EE Events and Resources

Prairie Wetlands Learning Center

Learning Outside During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While Minnesotans shelter-in-place, the need is greater than usual for students to benefit from the movement, fresh air, and exciting discoveries that nearby nature provides.  The following resources can help you take advantage of this opportunity to engage the sense of wonder as a strong motivator for learning.

Let’s Go Outside!  Daily Nature Observations

  1. A new page on the PWLC web site, Prairie Wetlands Almanac, lists simple, daily, readily available nature observations students can make in their yard or neighborhood.  We welcome you to provide a link to the PWA for students in your distance learning classroom.
  2. Also, Brenna Nyboer, a 5th grade teacher at Princeton Intermediate, provided us with the link to her daily outdoor distance learning lessonsto share with you.  Thank you for generously sharing your inspiration with us, Brenna!
  3. Thanks also to 4th grade Prairie Science Class teacher, Mona Davis, for sharing this fun letter-writing lesson, Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!

PWLC Field Trip Lesson Plans

As you are probably already aware, the PWLC offers preschool through 5th grade lesson plans on-line that teachers can access for trip planning purposes.  You are welcome to also use these lesson plans for distance learning, modifying activities and materials as you see fit. They are organized by grade level and season, with an additional Nature Journaling lesson plan for all grades and seasons.  Remember to look at these parts:  Field Investigation Procedure, Weather Alternatives, and Teacher-Led Extensions/Adaptations/Assessment Ideas.  The References and Resources section provides lists of books and web sites for children and teachers to use, and the very last page or two provides handouts, worksheets, songs, and/or identification cards, if needed.

Other Helpful Resources

Thanks to Prairie Science Class 4th grade teacher, Mona Davis; Susan Morse, writer/editor for the National Wildlife Refuge System; and Laurie Heupel, course leader for the National Conservation Training Center, for sharing these gems!

COVID-19 Relief Sources

Below you’ll find explanations of important laws passed in recent weeks, along with links to articles and other resources from like-minded organizations that can help us unravel the vast amount of information coming at us at a sometimes overwhelming pace.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This law, effective March 23, expands sick leave benefits for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, either through quarantine, illness, or caring for a family member who is ill. Learn more here.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

This economic stimulus package, which took effect March 27, provides $367 billion in loans and grants for small businesses; expands unemployment benefits by $600 per week for people furloughed, gig workers, and freelancers; and pays $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for households making up to $75,000. Learn more here.

Here are links from organizations that expound on the implications of this act:

Americans for the Arts: Federal Economic Stimulus Relief Funds Provide Encouraging Support to the Nation’s Community-Based Arts and Culture Organizations Experiencing $3.6 Billion in Devastating Losses

Inside Charity: CARES Act for Nonprofits – What’s in the Bill For Charities?

Nnprofit Quarterly: How Nonprofits Can Utilize the New Federal Laws Dealing with COVID-19

Independent Sector: CARES Act: How to Apply for Nonprofit Relief Funds

Loans Available for Nonprofits in the CARES Act

The National Council of Nonprofits provides this chart of loans available to nonprofit organizations, including eligibility criteria, terms, and application information. Their page is updated regularly, most recently on April 5.

IMLS Authorizes New Grant Flexibilities for Libraries, Museums

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the first of a number of critical measures to aid museums, libraries, and communities across the nation in response to COVID-19. The new guidelines outline how institutions with open IMLS grants may adapt their existing funds to address immediate needs and extend timelines for their work to accommodate the disruption caused by coronavirus. Examples include continuing to employ staff, modifying project activities to align with social distancing requirements, and covering basic costs necessary to resume community work once the emergency has passed. Learn more here.

Tips for Working from Home

The National Park Service’s Career Academy for Cultural Resources shares this whimsical and very relevant video on best practices for working from home.

Tips to Emerge Stronger

From the field of adventure travel, one of many tangential to interpretation, come this relevant article on how to emerge from this crisis stronger. The Adventure Travel Trade Association also provides a “COVID-19 Guide for the Adventure Travel Industry.”

Snapshot Wisconsin

Snapshot Wisconsin is a partnership to monitor wildlife year-round, using a statewide network of trail cameras. The project provides data needed for wildlife management decision support.

We have an activity that anyone can do from home. Many of the photos captured from these trail cameras are uploaded to a crowd-sourcing website where people can go and identify the animals present in the photos.

Snapshot Wisconsin offers a fun and educational activity for anyone to do from home. This can be great for students or anyone looking to pass some time and enjoy Wisconsin’s wildlife.

Here is the link:

Lakes and Rivers Virtual Learning Convention

You’re invited to access all the PowerPoints and recorded sessions from the 2020 Lakes and Rivers Virtual Learning Convention! Visit to access them (we’re hoping to have all content ready by the end of April).

Every spring since the 1980s, water advocates, scientists, managers, and educators have gathered for our annual convention. This year, we are proud to be broadening our effort to include river stakeholders, and we continue to embrace a full watershed approach to caring for rivers, lakes, and streams. We’ll also be looking back at the Year of Clean Drinking Water and the work of the Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force. We will also be dedicating a stream of presentations to climate change impacts and how we can address them in Wisconsin.

Earth Day Network

Earth Day Network, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, DC. is coordinating several environmental education initiatives for the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. They would love to have you partner with  them as they work to build environmental literacy and civic engagement worldwide.

Here’s how you can get involved:

Partner with Earth Day Network:

Spread the word:

Host a cleanup, teach-in, or other Earth Day events:

Sand Valley Conservation Camp

The annual Sand Lake Conservation Camp will be held June 17-19 at Camp Bird Youth Camp, near Crivitz, WI.  This camp is for Wisconsin & Upper Michigan youth attending grades 6-8 in September.  It provides positive outdoor experiences, helps foster an appreciation for nature, and introduces a variety of opportunities in natural resources and conservation careers.  Topics include wildlife ecology, water quality, fisheries, outdoor skills, and more.  $100 fee until May 20; after May 20 is $150.  Cut-off date is June 3 and space is limited; registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis.  Registration forms will be available by end of February.  For more information, call 715-732-7784.

Click here for more information

Frequently asked questions

2020 Brochure      2020 Registration Form

Environmental Action Conference 

Join Earth Force in this three-day workshop to learn our Community Action & Problem Solving Process, a powerful tool to facilitate and integrate student-led action into your
environmental education. Over our three days together, participants will learn, model, and practice each step of the Process with emphasis on building youth-adult partnerships,
encouraging critical thinking, accessing community resources, approaching stakeholders, and planning and celebrating action. We will also offer time to network, plan, and share ideas, as well as opportunities hear about the successes and challenges of student-led action from mentors who are currently implementing this Process.

You can download more information here: EAC 2020 Brochure.

Biotechnology Courses at the BTC Institute – stipends available

Looking to incorporate more biotechnology into your curriculum?

The BTC Institute in Madison is offering 3 summer courses to help you reach that goal!  Biotechnology: The Basics (July 20-24, 2020) and Biotechnology: Beyond the Basics (July 27-31, 2020) will be offered again this year – find out why one 2019 participant wrote: “I want to come back next year for the second ‘round’ and bring a friend.  Seriously, the best PD I have ever been part of.”  New this year will be Biotechnology: Genetic Identity (June 29-July 1, 2020).

All courses are offered for stipends and optional graduate education credit.

Click here for details and registration.

Spring Professional Development from the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education

  • April 17th: Discovering Energy in Nature–Green Bay

You can also find us at many upcoming spring conferences, including PEC, WTEA, WCSS, WSST, and ISN.

For more information about workshops, including times and registration links, click here.

NOLS WFA Training (National Outdoor Leadership School – Wilderness First Aid)

Prepare for the unexpected with this fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine, taught over two days. If you like to take short trips relatively close to medical resources, work at wilderness camps, enjoy weekend family outdoor activities, or recreation outdoors, this course is for you. More info HERE.

Where: Outdoor UW at Memorial Union (800 Langdon St., Madison, WI)

Cost: $200 for Hoofer Club Member, $250 for guests

Available course dates:


Backyard Science Education

Great information for kids on the environment.

(Site suggested by Hannah Ainsworth’s elementary science class – Jane, Michelle and Sam)


Titled: “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classroom!” produced by WGBH- PBS LEARNING MEDIA. There are some great lessons dealing with climate, weather, and the solary energy from the sun… just to mention a few!

Each topical collection listed below includes a lesson plan and supplementary resources that feature a range of innovative media. Some of the media-rich education resources featured in these lessons include: IMAGES, INTERACTIVES, GAMES, VIDEOS, and DATA VISUALIZATIONS. Flexible support materials aid instructional use and integration into the classroom. The material contained in this product is based upon work supported by NASA.
There are units for all grades K-12.
K-2: Waves (light), Space, Earth’s Systems, and Weather/Climate
3-5: Space, Earth’s System
6-8: Space, Earth’s System, Weather/Climate
9-12: Space, Weather/Climate

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