Discovery Packs, Park Packs, Adventure Packs...Whatever you call them, Exploration Packs are a growing trend in nature centers, parks, and communities across the nation as a way to get children, families, and individuals out exploring nature on their own. Discovery Packs are filled with tools, activities, and tips on what to do or look for, but allow for users to be guided and directed by their own curiosity.

The Winneshiek County Conservation Board surveyed a number of organizations with Discovery Packs, asking them to provide their best advice for hosting a set of packs. Here, we've compiled their responses, including pack content lists, supplier suggestions, activity guides, and general tips. We hope you find it helpful as you develop your own Discovery Packs.

The Winneshiek County Conservation Board wishes to thank all other organizations and individuals who assisted with this project and the Iowa DNR's Resource Enhancement and Protection - Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP) for its support.

Girl with Discovery Pack

Pack Themes and Contents

Click on each of the themes below to access pack content suggestions, printable handouts, and activity suggestions. If you have additional information you'd like to see added, please feel free to contact us. All files are .pdf unless otherwise noted.

Click here for general Discovery Pack resources and ideas.

Marketing Tips

The following suggestions are compiled from responses to a survey distributed via the IAN (Iowa Association of Naturalists) listserv, as well as from the final reports of organizations that received funding from the Iowa DNR's REAP-CEP for their pack programs.

1-Sheet Field Guides

These field guides were developed to highlight species that novice outdoor explorers are likely to see on an excursion in Northeast Iowa. They are included in Winneshiek County's Discovery Packs in place of some traditional field guides to make the packs as light as possible and to maximize the potential for positive identification by young users. The guides are adjusted to target either beginner (early childhood and elementary) or intermediate (upper elementary and middle) users, and there are some individual animal profile sheets included as well.

Below are .pdf files of the field guides, which were originally created in Microsoft Publisher. Unfortunately, we are unable to load .pub files onto the website. If you would like .pub files that you can adapt to your own region, please contact us and we will send them to you directly.