WCC Programming in a Covid-19 Era

Our educational goal is always to advance understanding and appreciation of our local natural resources in a way that is long-lasting, productive, and meaningful. When it comes to our school-based education, that means continually adapting what we do to meet the needs of students, teachers, schools, and districts. We understand that those needs will be drastically different for the 2020-2021 school year and likely beyond, but we are committed to helping our schools and communities navigate through and succeed in this unusual and stressful educational environment.

We remain committed to helping students connect with our local natural resources and make progress toward CORE requirements. Below are some of the ways we believe we can support students, teachers, and schools as we adapt to new learning modes and environments. This is not an exhaustive list and we are always available and willing to work creatively and collaboratively with teachers, teams, and schools.

Please don't hesitate to contact Education and Outreach Coordinator Lilly Jensen with questions, requests, or suggestions.

Outdoor Learning Environments and General Distance Learning Resources

Resources and tips for creating effective outdoor learning environments

Effective Outdoor Learning in Schoolyards - Recommendations created by Winneshiek County Conservation (July 2020)

Guidance for Reopening Schools - Issued by the North American Association for Environmental Education (June 2020)

General resources for virtual and distance education for classrooms

Winneshiek County Conservation is ready and willing to engage with you and your students virtual and through other distance education methods.

We are comfortable with a wide range of virtual platforms, including Flipgrid, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, and are always happy to try new ones.

We have a YouTube channel and are willing to expand and create more videos to meet your needs, including virtual trips, Winneshiek County "Mystery Science" videos, and more. We can add closed captioning to videos and most should be compatible with SafeYouTube, but if not, let us know and we can adjust them.

Please don't hesitate to let us know how we can better serve teachers and students in our area.

Resources for families doing online education or homeschooling

We have gathered resources, worksheets, and materials that we hope will help support students, families, and educators navigating online education or homeschooling. If there are additional materials or resources we can provide--particularly if they are applicable or useful to a broad spectrum of students, families, or groups--contact Lilly Jensen to discuss how we can help.

We suggest you also review the "pre-packaged" options below, in particular the Noting Nature videos and associated worksheets and activities.

Nature Breaks During Online Education

Creating and Using Nature Journals

Nature Scavenger Hunts (Bingo Boards)

Find additional resources related to Winneshiek County's natural resources and our environmental education programs.

Pre-Packaged Virtual and Distance Learning

Noting Nature in Winneshiek County (YouTube Videos)

The Noting Nature in Winneshiek County YouTube playlist offers a frequently updated catalog of short videos (2-3 minutes) featuring 3 photos of seasonal changes and natural wonders (phenomena) of Winneshiek County with voice-over commentary.

These videos could be used for:

  • Daily or weekly check-ins / morning meetings.
  • Developing science and engineering practices including making observations, asking questions, obtaining and evaluating information.
  • Practicing writing and/or drawing skills.

Below are some template worksheets that might fit your needs, but we are happy to tailor them more specifically or create online forms (like a Google form) for individual classes or teachers. We also hereby grant permission to modify these worksheets to meet your needs, including by transforming them into an e-document or other online form.

Permission is hereby granted to upload the YouTube videos described above to SafeYouTube and/or link or upload them into another electronic content delivery service.

Natural Resources Image Database (Flickr Photos)

The Flickr Feed of naturalist Larry Reis features the same photos used in the Noting Nature YouTube videos, but is far more extensive. Most images include descriptions and explanations; all are are dated, searchable, and available for free educational use by teachers or students.

Individual images and/or the collection could serve your students as:

  • Introductory phenomenon for science units.
  • A resource for finding, evaluating, and communicating information.
  • A database of species information and phenological changes in Winneshiek County and northeast Iowa.

If there are specific tools we can create to help you best utilize this resource, let us know.

Take Home Science Kits

Stay tuned as we add and develop these further. We are working on creating classroom kits that contain materials AND assessment tools aligned with CORE science performance expectations. Some kits will also be adaptable to entirely distance/online learning. If you have a particular request for a grade or performance expectation, let us know.