Nebraska Programs

Bird Conservancy’s educational impact has reached all the way into Western Nebraska since 2007.  In partnership with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, a Bird Conservancy Wildlife Education Coordinator is based out of Scottsbluff, NE, and reaches one in three students in the Nebraska Panhandle with year-round environmental educational programs and outreach events. Many of these events include Bird Banding Station Field Trips, After School Nature Clubs, Family Nature Nights, State Park Bioblitzes, Environmental Service Learning Programs, Early Childhood Programs, Teacher Training Workshops, and other community events and school programs. Most Nebraska programs are funded through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET).

Nebraska Environmental Trust

Contact Chaley Jensen at (308) 633-1013 or [email protected] to register for programs.

Visit our Stewardship Contacts age more information about our land stewardship efforts and field staff in Nebraska.  Click here to read blog posts and stories from past Nebraska education and outreach programs.

Click below to learn about our educational programs in western Nebraska.

In-Class Programs

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ Nebraska office offers in-class programming for students of all ages in the Nebraska Panhandle. Due to our generous funding we are able to offer these classes at no cost to participants. Our in-class programs feature interactive lessons, small group investigations, hands-on exploration, and curriculum-aligned content. See our current offerings below as well as a PDF with full class descriptions. Sessions run 45 minutes or 1 class period and are limited to 35 students, but multiple sessions can be scheduled for the same day. A teacher or chaperone is required to be present during programs. For ease of scheduling, we ask that you register at least 2 weeks before your desired date. If you want to schedule a class within two weeks, please fill out a form and we will do our best to accommodate your group. Please visit the In-Class Programs Registration Form to register for a class.

 

Nebraska’s Tomorrow Project (K-12th): Help students realize the power of action while engaging in a community service project focusing on an environmental issue. 

Pollination Nation (PreK-4th): Learn about the important role that insect and bird pollinators play in our world while exploring pollinator and plant adaptations.

The Great Prairie Puzzle (3rd and up): Experience the complex and dynamic interactions of Nebraska’s plant and animal life as well as the role that our feathered friends play in ecosystems.

Water Works (K-12th): Students will learn about the amazing properties of water and how it affects our daily lives, as well as current threats to water and how we can protect this life-giving resource.

So Fly! (K-12th): This class is all about birds! Learn about avian adaptations as well as challenges our feathered friends face.

Marvelous Mammals (3rd and up): Learn all about mammal adaptations while getting hands-on with skulls and furs, and explore Nebraska’s unique mammal history.

Uncommon Ground (4th and up): In this soils and geology class, learn about Nebraska’s rich geological history and how it has shaped our landscape through interactive activities and discussions.

Keep it Wild (3rd and up): Students will learn all about Nebraska’s threatened and endangered species as well as how reintroduction and conservation efforts have been successful at bringing species back from the brink of extinction.

Roots to Shoots (3rd and up): Explore the native flora of Nebraska while learning what plants need to grow and survive. 

BUZZ-inga (PreK-4th): In this hands-on class, students will learn about insect life cycles, habitats, and their ecological importance to birds and other Nebraska animals.

Conservation Community Meeting (5th grade and up): This class invites students to explore different perspectives on environmental issues in a debate format.

Bird Banding Field Trips

Running from late August – mid October, bird banding stations in Nebraska give students the opportunity to see birds in the hand and experience ongoing conservation research. This learning experience provides students with the opportunity to observe scientific data collection and Nebraska biodiversity. Students will learn about bird adaptations, behaviors, habitat requirements, migration patterns, and conservation issues. Banding station programs also emphasize the importance of our native habitats for healthy human and wildlife communities.

Banding stations are located at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area in Gering and Chadron State Park in Chadron. All ages are welcome. Programs run for 2.5 hours and due to generous funding, programs are provided at no cost to participants. 

Register for a banding station program HERE.

Visit our Bird Banding page to learn more about banding birds.

Environmental Service Learning Programs

This project promotes agency, inquiry, and collaborative learning in your classroom. Through a service learning project, students will transform into leaders in their school and community by investigating school/community needs, deciding together on an issue, creating a plan, and taking action. This student-driven project may focus on native habitats and ecology, such as ensuring birds have healthy habitats. Projects can also focus on sustainability and community education. The Environmental Service Learning program is offered to any classroom, K-12. 

Additionally, each classroom will receive up to $750 in grant funds for their project, which will be available to purchase equipment, materials, transportation for field trips, or anything else that directly ties to the project your classroom chooses. 

Applications for the 2020-2021 Environmental Service Learning program will open in June 2020. Please check back for more details, or contact Chaley Jensen for more information.

Family & Community Programming

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ Nebraska family and community programs are designed for families, children, and community members living in Western Nebraska. 

Most programs take place at the local state parks and community centers near Scottsbluff  and Chadron, NE. Recurring family programs include annual State Park Bioblitzes, Family Nature Nights, Migration Celebration, and other community outreach programs in the Nebraska Panhandle. 

    • State Park Bioblitz
      • A BioBlitz is a citizen science event where members of the community join natural resource experts to conduct a species inventory of a natural area in a 24-hour period. BioBlitzes actively involve members of the community in a scientific endeavor that generates new knowledge and understanding. Bird Conservancy has facilitated annual BioBlitzes at Wildcat Hills State Park and Chadron State Park since 2016. Join this fun program and help us discover Nebraska’s biodiversity! Events include engaging sessions ran over the course of two days (Friday evening and Saturday morning), and can include bird surveys, bat surveys, insect surveys, wildflower walks, tree surveys, reptile surveys and more!
  • 2020 BioBlitz dates TBD
  • Migration Celebration
    • May is when Nebraska celebrates International Migratory Bird Month! Bird Conservancy facilitates a Migration Celebration event as part of the statewide celebrations. The Migration Celebration will be held at Chadron State Park during a weekend in May. Family fun will include  bird related activities, beginning bird hikes, and more!
  • Family Nature Nights
    • Bird Conservancy partners with local Nebraska natural resource organizations to bring a “nature fair” styled Family Nature Night to your school, church, or community center. Family Nature Nights are two hour programs held in the evening that allow the whole family to speak with biologists, play games, create take home crafts, and participate in activities designed to share the wonder of Nebraska’s natural resources!

Educator Staff Development

The Bird Conservancy offers teacher staff development in western Nebraska, including pre-service and in-service trainings in Project WILD, Flying WILD and other topics.

Project WILD is the nation’s longest standing wildlife education program. It has reached more than 1 million educators and 53 million youth. This interdisciplinary program teaches learners “how to think, not what to think,” and assists in developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. Hands-on, inquiry-based activities engage students in learning about wildlife and the environment. The K-12 curriculum and activity guide are easy to use and well-organized and cover major themes including: habitats, ecosystems and niches, adaptations, interdependence, biodiversity, cultural perspectives, human impacts, wildlife management and taking action.

Flying WILD is a supplemental curriculum and activity guide introducing students to the study of birds, habitat issues and community service projects related to birds. Activities are geared toward grades 5-8.

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a range of activities and experiences, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about nature and lifelong social and academic skills. It is for ages 3-7.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary environmental education program for educators and students in pre-K to grade 12. PLT is a program of the American Forest Foundation. It is one of the most widely used environmental education programs in the United States and abroad, and continues to set the standard for environmental education excellence.

For more information:
Chaley Jensen
Nebraska Wildlife Education Coordinator
(308) 633-1013
[email protected]

Photo Credit:
Lauren Dieriaz