bit of dirt exists along with the willingness to dig it up and help something to happen there. Be sure to check out the short video on Certifying your Yard or school garden as a wildlife garden.
Opal B Roberts Landscape of Hopes and Dreams
This school landscape was constructed in 2009 by community and student volunteers in memory of an exceptional teacher. Full of lessons, the landscape provides beauty while conserving water. Rainwater, from downspouts in front of the building, is captured by seven individual rain gardens. In addition water is conserved through the use of a drip irrigation system, deep mulch, and native and adaptive plants.
Endangered Species Media Project (ESMP)
Thanks to a Texas Education Agency Science Outreach grant, ESMP is working with student volunteers in cooperation with university boanists to restore urban forest canopies and understories in Houston with native grasses and wildflowers. Their projects include combined removal of invasives with the extensive use of perennial native vegetation to further control invasives. ESMP also provides inner city students the opportunity to discover science in nature by taking them in canoes along Buffalo Bayou habitats.
Send Us Your Address!
We are happy to add links to any online information you have about your school-related outdoor classroom projects, by the way. Send an email with the link and a description to email@example.com and we will add them to this list.