School Groups

Give students the wonderful opportunity to make connections with the natural world. The Clay County Conservation Board believes that the future of our environment rests on the education of our youth. The Naturalist is employed to administer environmental education programs to Clay County residents. These programs are FREE to you, your students and your school district. 

Please note that the programs listed are flexible and can be adapted to your needs. If you do not see a specific topic, please ask about it. In most case a program can be provided. We can work with you to create a program that fits with your lesson plans or curriculum needs! 

What is a Box Turtle

Grade: Prek-12

Who carries a house on its back, likes to sun themselves on a log and can hold its breath underwater for a really longtime? Why a turtle, of course! Many people think turtles are slow, but some are very fast and not all have a hard shell! Live turtle in session.


Reptiles & Amphibians

Grade: K-12

These animal cousins couldn’t be more different. Students will discover identifying characteristics between the two groups while examining Iowa native animals.


Water Explorers

Grade: K-12

Students will be amazed by the life they find in and around the pond! Children will peer into the private lives of the tiny creatures that are the backbone of the pond food chain as they use scoops to collect and observe macroinvertebrates. Students discover the diversity of plants and animals that live in wetlands along the pond’s edge.

Animals in winter

Grade: Prek-2

How do different animals survive the winter? Explore the world of wild animals in the winter.

Five Alive Senses

Grade: PreK-2

Although senses are important to most humans, senses are vitally essential to an animal. Animals use their senses every single day. Our senses work well for us, but animals have developed many strange and wonderful ways to utilize their natural abilities. See if your sniffer is as keen as bear’s. Which animal is superior at seeing up to a mile away? Do not miss this touchy-feely, sniffy-smelly, chirpy, croaky, fun-filled class with activities using your sensational senses.

Nature’s Yucky

Grade: K-2

The book, "Nature’s Yucky!" uses kids’ natural fascination with the stinky, the gross, and the icky to help them learn more about wild animals and why critters behave as they do. Props will be brought as an addition to this program.

Bird is the word

Grade: PreK- 5

There are so many of these feathered friends. Check out some feathers up close, and look at a variety of feet. Why all bird beaks aren’t shaped the same? Students will become different birds and try to eat their favorite foods using another bird’s beak.

Turkey Talk

Grade: K-2

We may see turkeys in the field or on the table Thanksgiving day, but this program allows students to see what turkeys look like up close through several different visual aids!

Bee-lieve it or not

Grade: K-6

In spring and summer, bright colored flowers decorate the landscape, attracting tiny visitors. Bees are just one of the many tiny visitors that plants hope to attract and help with the pollinating process.


Grade: K-6

Discover the integral part habitats play in the ways organisms meet their basic needs in order to survive. In this program, students will investigate a prairie, pond, and forest habitats. Students will compare and contrast the animals and plants found in each, and explore how each habitat supports life and is changed by its inhabitants.


Grade: K-8

I bet you didn’t know you could identify a tree with your eyes closed! Get to know your Iowa trees and how they function up close and personal.

Insect Quest

Grade: K-8

Discover the amazing variety in the insect world and learn what makes an insect an insect. We’ll go on an insect journey to capture these awesome creatures and learn to classify them to family groups while studying their unique characteristics.

Geology Rocks


That is not “just a rock”! Students will learn about the three different kinds of rocks and how they are each formed! They will also experience a few of the interesting things rocks can do.


Grade: 1-4

Learn about hazardous weather or the basics of weather systems. This program can be adapted to talk about tornados, freezing rain, and explain where wind comes from.

Batty for Bats

Grade: 1-4

Students will have fun learning facts about bats and will leave with a new appreciation for often misunderstood bats.


Grade: 1-6

Students discover many different adaptations that allow owls to be hunters of the night! Owl pellets may be dissected based on time and age of students.

Incredible Journey

Grade: 2-8

Imagine living life as a water drop – what an amazing journey that would be! Even more amazing is that the same water that’s on Earth now was here millions of years ago. You’ll get the chance to take an incredible journey through the water cycle and make a craft telling the story of your wild and wet adventure!

Animal Detectives

Grade 3-6

Who done it?! Students become detectives as they identify the various skulls with the use of a guide pamphlet then discover the furs that match the skulls.

Animal Adaptations

Grade: 3-8

Animal possess a variety of instinctual behaviors that help them survive in their environments. An outdoor hike provides an opportunity for students to analyze how local wildlife use physical and behavioral adaptations such as camouflage and hibernation to survive in the natural world.


Grade: 2-12

Students will learn the basics of fishing such as what gear is needed, what bait to use, and how to catch (or try to catch) a fish!

Under Our Feet

Grade: 3-8

Students explore soil components and properties, learn how soil supports life, and observe how erosion and deposition affect land forms. Investigate living and non-living components of soil and learn how different soil properties affect water movement and plant growth.


Grade: 3-12

Students will learn about canoeing basics, water safety, and different paddling techniques. Students will be allowed to go canoeing based on age/ability.

Predator & Prey

Grade: 3-12

Through an active tag-like food chain game students will begin to understand how a food chain works. They will also take a look at different skulls to decipher what animals eat.

Ice Fishing

Grade: 4-12

Take your students on a winter field trip they will never forget! We will teach your students the basics of ice fishing and what water creatures do when its cold!

Survival Lessons from Nature

Grades 5-12

We humans have a tendency to put ourselves into potentially risky survival situations. Even though we are not all campers, there are still good skills to learn. Would you be prepared to use the resources around you to stay alive in a survival situation scenario? Have you ever wondered if it is possible to survive without water? Explore the tricks of the trade while acquiring the skills of surviving in the wilderness.


Grade: 4-12

Participants will learn how to use a GPS. They will learn how to find location, mark a location, and more. Participants will be introduced to Geocaching. Give your students a taste of geocaching by allowing them to test their navigation skills.

Water Quality

Grades: 6-12

Become an aquatic scientist for a day! Find out what “water quality” means and how do we measure it? Use scientific observation, testing tools, chemical kits and biological indicators to assess the water quality of a lake or streams in your region.

Nature Journal Art

Grade: 6-12

Art, literature, writing, social studies and science all wrapped into one. Students will explore the historical importance of nature art and try their hand at some writing activities as they make and take their own nature journal.

Group Initiatives

Grades 3-12

Teamwork leads your students to success! As a group, students participate in activities that challenge them both mentally and physically. Through these challenges and the ensuing discussion they learn the importance of communication, cooperation, trust, and problem-solving skills in their every day lives.


Grade: K-12

Get your class out for a winter fieldtrip. Participants will get out and enjoy the brisk, winter air during a snowshoe hike. Let us know if you are interested and we’ll put you on a list so when it does snow, we can get out and about!