As school starts and summer (slowly) turns to fall, kids are spending more time in the classroom. Conservation is a big topic; one that starts with a love, or at least a respect for our world. To help our fellow educators create a space where students feel comfortable learning about nature, we’ve put together a guide to several organizations and resources that we know and love.
Texas Children In Nature Network (TCINN)
The Texas Children in Nature Network is an organization made up of hundreds of partners throughout Texas. Each are dedicated to the common goal of encouraging children and their families to get outside and learn about nature. According to their website, their ultimate goal is to help these kids become “healthier, happier and smarter.” Their resources include child friendly plant guides, ideas for DIY nature play tools, astronomy guides for students and more.
TCINN isn’t just for science teachers, but for parents and educators of any kind looking for ways to incorporate nature into their lessons. Be sure to check out their events page for webinars that anyone can take part in.
Informal Science Education Association of Texas (ISEA)
The Informal Science Education Association of Texas is for educators that don’t operate in a typical classroom setting. This could include nature centers, museums, camps and more. According to their mission statement, they strive to “inspire, connect and support the diverse informal science education community in order to strengthen science learning in Texas.” They do this by not only providing resources for this community, but by connecting them with each other as well as traditional teachers and other organizations within the field.
If you are part of a facility that is interested in science-based education, ISEA might be perfect for you.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)
Did you know that Texas Parks and Wildlife offers free educational resources to anyone on their website? This includes pre-recorded videos and planned activities for your class or other group, as well as in-person events. This is a great resource for educators looking for material they can trust, and is an ideal way to dip your toes into the waters of outdoor education.
TPWD’s resources are not all science-based, but cover history, ethics, camping skills and more, making them compatible with all kinds of students.
Texas Association for Environmental Education (TAEE)
According to their site, the Texas Association for Environmental Education “serves all regions of the Texas community by increasing the effectiveness of environmental education.” They do this by connecting professionals and helping them improve their skills through certifications, educator content and more. Their ultimate goal is to help Texans learn about and become committed to their unique environment. Check out their Natural Resources and Environmental Literacy Plan to get a framework for your own lessons, and combine your knowledge with other professionals across the state.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
We know that if you’re reading this blog, you’re likely already familiar with Fossil Rim and what we do. Part of our mission is to educate others about our world, and encourage a passion for conservation. If you’re interested in coming out to Fossil Rim, visit our “Learn” page to see all of your options. Not only do we offer programs covering everything from natural resources to native Texas species, but we offer guided tours. These tours are led by one of our Environmental Engagement Guides, and focus on the purpose of the animals you’re seeing and the land you’re on.